8 Best Desi Radio Stations for World Radio Day

Celebrate World Radio Day in style by tuning in to these Desi radio stations that pump out the best in Bhangra, Punjabi, and Bollywood music.

8 Best Desi radio stations for World Radio Day

They focus on building a sense of community

Starting in 2011, World Radio Day celebrates the most widely used and varied form of communication. Radio can be used to interact with different groups within society and promote a sense of community.

The yearly event takes place on February 13 and celebrates radio as the mass media 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 offer many different forms of entertainment.

This includes hosts chatting about their embarrassing stories, keeping up to date with news, and of course, jamming out to popular hits.

The importance of listening to the radio instead of a playlist is the personal connection you get with hosts and the sense of companionship that can come with that.

There are many different radio stations in the UK that are aimed at those with South Asian heritage or who are from that region.

The stations broadcast content for these communities to help them feel more at home in the UK and celebrate their culture.

Some focus on community gossip, others play your favourite Bollywood classics and others keep you up to date with all the newest music from South Asian artists.

Bellow, there are examples of more well-known as well as smaller community and volunteer-run radio stations.

The smaller stations are available to tune into locally, but you can listen online or through DAB radio if you are further away.

Although these radio stations are based in the UK most of them can be accessed through their websites or via other means online.

‘The Big Ones’

8 Best Desi radio stations for World Radio Day

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 been running as a service for South Asian listeners for a long time and celebrated its 20th birthday in 2022.

The station caters mostly to those aged under 35, playing music from up-and-coming artists as well as discussing current issues and news.

BBC Asian Network and its fanbase have an intimate relationship and the hosts are always so thankful to their fans. So, anyone can feel embraced by the station.

As Noreen Khan stated before leaving her afternoon show:

“”It has been an absolute privilege to be sitting in this studio, in this chair and to be part of your life on a daily basis.”

Because BBC Asian Network broadcasts globally, their content is more international and less community centered.

You can listen to BBC Asian Network through BBC Sounds online or via the app.

Sunrise Radio

Sunrise radio is one of the biggest radio stations in the UK for Desi listeners. First set up 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 the latest news, talk shows and a range of other content.

There are also podcasts available to listen to on their website.

You can listen to Sunrise radio on 103.2 FM in Bradford and the surrounding area or via their website.

Sabras Radio

Sabras, based in Leicester, broadcasts across the East Midlands and the wider area, it’s also one of the most popular radio stations of its type in the region.

The platform has been running 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 flavours of Desi music.

To listen to Sabras on World Radio Day and beyond, you can find them on 1260 AM in the East Midlands, via their mobile app or online.

Radio Sangam

Based in Kirklees and broadcasting to the local area, throughout Yorkshire and beyond, Radio Sangam plays a wide mix of programs to keep you up-to-date and entertained.

They play a mix of film reviews, literature discussions, and old and trending music.

They also offer training in their studios for those that want to get involved, as well as supporting local schools teaching radio skills and helping with other media projects.

Radio Sangam also organises events including a Sangam Festival that celebrates South Asian heritage in the Kirklees area.

You can listen to the station on 107.9 FM in the Yorkshire area or through their website.

Local and Community Radio

8 Best Desi radio stations for World Radio Day

Spice FM

Spice FM is based in Tyneside and services their local area, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy what they have to offer.

Like most other stations they play a varied range of music including South Asian and English.

They also have many different hosts 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 topics for its audience across the northeast of England.

If you would like to tune in, you can find them on 8 FM in Tyneside or through their website here.

Desi Radio

Desi radio is based in Southall, West London and offers different shows for its local South Asian fanbase.

They focus on building a sense of community by discussing local issues and promoting the 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.

Awaz FM

This is Glasgow’s main radio station dedicated to South Asian culture.

The station broadcasts in many different languages like English, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Paharhi and Swahili also playing local news, entertainment, and music.

Like other community radio stations, Awaz FM gives an opportunity for volunteers to be trained in basic radio programming skills.

The radio station broadcast beyond just Glasgow and draws listeners from across Scotland.

You can listen to Awaz on 107.2 FM or via their website.

Unity 101

Unity 101 is a Southampton-based community radio station.

The station self-proclaims it:

“Promotes and broadcasts music and culture for Asian and ethnic minority groups.”

This means that whilst most of their content is for Desi listeners, they also broadcast shows in Mandarin and shows with tracks from the Middle East.

Unity Radio focuses on the Southampton community and several of its shows are played by local schools and sixth forms so that children can learn broadcasting skills.

Like other community radio stations, Unity 101 also offers training sessions for those who would like to learn about radio.

You can volunteer at the station or take up work experience.

To listen to Unity 101 on World Radio Day, you can find them here.

Although radio is a dying medium, with stations slowly losing listeners it’s still important to tune in now and then.

World Radio Day is a great way to show your appreciation for these channels.

Whether you chose to listen to more well-known Desi radio station like BBC Asian Network or find your local station, make sure you find one that you like and enjoy listening to.

Sophie studies Journalism and is interested in current affairs, music, movies, and art. She enjoys reading non-fiction books and watching documentaries. Her motto is "Sometimes you’ve just got to lick the stamp and send it."

Images courtesy of Instagram & Facebook.

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