Showcase on Asian radio in city

The important role played by BBC Radio Leicester in the development of Asian radio in Britain is being showcased at an event in the city.

From 29 April to 5 May, the station in St Nicholas Place will offer visitors the chance to learn more about the history of Asian programming and provide feedback.

In October 1976 the station became the first in Britain to offer a five-nights a week Asian programme, the Six O’clock Show. Broadcast for four nights a week in English, it was designed in part to tackle the poor race relations in the city at the time and played an important, but unrecognised, part in the success story of Leicester's multi-cultural present and the corporate history of the BBC. 

Within weeks of launching the new programme, two thirds of the Asian community in the city were regular listeners, a figure that would rise to over seventy percent in the mid 1980s. The Six O’clock Show is a direct forerunner of the current BBC Asian Network.

The Six O'clock show exhibition will show newly discovered films about the show, the opening of BBC Radio Leicester in 1967 and a weekly Asian Soap opera, Kahani Apni Apni, that ran in the 1980s. 

There will be two listening points at which visitors can listen to complete editions of 1970s and 1980s Six O’clock Shows. Printed displays will track the development of the programme, revealing new research and visitors will have an opportunity to share their memories about the programme as part of new research at the University of Leicester.

Midlands Three Cities PhD researcher Liam McCarthy said: “The new research into Asian programming across BBC local radio in the 1970s and 1980s has emphasized just how important BBC Radio Leicester is to the story. The Six O’clock Show became a cultural icon and as part of my research I am looking to capture the memories of listeners to the programme. This exhibition will show newly discovered film of Asian programmes at BBC Radio Leicester and complete editions of the radio show that have been lost for forty years.”  

  • The exhibition is at BBC Radio Leicester, 9 St. Nicholas Place, Leicester LE1 5LB.  It takes place daily during normal office working hours from 29 April -5 May.
  • More information here