Media / Talk of the Trade: Storm over Sunrise

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The Independent Online
THE Asian station Sunrise Radio yesterday began broadcasting 24 hours a day across the Midlands, adding to its output in London, the Bradford/Leeds area, and from the Astra satellite.

The decision of the Radio Authority to amend the licence held by Midlands Radio - owners of Radio Trent and Leicester Sound - to include Sunrise's output has caused a storm of protest in Leicestershire. Protest meetings, a rally, petition, and even a loudspeaker van going round the streets of Leicester have called for the authority to issue a permanent licence to a local rival, Geet FM, which was operating until last Monday on a 28-day licence, with programmes in Hindi, English, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali.

Jinesh Majithia, a director of Geet, said: 'We did the test broadcasts and attracted 40,000 listeners. We were given the test, and someone else was given the licence.'

Avtar Lit, chief executive of Sunrise, said: 'The 1990 Broadcasting Act allows anyone to be given a 28-day licence, it doesn't mean they'll be given a permanent one. We were already broadcasting, and the big gap was the Midlands area, where no frequency was available, so we did a deal with Midlands Radio and came into a joint venture.'