BBC Asian Network is hiring four new presenters – former EastEnders actress Preeya Kalidas, new comedy talent Guz Khan, community radio signing Harpz Kaur and broadcaster Mim Shaikh.
The new presenters join as the station shuffles its schedule around from Thursday 26th November.
They replace Murtz and Sanjay Sharma who are leaving the station. Murtz is taking a year out to focus on other projects and will be discussing future plans with the station. Sanjay will continue to feature occasionally on special programmes.
Additionally, the Asian Network will now go through the night from midnight to 6am. Currently the station joins BBC Radio 5 live during this time, but from later this year it will broadcast some repeats of its best loved programmes and music specials throughout the week.
Preeya Kalidas’s show will be broadcast on Saturdays, 1-3pm. She is a singer, TV, film and stage actress. The former EastEnders actress, who played Amira Masood in the soap, is currently starring as Pinky in the West End theatre production of Bend it like Beckham and played Monica in the original 2002 film version. Preeya has also had roles in films including East is East, Bollywood Queen and Bombay Dreams.
Preeya says: “I’m looking forward to spending my Saturday afternoons talking to the nation on the brilliant BBC Asian Network. I had my first ever interview on the station and have grown up listening to great talent on the station. It’s an honour to be a part of the team. My dad always said I had a perfect face for radio!”
Guz Khan’s show will be broadcast on Saturday mornings, 6-10am. Stand-up comic Guz, from West Midlands, recently gave up his job as a teacher to pursue a career in comedy. Despite having only been in the business a year, his YouTube clips have gone viral. His comedy short for BBC iPlayer, Roadman Ramadan – where he played a character called Mobeen – quickly made its way into BBC iPlayer’s most popular list. Guz will present a brand new show, showcasing new music and comedy.
Guz says: “I feel very blessed. I started out this year doing stand-up for BBC Asian Network’s Comic Relief night, then did my first Comedy short on TV for iPlayer, and now I’m set to present my first-ever radio show! I am just a normal dude, so the fact these opportunities have arisen in such a short space of time is still surreal.”
Harpz Kaur’s show will be broadcast on Sunday mornings, 6-10am. Hailing from the North of England, Harpreet started her career on her local radio station, Fever FM. She is also an established solo DJ and appears at events around the country and internationally. Additionally, she is a qualified journalist and was a finalist at the Asian Media Awards 2014. Harpz will present a new Sunday morning Breakfast show featuring Asian music.
Harpz says: “I’ve always chased my dreams. And I can’t believe the day has come where I can now say it’s come true! I’m overly excited and grateful to take on this opportunity. It’s an absolute honour to have the chance to represent the BBC. It’s going to be an amazing journey.”
Mim Shaikh’s show will be broadcast on Thursdays, 9pm-midnight. Mim, a 23-year-old broadcaster based in London, has previously hosted shows on BBC Radio 1Xtra (where he is soon to host for a month on Saturdays, 4-7pm) and Reprezent Radio and presented occasionally on BBC Asian Network. He appeared as himself in BBC Three’s structured reality show South Side Story, and has won many awards including Best Specialist Music Programming – Student Radio Awards (2012), Best Interview – Student Radio Awards (2012) and Broadcast Journalist of the Year – Guardian Student Media Awards (2011). Mim’s new show will bring together new urban music and panel debates for young British-Asians.
Mim says: “I’m really excited to be joining BBC Asian Network. My brand new show will consist of an eclectic range of music as well as incorporating the element of youthful debate, focusing on monthly topics including music, fashion, film, and culture, all from young people’s perspective, a view which can easily get lost in the media. I can’t wait to start.”
The production of the Preeya Kalidas, Mim Shaikh and Harpz Kaur’s shows will now be put out to tender as part of the independent commissioning process.
Ray Khan’s Show will now air three times a week (Monday to Wednesday, 9pm-midnight – no longer on Thursdays). Gagan Grewal is moving from the Weekend Breakfast slot to present a new show on Sundays from 10am-1pm.
Bob Shennan, Controller Radio 2, Asian Network and 6 Music, says: “These changes mark a significant development in the new Asian Network, which continues to grow its popularity with the audience and importance within the BBC.”
Mark Strippel, Head of Programmes for BBC Asian Network, says: “With the Asian Network continuing to grow and evolve to reach new audiences, this felt like an exciting time to bring some new voices to the station and our audiences. The talents of Preeya, Mim, Harpz and Guz will complement our already strong line-up as we refresh the schedule this autumn to further strengthen the station’s distinctiveness and range of output. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sanjay Sharma for his immense contribution to the station for more than 25 years.”