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News UK announces Times Radio launch date

News UK has announced that Times Radio will launch at 6am on Monday 29 June, and has revealed the rest of the presenter line-up.

News UK announces Times Radio launch date
Giles Coren: “I would have been frankly insulted not to be offered a show of some sort in this exciting and timely move into radio.”

New names added to the presenter line-up include Mariella Frostrup, Phil Williams, Carole Walker, Giles Coren and Hugo Rifkind. Amber Rudd, her daughter Flora Gill and Lord Digby Jones are amongst those presenting specially-commissioned shows.

Times Radio is the new national digital news radio station bringing together the journalistic expertise of The Times and The Sunday Times with the speech radio and podcasting experience of Wireless, the company behind talkSPORT, talkRADIO and Virgin Radio.

One of Britain's most established broadcasters, Mariella Frostrup is the latest Times Radio hire and will be presenting afternoons, Monday to Thursday. Her presenting credits stretch from Sky’s Book Show to the BBC's Celebrity Painting Challenge, Open Book on BBC Radio 4 and Panorama. Mariella’s new show will be an engaging and educated look at topical social and family issues, arts and culture, as well as discussions and interviews with celebrity guests, says News UK.

Established broadcaster Phil Williams, best known for presenting his own shows on BBC Radio 5 Live for over 20 years, will host the evening slot, Monday to Thursday. He will take listeners through the big stories of the day, look ahead to the next day's headlines with expert guests and keep his audience across the latest sports and entertainment news.

TV and radio journalist Carole Walker brings with her over 20 years’ experience as a BBC political correspondent. Her late-evening show will wind down the day with informed conversation, preview the next day’s front page stories and shine a particular light on political events in the USA.

Times columnist and restaurant critic, TV presenter and podcaster Giles Coren will have a weekly Friday afternoon show.

The regular weekday schedule is completed by Calum Macdonald as the presenter of early breakfast (5-6am Monday to Friday). Calum is a young, emerging broadcaster who’s worked for BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 5 Live.

The full weekend schedule announced yesterday includes, on Saturday mornings, Times columnist and critic Hugo Rifkind, winner of both 'Critic of the Year' and the 'Best of Humour Award' at the Press Awards. His show will take listeners through the week’s news and look at what the weekend has to offer.

Former Labour shadow minister and ex-political editor of GMTV, Gloria De Piero has her own show on Friday mornings, and will join forces with the station’s Chief Political Commentator Tom Newton Dunn on Sunday mornings in a pairing they’re calling G&T. It will comprise news-making interviews with leading politicians on the big issues of the moment together with a leisurely and informed look through the Sunday papers with a range of guests.

News and sports presenter Kait Borsay will host late-evenings Friday to Sunday, using her background as a broadcaster for Sky News and ITN to offer listeners relatable radio with engaging analysis of the week’s news stories. Kait is also one of the founders and presenters of popular podcast, The Offside Rule.

Alexis Conran, who has recently been presenting on talkRADIO, will host lunchtimes on Saturday and Sunday. Alexis is best known for co-hosting the BBC Three show The Real Hustle and is a member of the Magic Circle.

Political commentator, broadcaster, stand-up, editor of the Evening Standard’s Londoner Diary and former Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika will present the drivetime slot on Saturday and Sunday.

Other big names to join Times Radio for specially-commissioned shows and podcasts include former Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd with her journalist daughter Flora Gill, talking about their different takes on the world, picking up on their popular social media interactions. And international businessman, leading Brexiteer and broadcaster Lord Digby Jones will present a series looking at how businesses are getting ready for Brexit.

Times columnists Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson will host an interview series in which they talk to leading figures about how overcoming the challenges of their early lives shaped the people they have become. Confirmed guests so far include Tony Blair, Kirstie Allsopp, actor Brian Cox, and Sir Paul Nurse.

