8 Best Desi Radio Stations for World Radio Day
Starting in 2011, World Radio Day celebrates the most widespread and diverse form of communication. Radio can be used to interact with different groups within society and promote a sense of community.
The annual event takes place on February 13th and celebrates radio as a mass medium, reaching the widest audience in the world.
Radio was created to communicate over long distances and has now become a way to share music and information with large groups of people.
It can provide many different forms of entertainment.
This includes hosts chatting about their embarrassing stories, keeping up with the latest news and, of course, jamming along to popular hits.
The importance of listening to the radio instead of a playlist lies in the personal connection you get with the hosts and the sense of camaraderie that can come with it.
There are many different radio stations in the UK that cater to people of South Asian origin or from that region.
Channels broadcast content for these communities to help them feel more at home in Britain and celebrate their culture.
Some focus on community gossip, others play your favorite Bollywood classics, and others keep you up to date with the latest music from South Asian artists.
Below are examples of well-known as well as smaller community and volunteer radio stations.
The smaller stations can be tuned in locally, but you can listen to online or DAB radio if you’re further away.
Although these radio stations are based in the UK, most of them can be accessed online through their websites or otherwise.
‘The Big Ones’
BBC Asian Network
BBC Asian Network has been running for many years, it started as a radio station to help newly emigrated people feel more at home in the UK.
The station has long been a service to South Asian listeners and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022.
Aimed primarily at the under-35s, the station plays music by up-and-coming artists and discusses current affairs and news.
BBC Asian Network and its fanbase have a close bond and the hosts are always so grateful to their fans. So everyone can feel hugged by the station.
As Noreen Khan said before leaving her afternoon show:
“It was an absolute privilege to be in this studio, to sit in this chair and to be a part of your life on a daily basis.”
Because BBC Asian Network broadcasts globally, their content is more international and less community-centric.
You can listen to BBC Asian Network via BBC Sounds online or via the app.
Sunrise Radio is one of the UK’s biggest radio stations for Desi listeners. Founded in 1989 as Bradford City Radio, it was the first commercial Asian radio station.
They play a mix of Bollywood and Bhangra music as well as breaking news, talk shows and a range of other content.
There are also podcasts that can be listened to on their website.
You can listen to Sunrise Radio on 103.2 FM in the Bradford area or through their website.
Based in Leicester, Sabras broadcasts throughout the East Midlands and beyond and is also one of the most popular radio stations of its kind in the region.
The platform has been around since 1995 and offers a wide mix of music genres, chat shows and discussions.
You can tune in 24 hours a day and enjoy many different flavors of desi music.
To hear Sabras on World Radio Day and beyond, you can find her at 1260 in the East Midlands, through her mobile app, or online.
Radio Sangam is based in Kirklees and broadcasts locally, throughout Yorkshire and beyond. It plays a wide variety of programs to keep you informed and entertained.
They play a mixture of film reviews, literary discussions and old and trendy music.
They also offer training at their studios for those who wish to get involved, and support local schools in teaching radio skills and assisting with other media projects.
Radio Sangam also organizes events including a Sangam Festival celebrating South Asian heritage in the Kirklees area.
You can listen to the station on 107.9 FM in the Yorkshire area or through its website.
Local and community radio
Spice FM is based in Tyneside and serves its local area but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what they have to offer.
Like most other stations, they play a varied selection of music including South Asian and English music.
They also have many different presenters and programs to listen to so people never get bored and are always greeted by the most exciting personalities.
The station is run by volunteers, including the radio DJs.
Spice FM discusses local issues and current affairs for its audience in the North East of England.
If you want to tune in you can find them on 8 FM in Tyneside or via their website here.
Desi Radio is based in Southall, West London and offers various shows for its local South Asian fan base.
They focus on building a sense of community by discussing local issues and promoting Punjabi culture, language and history.
Desi Radio encourages people who want to learn radio skills by offering media training courses. You can also volunteer at the radio station.
To listen to desi radio tune in to their online stream here.
This is Glasgow’s premier radio station dedicated to South Asian culture.
The station broadcasts in many different languages such as English, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Paharhi and Swahili and also plays local news, entertainment and music.
Like other community radio stations, Awaz FM offers volunteers the opportunity to be trained in basic radio programming skills.
The radio station broadcasts beyond Glasgow and attracts listeners from across Scotland.
You can listen to Awaz on 107.2 FM or through their website.
Unity 101 is a community radio station based out of Southampton.
The broadcaster announces it himself:
“Promotes and broadcasts music and culture for Asian and ethnic minorities.”
This means that while most of their content is for Desi listeners, they also air shows in Mandarin and shows with Middle Eastern tracks.
Unity Radio focuses on the Southampton community and several of its shows are played by local schools and junior high schools to help children learn radio skills.
Like other community radio stations, Unity 101 offers training for those who want to learn about radio.
You can volunteer at the ward or complete an internship.
To hear Unity 101 on World Radio Day, find them here.
Although radio is a dying medium and stations are slowly losing listeners, it’s still important to tune in every once in a while.
World Radio Day is a great way to show your appreciation for these channels.
Whether you’ve opted to listen to more popular Desi radio stations like BBC Asian Network or found your local station, make sure you find one that you enjoy and enjoy listening to.