|STORY OF SUNRISE|
Sunrise Radio started life as a station called Sina Radio, operating mainly in the west London area surrounding its base in Southall. After the Radio Authority proposed the notion of awarding licences to ethnic minority stations covering west London, Sina was quick to snap up the opportunity, leading to the advent of the freshly-renamed “Sunrise Radio”, with broadcaster-entrepreneur Dr Avtar Lit at the helm.
The station was launched on Monday 5th November 1989, servicing west London’s Asian community from its Hounslow studios on 1413 AM. It was the first 24 hour Asian radio station to appear in the UK, and the first independent 24 hour Asian station in the world. Around the same time, Sunrise Radio acquired a licence for a sister station in Bradford to cater for Yorkshire’s burgeoning South Asian community.
The impact on the local Asian community was phenomenal. In a few short years, Sunrise Radio became one of the most successful commercial radio stations in the UK by serving a community whose needs were not being met by any other radio station, either commercially or in terms of entertainment.
It didn’t take long to see that demand for Sunrise Radio extended much further than the M25: on 15th April 1991, Sunrise Radio launched its service on the Astra satellite across the UK and Europe. No less than 92 cable providers subsequently sought permission from Sunrise Radio Ltd to carry the Sunrise programming on their networks, including Videotron, The Cable Corp and Cable London.
In 1993, Sunrise Radio fought off 48 other bids to take one of the eight frequencies put out to tender in the Greater London area. Sunrise London was launched on 1st January 1994, transmitting on the now-familiar 1458 AM frequency to Greater London & the Home Counties, and continuing to deliver on its original “Promise of Performance”, set back in 1989: “To serve and promote the needs and fulfilments of the entire South Asian community, both young and old”.
The station has also been behind the resurgence of popular Asian events across the whole Greater London area, including events like the London Mela, Asian Lifestyle Show and various festivals held in Trafalgar Square (Diwali, Vaisakhi, Eid), complete with Bollywood stars, fashion shows, live music, dancing and much more, as well as the resident Sunrise DJs. Such events have been amongst the most successful, well-attended roadshows that any Asian, or even non-Asian, commercial station could even hope to put on, and have made the Sunrise brand synonymous with high-profile events and the South Asian community.
The UK’s Asian community is a young, affluent and growing market, and Sunrise Radio has always been committed to growing with it, ideally placed to adapt to change and lead the way in the marketplace. Today, Sunrise Radio reaches nearly two million Asian listeners a month via DAB digital radio, medium wave and the Sky platform. The station can be received locally in Greater London, the Midlands, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and nationally across the entire UK, making it the premier Asian media outlet in the UK.