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.
Leading the line-up and waking up listeners to “informative discussion, quality news and compelling analysis” at breakfast from Monday to Thursday will be Sony Gold award-winning broadcaster Aasmah Mir and broadcaster and editor of the Times Literary Supplement Stig Abell. Aasmah has most recently presented Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4, and was previously co-presenter of BBC Radio 5 Live Drive. Stig has presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and hosts the TLS podcast.
Luke Jones, who has presented numerous news programmes for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service including PM and The World at One, will join forces with investigative journalist, author and documentary-maker Jenny Kleeman, who has reported for Vice, Unreported World and Panorama as well as hosting the podcast The Immaculate Deception.
They will host breakfast from Friday to Sunday, getting listeners up-to-speed with the biggest stories of the day and setting up the weekend with intelligent conversation and features, says News UK.
Times Red Box editor Matt Chorley is one of the most respected political journalists operating in Westminster, providing insider analysis for the Red Box newsletter. The Red Box podcast recently won the best news podcast in the Society of Editors’ Press Awards. In his new mid-morning show Matt, who also moonlights as a stand-up comedian, will bring events in Westminster to life with an array of political guests and expert commentators.
Respected broadcaster and the first female main presenter of Channel 4 News, Cathy Newman, will present the primetime Times Radio drive news programme on Friday. During her career Cathy has exposed political scandals and high-profile sexism, and she will analyse the big events of the day. John Pienaar, one of the most familiar voices in UK broadcasting, was announced as drive presenter Monday to Thursday earlier this year.
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.”
Tim Levell, Programme Director of Times Radio, said: “When we announced John Pienaar as the host of Drive a few weeks ago, we purposefully set the bar high. With these new signings we’ve maintained an absolute focus on quality broadcasting. The presenters for Times Radio have a range of broadcast backgrounds - itself a plus - and they are all outstanding talents. I am convinced they will delight listeners with their warmth, expertise and passion for bringing news stories to life when Times Radio launches this summer.”
Aasmah Mir co-presenter at breakfast, Monday to Thursday, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Times Radio to co-host the Breakfast Show with Stig. The Times is a byword for quality journalism and this is an enviable opportunity to create compelling radio from scratch. Our listeners will be just like me - I want to be informed but I want warmth too and a programme fit for 2020. I am genuinely excited. This is the programme I have been wanting to wake up to for years.”
Stig Abell, co-presenter at breakfast, Monday to Thursday, added: “It’s an enormous privilege to be co-hosting at breakfast on Times Radio. And even better to be doing it with a broadcaster of the calibre of Aasmah Mir. Our agenda will be straightforward: provide provocative, well-informed, entertaining and useful discussion on the key stories of the day, informing the national conversation.”
Luke Jones, co-presenter at breakfast, Friday to Sunday, said: “This station is exactly what I’ve been missing in my listening life. The Times and The Sunday Times have always been my go-to papers. Their journalists are ferociously and charmingly intelligent. I can’t wait to share them with you in your car and bath.”
Jenny Kleeman, co-presenter at breakfast, Friday to Sunday, said: “There has never been a better time to create a trusted, warm and engaging alternative in national speech radio. I can’t wait to get started.”
Matt Chorley, Times Red Box editor and presenter of the morning show, said: “Having spent the last few years unpicking politics for the greatest newspaper in the world, I can’t wait to get started doing the same on the most exciting new radio station in the world, taking listeners behind the scenes to explain how Westminster works with the best guests and features. When my school reports said ‘shares his ideas readily with others’ they made constantly talking sound like a bad thing. Now, amazingly, I seem to have turned it into a job. This is not normal.”
Cathy Newman, presenter of the Friday drive time show, said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of this really exciting, ambitious project launched by one of the country’s most respected newspapers. I look forward to quizzing politicians, chewing over the week’s news and attempting to set the world to rights every Friday evening. And, in the middle of the biggest story in living memory, the questions which need asking are more pressing than ever. I can’t wait to get started – and get some answers.”
Times Radio will launch this summer and 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. More presenter names will be announced in the weeks to come, says News UK.