Times Radio who’s who: The line-up so far from John Pienaar to Tom Newton Dunn

Times Radio

Times Radio has secured a number of high-profile journalists to present on the new digital radio station, which launches in summer.

The station is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, which also owns Talksport, Talkradio and Virgin Radio under its Wireless subsidiary.

It promises “provocative and well-informed” news and current affairs analysis with no ad breaks. Sponsorship deals will create revenue.

It is also hoped the station, which will air on DAB, online, via an app and on smart speakers, will also boost subscriber numbers to the Times and Sunday Times in print and digital.

Presenters have been poached from the BBC, including deputy political editor John Pienaar, and elsewhere. Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn is the latest to join the station.

Times Radio’s presenting line-up so far:

Stig Abell
Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell. Picture: TLS

The editor of the Times Literary Supplement is Times Radio’s launch director and will co-present the breakfast show on Mondays to Thursdays.

Abell’s broadcast experience includes hosting BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and hosting the TLS podcast.

He said: “Our agenda will be straightforward: provide provocative, well-informed, entertaining and useful discussion on the key stories of the day, informing the national conversation.”

Aasmah Mir
Times Radio breakfast show presenter Aasmah Mi
Times Radio breakfast show presenter Aasmah Mir. Picture: News UK

Co-presenting the breakfast show with Abell on Mondays to Thursdays is journalist Aasmah Mir, who has left the BBC after almost 20 years to join the new station.

She most recently presented Saturday Live on Radio 4 and has also co-presented BBC 5 Live’s Drive programme.

She said: “The Times is a byword for quality journalism and this is an enviable opportunity to create compelling radio from scratch.

“Our listeners will be just like me – I want to be informed but I want warmth too and a programme fit for 2020.”

John Pienaar
BBC deputy political editor John Pienaar. Picture: BBC

Pienaar left his role as BBC deputy political editor in February to join the new launch. He will present the drivetime show on Mondays to Thursdays.

He spent almost 30 years at the BBC and has previously worked as as a political correspondent on Radio 5 Live, BBC News at Ten, and at the Independent and PA.

Pienaar said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled about joining the greatest and oldest title in journalism – in such a new and ambitious project on the digital front line.

“The guiding aim is to offer listeners high quality discussion and analysis of the stories and issues of the day, and make it a compelling, enjoyable listen. I can’t wait to get started.”

Cathy Newman
Channel 4 newsreader Cathy Newman. Picture: Channel 4 News

The Channel 4 News presenter will continue in the role she is known for on Mondays to Thursdays, but will host the Friday evening drivetime for Times Radio.

Newman said: “I look forward to quizzing politicians, chewing over the week’s news and attempting to set the world to rights every Friday evening.”

Tom Newton Dunn
Tom Newton Dunn. Picture: News UK

Newton Dunn will leave his role as Sun political editor after 11 years to present on the new station, having first joined the paper as defence editor in 2004.

Newton Dunn will be Times Radio’s chief political commentator, presenting shows within its weekly schedule as well as special programmes for events like the Budget and election nights.

He said: “We hope to do everything a little differently, and give listeners warmth with intelligence.

“The world of broadcast is a great new challenge that I can’t wait to throw myself into.”

Matt Chorley

In another shuffle from within News UK’s walls, Times Red Box editor Chorley will step back from writing the newsletter to present mid-mornings from Monday to Thursday.

He will focus on bringing political events to life with guests and expert commentators.

He said: “Having spent the last few years unpicking politics for the greatest newspaper in the world, I can’t wait to get started doing the same on the most exciting new radio station in the world, taking listeners behind the scenes to explain how Westminster works with the best guests and features.”

Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo on This Week. Picture: BBC

The former Tory Defence Secretary will present a weekly Friday evening show looking at cultural highlights for the weekend ahead, showcasing the best of Times journalism, and reviewing the week in politics.

Portillo said: “My aim is to produce an entertaining and informative show that will engage listeners.”

Since leaving politics in 2005, Portillo has presented many radio and TV documentaries, appeared as a regular in the BBC’s This Week with Andrew Neil for 16 years, and written a Sunday Times column.

Luke Jones

Jones is joining Times Radio from the BBC, where he has presented a number of Radio 4 programmes including PM, World At One and Broadcasting House. He is also a theatre critic for the Daily Mail.

Jones will co-present the breakfast show on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

He said: “This station is exactly what I’ve been missing in my listening life. The Times and The Sunday Times have always been my go-to papers.

“Their journalists are ferociously and charmingly intelligent. I can’t wait to share them with you in your car and bath.”

Jenny Kleeman

Also co-presenting the weekend breakfast show, Kleeman is an investigative journalist and author.

She has reported for Panorama, Vice and Channel 4’s Unreported World and written for the Times, Sunday Times and slow news start-up Tortoise.

Kleeman said: “There has never been a better time to create a trusted, warm and engaging alternative in national speech radio.”

Picture: BBC

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