From Thursday 12 November, BBC Asian Network will dedicate 24 hours of programming to Diwali, allowing listeners to observe the festival of lights safely at home, with uplifting music, celebrity guests, and positive discussions.
Throughout the 24-hour celebration and into Diwali weekend, listeners will be encouraged to share online and on-air their own stories of what they are grateful for, in the year that saw many unpredictable changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Diwali will also mark the creation of BBC Asian Network’s new brand Asian Network Celebrates… where specially commissioned mixes will be played on-air in the lead up to the Diwali weekend. All mixes will be available on BBC Sounds as part of the All Day Diwali Mix (full details below).
Yasser will begin the 24-hour festivities with a comedy club co-host featuring Sukh Ojla and a Diwali Versus clash with Jaz Dhami during his Drivetime show (4-7pm). Bobby Friction (7-10pm) will then take over and play a series of unique Diwali mixes that will lead into a Group Chat episode (10pm-midnight) which will focus on gratitude, encouraging viewers to reflect on what they are thankful for this year.
The following morning during Asian Network Breakfast (6-10am), Nadia Ali will host an on-air Diwali party with fellow presenters including Bobby Friction, Preeya Kalidas, Ashanti and Dipps Bhamrah. Listeners can join in the fun and will have the opportunity to share what Diwali means to them and how they’ll be celebrating the festival virtually this year. The breakfast show will end with a one-off Diwali Love Friday Mix.
The Big Debate (10am-12.45pm) will then look into how Covid-19 has affected the way Asian communities across the country will be celebrating Diwali this year and in the final show of the 24-hour initiative, Noreen Khan (1-4pm) will bring back her popular feature for a one-off Diwali special – Khandaan’s Got Talent! Listeners will have a chance to take part and show off their singing talent on air with special guest and judge Manj Musik.
Over the weekend, shows, features and mixes will continue to observe the festival of lights with all highlights available on BBC Sounds and reflected across BBC Asian Network’s social media channels.
Ahmed Hussain, Head of Asian Network, says: “Diwali being the festival of lights, is all about positivity and gratitude. Here on BBC Asian Network, we’ve created a unique 24-hour broadcast encouraging this attitude among our listeners, despite not being able to celebrate in the usual way. Diwali will also usher in the creation Asian Network Celebrates…, a new brand that will kick off over the weekend and we hope that for all celebrations to come, we can provide the best playlists for those special moments.”
Bobby Friction says: “Diwali is such a brilliant time of the year. For many of us, it’s a loud, family and music-centric celebration full of colour and fireworks. I intend to supply the music side of that equation with gusto on the BBC Asian Network!”