Mariella Frostrup, presenter of afternoons (1pm to 4pm) Monday to Thursday, said: “This is such an exciting time to be delivering a live radio programme when trusted and accessible news and big ideas for a changing future are essential. The pedigree of The Times journalism is world renowned, and I’m excited that Times Radio have given me the chance to create an ambitious show covering topical news, lifestyle and culture - with some levity along the way - that I hope will become a fixture in listener's lives. I’m also honoured to number among the stellar line-up they’ve assembled.”

Phil Williams, presenter of evenings (7pm to 10pm) from Monday to Thursday, said: “I’m delighted to be joining Times Radio. I’ve read the Times all my adult life. My show will analyse the day’s news without leaving listeners feeling overwhelmed by it. We’ll also be covering sport, entertainment and culture each night, giving contributors the space to speak without constant interruption, and offering the evening listener a friendly place to relax with the radio.”

Carole Walker, presenter of late evenings (10pm to 1am) Monday to Thursday said: “I am really delighted to be part of this exciting new radio station. My evening show will offer a fresh assessment of the day’s most significant events and a distinctive look-ahead to tomorrow’s headline stories at home and abroad.”

Giles Coren, presenter of lunchtimes (1pm to 4pm) every Friday, said: “I have been writing for The Times for more than 25 years, so I would have been frankly insulted not to be offered a show of some sort in this exciting and timely move into radio. The Friday afternoon slot is a mixed blessing as it'll kill my favourite lunch of the week. But on the plus side I can be in the pub with my week's work done before it gets too packed. My show will involve me offering my usual completely wrong take on everything plus a range of brilliant guests not getting a word in edgeways. You'd be a fool to tune in. I mean not tune in."

Calum Macdonald, presenter of early breakfast (5am to 6am) Monday to Friday, said: “Oh my days! 5am is early isn’t it? And it’s because we all have that exact response that being on Times Radio with those early risers at that time of day is perfect. We all need early morning friends - and I can’t wait for us to hang out, get clued up on the news and issues of the day - and all that before all those regular 9-5ers have even had their toast.”

Hugo Rifkind, Saturday morning (10am to 1pm) presenter, said: "My show is for all the people who love the Saturday edition of The Times and who wish, after reading it each week, that there was somebody nattering on in a similar vein out of a small box in their kitchen."

Gloria De Piero, presenter of mornings (10am to 1pm) Friday & Sunday, said: “It’s not often that you get to be involved in launching a major new voice in national speech radio. Times Radio wants to do things differently, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with someone of Tom’s calibre to reinvent the Sunday morning political debate with G&T.”

Kait Borsay, presenter of late-evenings (10pm to 1am) Friday to Sunday, said: “It’s hugely exciting to be involved in the launch of Times Radio. My aim is to offer listeners radio that extends the conversations in our daily lives, filling the gap felt by those who can’t find a station that sounds like them. We will complement news and current affairs with issues like social engagement, parenting and digital culture. I can’t wait to get started.”

Alexis Conran, presenter of lunchtimes (1pm to 4pm) every Saturday and Sunday said: “It is great to be part of Times Radio. My show will be three hours of entertaining news-based conversation, looking at the politics of the week, and delving into consumer and tech issues.”

Ayesha Hazarika, presenter of drivetime Saturday and Sunday (4pm to 7pm), said; “I’m absolutely delighted to have my own show on Times Radio. With so much going right now, it’s the perfect moment for an exciting new station which offers well informed opinion and debate with some much needed good humour.”

Amber Rudd said: “I’m excited to be joining Times Radio, who have already recruited some top political journalists to their team. It will be a great platform for me to put Flora in her place.”

Names already announced for the station include Aasmah Mir and Stig Abell (at breakfast from Monday to Thursday), Luke Jones and Jenny Kleeman (at breakfast Friday to Sunday), Matt Chorley (mid-mornings from Monday to Thursday), John Pienaar (at drive from Monday to Thursday), Cathy Newman (drive on Friday) and Michael Portillo (Friday evening).

Times Radio will broadcast on DAB, online and via app and smart speakers. The station will be ad break free, with commercial opportunities for sponsors across the schedule, says News UK.