Asian community radio station Sunrise Radio up for sale

Archana Venkatraman

The media group that owns Sunrise Radio – the first independent local radio station that caters to the Asian community in the UK – has filed for administration, according to media reports. But the channel will remain on air as the administration process continues.

The iconic Sunrise House building in Southall

Sunrise Radio, which started 30 years ago in London as Sina Radio, has been popular among the South Asians in the UK including Indians, Sri Lankans, and Pakistanis. The radio station’s headquarters in Southall and its studio in Hounslow– with their bold blue and yellow logo – have been well-known landmarks since the 80s.

The ailing group also operates other stations such as Kismat Radio, and Sunrise TV and is owned by Avtar Lit. In 2005, at its peak, Sunrise Radio group, posted pre-tax profits of over £5m and Lit became one of the "20 most powerful Asians in British media" in 2005. Lit calls Sunrise Radio the “World’s Greatest Asian Radio Station”.

The group has appointed Grant Thornton LLP as administrators for the sale of five iconic radio brands which includes London Media Company Limited, Time FM 107.5 Limited and Tristar Broadcasting Limited, alongside Sunrise Radio and Kismat Radio.

The radio stations and Sunrise TV have been in financial distress for a while. Sunrise TV, which was available on Sky channel 830, abruptly ended broadcasting in February 2013.

Sunrise Radio 1, Sunrise Radio 2 and Sunrise Radio 3 have not been included in the administration process and continue to be on air as normal as these channels are owned separately by Litt Corporation Limited. However, the full impact of the administration process on Sunrise 1,2 & 3 are yet to be known.

There are Asian community radio stations in Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bradford, Wolverhampton and Coventry.

Grant Thornton will now look for potential buyers to dispose of Sunrise Radio and its sister brands.

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