The new talk radio station Times Radio has been continuing to hire staff throughout the lockdown and today has launched its line-up of presenters.
Aasmah Mir, BBC broadcaster and Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News are to join existing Times Red Box presenter Matt Chorley as part of the star line-up.
The station is set to be launched by News UK this summer combining the journalistic insight of the Times and Sunday Times, and radio experience of company Wireless. The new national digital news station has been described as the commercial rival to BBC Radio 4.
News UK’s decision to keep on track with the launch of the radio station despite the coronavirus outbreak is reflected in the recent surge in subscriptions. After last Sunday’s publication of the Insight investigation ‘38 days later’ into the government’s preparations for a pandemic, 1,400 people subscribed to the Times and Sunday Times – which according to BuzzFeed News would account for ‘over £430,000 in new revenue if people retain their subscriptions’.
News UK confirmed the radio station will be ad break free but with ‘commercial opportunities for sponsors across the sector’.
Leading the breakfast slot on Monday to Thursday will be former Radio 4 Saturday Live presenter Aasmah Mir and editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Stig Abell.
Luke Jones – of BBC Radio 4 and the World Service – will join with investigative journalist and documentary-maker Jenny Kleeman to host breakfast from Friday to Sunday.
Recent SoE Press Award winner for his Red Box podcast, Matt Chorley will take a mid-morning show ‘Matt’ which News UK says ‘will bring events in Westminster to life with an array of political guests and expert commentators.’
Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News will present the drive news programme on Fridays while former BBC deputy political editor John Pienaar is already confirmed as drivetime presenter for Monday to Thursday.
Wireless CEO Scott Taunton said: “The current coronavirus emergency has demonstrated how important trusted quality journalism is to people, as they seek to avoid clickbait and sensationalism. Times Radio will deliver balanced and impartial news to listeners in a warm, useful and engaging way. There has never been a more important time to launch Times Radio and we’re working hard, within the government’s guidelines, to prepare for launch this summer.”
Read the announcement in full here.
Picture: News UK