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Two new SBS radio stations

SBS now has six radio stations.

In addition to SBS’s two AM and FM national radio networks, the multicultural broadcaster has four digital radio stations. Two are new. All six stations are available on-line.

Less than a month after it was launched SBS PopDesi is proving very popular. It’s the new digital music radio station playing South Asian pop music. Until PopDesi, little was available to satisfy the growing number of young people seeking this. The 2011 census data showed a big increase in Australia’s multicultural youth, with a massive increase in Indian language speakers.

PopDesi follows the huge success of SBS’s first on-line only radio station for multicultural Australians, SBS PopAsia – also accessible on digital radios. PopAsia and the less popular SBS chill began in 2010 but PopAsia was officially launched in January 2011 during Lunar New Year. PopAsia receives 250,000 streaming requests per month and has 41,000 ‘likes’, making it the most popular Australian digital radio station on Facebook.

All of SBS’s analogue and digital radio stations can be heard online and via dedicated mobile apps including the SBS Your Language app.

PopDesi offers the audience a chance to explore the best of South Asia’s popular culture with a heady mix of the freshest Bollywood hits, the biggest Bhangra tracks, the smoothest Indian RnB and the hottest urban Desi beats.

SBS’s Director of Audio Language & Content, Mandi Wicks said: “The success of our first digital radio station, SBS PopAsia, proved to us that there is demand for multicultural music content for young Australians.”

“We have launched SBS PopDesi so that fans can access their favourite South Asian music wherever or whenever they choose. Listeners can tune in online or via their mobile. The mobile app features on-demand streaming 24/7 and interact as you listen features. So, no matter where you are, you can request your favourite track or buy the song you just heard. Social media is at the heart of the new station too — fan requests on Facebook and Twitter help to inform the music we play.”

The web ability to download the track just played, now playing or next is very convenient. But it’s not free. A spokesperson for SBS said, "The ‘buy now’ buttons were placed onto the website to enhance the user experience – if they like the song they can purchase it straight away. It’s a typical form of interaction from a music based website. SBS is currently in the process of placing in iTunes affiliate code with our apps and website. This will mean SBS will receive a commission on every track sold. But this isn’t the reason why we are doing this – as the commission is minimal. Rather – it is to help legal sales of music to encourage the many labels that we deal with that there is a market for their music in Australia."

PopDesi and PopAsia are produced locally by SBS, engaging the interests and passions of 15-30 year old Australians.

PopDesi plays the biggest hits and charting pop direct from South Asia. New music is added to the playlists every week, sourced from world charts and listeners’ requests.

Key artists for PopDesi include Pritam, Rishie Rich, Miss Pooja, Imran Khan, PBN, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tigerstyle and Panjabi MC.

Statistics from the 2011 Census indicate the potential demand for PopDesi:

  • Indian languages spoken at home have seen huge growth, including a 208% increase in Punjabi speakers and a 188% increase in Gujarati speakers since the last Census in 2006;
  • When combined, the figures show an 89% increase in the number of Indian language speakers since 2006, with a total of 393,541 speakers.

Future plans for PopDesi also include daily music and culture blogs and interactive Top 10 chart shows, similar to PopAsia’s popular Top 8 countdown.

Also launched last month was SBS PopAraby. It is SBS’s Arabic pop music radio station and brings the Arabic youth culture to SBS audiences.

To download the free app for all SBS radio stations, begin here http://www.sbs.com.au/radio/article/763/SBS-Your-Language-app

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