"We need integration, not segregation."
The South Asian Radio Creatives (SAAC) has called for change as there is a lack of British-born South Asian radio creatives in mainstream radio in the UK.
Research by SAAC revealed that there are just four South Asian-origin presenters across the major commercial national stations.
There are no full-time British Asian presenters on the popular stations, BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2.
At 5 Live, there is one presenter in its daytime line-up with another starting at the beginning of 2021.
However, Radio 4 may be the only mainstream station with several British Asian presenters.
SAAC say that while 2020 has seen a wave of cultural awareness in the UK, there has been little acknowledgement of the fact that British South Asian radio creatives are practically non-existent in mainstream radio.
Few have high profile jobs in broadcasting and generally tend to be relegated to more ‘Non-Editorial’ positions.
It does not reflect the Asian population in London and elsewhere in the country, where population statistics show that in London, the British Asian community stands at just over 1.5 million.
In the whole of the UK, there are nearly 4.5 million British Asian people.
The Government’s Office for National Statistics predicts that in the first half of the new millennium there will be a potential growth of Asian ethnic groups of between 163% to 205%.
Am Golhar, Media Voice & Creative Entrepreneur for SAAC, said:
“It’s important to recognise that there is an issue, but more importantly to resolve this now and for our future generations.
“It’s humiliating to see the amount of talent out there with British South Asians being almost completely overlooked by radio bosses. We need integration, not segregation.”
BBC Asian Network radio presenter Bobby Friction said:
“I started on national radio 18 years ago and to see almost no progression across the industry in nearly two decades is quite frankly depressing.
“What does this say about us as an industry and as a society in general?”
Also supporting the SAAC campaign is broadcasting professional Mark Machado, Head of Production at 11-29 Media. He said:
“It’s shameful that so many large radio stations in the UK think it’s OK to employ us in IT, legal and finance departments but we aren’t trusted to express our stories and experiences on the mic.
“Hopefully, these shocking revelations will lead to rapid change.”
Sone Palda, Director of Westside Radio and Westside Talent, commented:
“It’s massively disappointing seeing these current figures. I was part of setting up the UK’s first Asian youth station back in 2000 – BBA Radio – where we developed many South Asian broadcasters that went on to present on some of the biggest stations in the UK.
“It’s a big shame that such little progress has been made in the 20 years following BBA Radio for South Asian presenters.
“Through my own work in radio, both as a station manager and as a talent agent, I believe that from this point onwards we can really help to create change by working more closely together with the leading broadcasters.”