The BBC Asian Network today announced that mid-morning presenter Sonia Deol, has decided to leave the station.
Sonia is departing the digital network to get married and pursue an exciting new life in Vancouver, Canada. Her last day will be Friday 2 March 2012.
Sonia said: "It's with mixed emotions that I announce I'm leaving the BBC Asian Network. Although it's a very happy time for me and I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life, I am going to dearly miss my fantastic radio family, both on and off-air. We've been through so much together over the years and shared some fantastic achievements. I'm proud of the fact that we've made the station the most listened to Asian service in the country."
I'm honoured to have worked with a brilliant team where we more than doubled the audience on the mid-morning show in the last two years and I've also had so much fun working with our Events team, hosting successful music tours and Melas. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my friends and colleagues for their guidance and encouragement during my career. The next few weeks will no doubt be emotional as I start to say goodbye to the audience I love with all my heart, and get ready to make a new start in a new country. I wish the BBC Asian Network the very best for the future."
Vijay Sharma, Head of the BBC Asian Network, said: "I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to Sonia from all of us, for her wonderful contribution to the Asian Network. Her understanding of our Asian audience has been a real asset to the station over the years and she has always connected with them in an authentic and sensitive way. I am sure that there are projects in the future where we would love to see her on stage or behind the microphone for the Asian Network, keeping that link with our audience who are certainly going to miss her."
Having started her career with the BBC Asian Network in 1996, Sonia has been a constant face of the station, leaving occasionally for short breaks to work elsewhere in the BBC or in the commercial world. Whilst on the network, she has hosted a variety of programmes, including our daily discussion show, breakfast, documentaries and her current mid-morning show. She has been an ambassador for the station on stage, during numerous Summer of Melas and has hosted many of the network's partnered concerts, including Asha Bhosle and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition to presenting many of the station's In Conversation with.events, Sonia has also brought the audience exclusive interviews with a host of Asian names, including the only interview with Mirza Tahir Hussain after his release from Pakistan's death row.
Sonia has also presented a range of programmes across BBC TV and Radio, including Network East, BBC Breakfast, Heaven and Earth, The Big Questions, The Politics Show, BBC London Radio and BBC Radio 4.
Sonia is currently presenting BBC Asian Network Gold on BBC's Red Button until Sunday 29 January - iconic Asian music from over four decades . For more information - www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork
A new mid-morning presenter will be announced in due course.