ASIA-AT-LARGE: East-West Megamix – British Radio With an Asian Flare

AMBER VERNETTI WRITES: Sunrise Radio, the UK’s first Asian around-the-clock media corporation, celebrated its 25th anniversary this November. Founded by Avtar Lit in 1989, the radio station offers news about the Asian continent and the opinions of broadcasters who support its dissemination to the greater public.

The London-based music station features British broadcasters who speak a mixture of English and Hindi. Sunrise is based in Southall, but provides weather forecasts for Mumbai, Islamabad, Dhaka, and Colombo. The station is located in a hub of halal (foods like meats that are acceptable for Muslims to consume under Islamic Shari’ah) butchers and stores selling saris.  Although it is technically located in England, the area is reminiscent of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Tony Lit, son of the founder and current managing director of Sunrise, said, “I am very proud of our culture, but I am British- I was born here.” He promotes the “Anglo-Asian ethos” that enables the voices of British-Asians to be heard and provides opportunities for London-based corporations such as Tilda Rice, Himalaya Carpets, and Southall Travel to reach Asian customers.

Sunrise allows Asian business owners to advertise and publicize their services and products to potential buyers.  This has resulted in a significant economic boom of Asian businesses.  The radio station’s broadcasters also talk about Bollywood films, bhangra (Punjabi music), and Asian-based music, familiarizing the public with these industries and arts.

According to an article by Media Week, Sunrise radio remains the “number one commercial Asian radio in the UK” and those tuning in to Sunrise listen an average of 40 percent longer and listen for about 10.8 hours every week.

Congratulations and janmadina mubaraka (happy birthday), Sunrise!




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