The biggest Asian radio station in Leeds is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.
In 2007, Fever FM was set up by “Mr Fever” himself, Jabbar Karim, a disc jockey and lifelong fan of radio.
In the past fifteen years, Mr Karim has worked hard to amass a dedicated listenership of hundreds of thousands of people per month, not just in West Yorkshire, but across the world, and a team of over thirty presenters broadcasting around the clock.
The station, based in Roundhay Road, Harehills, began broadcasting full-time in March 2007. However, Fever FM’s origins stretch back to the late early 1980s, when Mr Karim would DJ at various clubs and events across West Yorkshire.
The idea for the radio station flourished in 1989, when Mr Karim launched the first underground Asian radio station on FM in Leeds, Radio Apni Awaaz – Our Voice, in English.
The station was an instant success, where they would not only play music but keep listeners up to date with important community news such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and young people passing their A level exams.
In March 1999, the station changed its name to Radio Asian Fever and started working towards becoming a legal broadcaster on the Restricted Service License (RSL).
Against all odds, Fever FM was awarded a full-time community radio license by Ofcom in 2005 and 2007, Fever FM started their first full-time broadcast on 107.3FM and soon became the biggest Asian platform in Leeds.
Mr Karim said: “I launched Fever FM in 1989 as an underground station and in 2005, the station was given a full-time license. In March 2007, we began broadcasting full-time and, I believe, we are the biggest Asian platform in Leeds. We run programmes by the community, for the community, in the community.
“In the past fifteen years, we have accomplished a lot. Recently, a fourth presenter has been given a full-time job at the BBC, which is amazing.
“I feel so proud but sad to see another talent go, but it is what Fever FM is about, being a springboard for local and new talent to achieve wonderful opportunities for their future.”
Fever FM serves all south Asian communities in Leeds, combating under-representation and exclusion from mainstream media. The radio station broadcasts programmes in English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Mirpuri.
The radio station also prides itself on recruiting and training volunteers of all ages in presenting, producing, and life skills. Since its official launch, the station has provided a platform for thousands of presenters. Four of Fever FM’s talents have gone on to become employed with the BBC.
Harpreet Kaur, better known as Harpz Kaur on air, now presents a primetime show on BBC Asian Network, and Yasser Ranjha, also worked at BBC Asian Network before recently joining Global, hosting Capital Xtra’s Weekday Drive.
After almost ten years at Fever FM, and just over eleven with the Yorkshire Post, Aisha Iqbal Khan is now a senior broadcast journalist at the BBC.
The station has just said goodbye to Anil Bharath, who is the BBC’s most recent poach where he is presenting, reporting, and producing a radio show in the South East of England.
The BBC’s latest recruit from Fever FM, Mr Bharath, said: “Being from a South Asian background, you get advice about what types of careers you should go into, typically medicine or pharmacy.
“I’m more of a creative person and so Fever FM gave me the opportunity to learn about radio and find my passion for the airwaves.”
He added: “Happy 15th birthday, Fever FM. Thank you for all the skills and opportunities you have given me to get me where I am today. I wish you the best wishes for the future.”
Dr Mo Sattar, a GP partner, and host at Fever FM said: “I want to wish Fever FM a very happy fifteenth anniversary of broadcasting and a massive congratulations to our director, Jabbar Karim.”
Since the station’s launch, Fever FM has covered the month of Ramadan every year with Islamic shows for everyone to enjoy and learn about the beauty of the religion.
During the holy month, the station broadcasts live Islamic shows, Naats and competitions, Qur’an translations in English and Urdu and also live charity appeals.