The evolution of British Asian radio in England: 1960-2004

Authors: Khamkar, G.

Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of Media and Communication


This doctoral research examines the evolution of British Asian radio in England from 1960 to 2004. During the post-war period an Asian community started migrating to Britain to seek employment as a result of the industrial labour shortage. The BBC and the independent local radio sector tried to cater to this newly arrived migrant community through its radio output either in their mother tongue or in the English language. Later, this Asian community started its own separate radio services. This research project explores this transformation of Asian radio, from broadcasting radio programmes for the Asian community on existing radio stations, to the creation of independent local and community radio stations, catering to the Asian community exclusively in England.

Existing research concentrates on the stereotype images and lack of representation of Asian community on the British radio; it lacks a comprehensive overview of the role of radio during the settlement period of the newly migrant Asian community. Hence, this research sets out to fill that gap by bringing in the significant facet of the early years’ Asian radio programming, mainly on the BBC, and the development of independent British Asian radio broadcasting in England. The main methods used to conduct this research are archives and in-depth semi-structured interviews, which have helped me to understand the relationship between the development of British Asian radio and the ongoing migration of the Asian community in England.

This research provides a fresh and strong dimension of British Asian radio services in England. It confirms that the issues of access, participation, representation, integration, and linguistic expression were identified, discussed and acted upon by British and Asian radio enthusiasts, radio campaigners and Asian community groups since the 1960s, which led to the creation of British Asian radio in England. I believe this research will bring forth the importance and relevance of having British Asian radio services in England.

Source: Manual

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