The first dedicated Asian radio station is about to set sail on the airwaves in Kirklees, thanks to a new licence award by Ofcom.

The news of the arrival of Radio Sangam will be music to everyone’s ears, especially those from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, when it launches its 24-hour, seven day a week service in the next six months.

The station was one of two in the county granted the five year permanent licence and the move will allow the group behind the station, not for profit organisation Communities Together, to broadcast throughout Huddersfield and other towns in the region.

Voluntary groups and radio professionals will bring listeners programmes in Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and English, which will be streamed live from the organisation’s new base in the Bay Hall business block in Miln Road, Birkby.

Managing director Quasim Mahmood, who helped set up the station in 2000, said that until now they had only been able to go live for 28 days roughly once a year.

He hopes that it will provide an essential service for those who do not speak English as a first language and give residents jobs and an opportunity to break into the media industry.

Ofcom grant community licence to Radio Sangam, Birkby. Members of the Radio Sangam team in the studio, l to r, Qaisar Mahmood (director) and presenters Naeem Jogee and MH Shadye
Ofcom grant community licence to Radio Sangam, Birkby. Members of the Radio Sangam team in the studio, l to r, Qaisar Mahmood (director) and presenters Naeem Jogee and MH Shadye
 

“The granting of this licence has made it an incredibly exciting time for Kirklees and we’re really pleased that we will finally be able to make this a full time project.

“It’s been a great success when we have held it for a month at a time and hope that now it’s permanent it will benefit the community even more.

“There is a large need for a station for the local Asian community and ours will finally be able to fill that gap.

“It will give a voice to a portion of the community which can find itself disadvantaged due to language barriers, which can lead to them missing out on key information in the area.

“This licence extension will also mean that we can offer a lot more training to the young and old and we hope to offer work placements to students at the University of Huddersfield.

“Since we’ve been in operation we have encouraged people into radio who otherwise may not have had the opportunity, especially women.”

Communities Together will spend £80,000 on the station’s launch, which they have raised largely through fundraising.

For more information on the station and how to get involved visit the website.