Mark Strippel to head BBC Asian Network music division

MUMBAI: UK pubcaster The BBC's digital radio station BBC Asian Network has announced the appointment of British-Asian music pioneer Mark Strippel, aka Markie Mark, as the head of music for the station. Strippel takes up the appointment immediately.

He broadcasts on the Asian Network and on BBC 1Xtra. The BBC says that he is a well-known figure within the British music industry and amongst the public from being a member of Punjabi Hit Squad (PHS). The group formed in 2001 and have been at the forefront of taking British-Asian music to a wider audience through a fusion of bhangra with hiphop.

Strippell said, "I welcome the opportunity to be able to bring some real depth and cutting edge to the playlist at Asian Network, both in daytime and the new specialist shows. There will be a noticeable change in tone of the station's music policy, with a greater emphasis on homegrown talent, providing a platform for unsigned or independent British-Asian artists, and greater year-round support for live music. Asian Network has a key responsibility to play in uplifting the British-Asian music scene across all its genres."

The head of music role was created by the station late last year, along with the head of news, network co-ordinator and new assistant editor roles, as part of the evolution of the station under Controller Bob Shennan's management.

The final decision was made by a panel including Bob Shennan and Asian Network managing editor Vijay Sharma.

BBC Asian Network's Bob Shennan said, "Mark's appointment is crucial to the new direction of the Asian Network, and the final part of a very very strong management team. He has an important role in reviewing our music policy and connecting with the talent in the thriving British-Asian music scene."

The key tasks for Strippel will be to make music on the Asian Network more cutting-edge; to build and maintain relationships within the mainstream/Asian music industry; and to build on the station's commitment to live British-Asian music. Being white and a specialist in British-Asian music, Strippel breaks stereotypes and preconceived ideas about the type of people who listen to Asian music adds the BBC.

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