UK Times Radio listeners directed to namesake outlet in Malawi on station’s launch day

Listeners trying to experience the new Times Radio station in UK on its launch day instead found themselves tuned in to Malawi station bearing the same name.

UK Times Radio launches with Boris Johnson and Malawi mix-up  on Monday.-p

The station launched on Monday with breakfast show hosts Aasmah Mir and Stig Abell holding an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But some listeners tuning in on Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker were instead directed to Times Radio Malawi, where they heard lively music interspersed with a discussion of Malawian politics in Chichewa.

The Malawi station bills itself as “the radio experience that engages all Malawians at different social economic levels”.

Times Radio is the new Rupert Murdoch-backed advert-free radio station launched in an apparent bid to rival the BBC on UK airwaves.

The upstart station poached top names from the national broadcaster, in addition to securing talent from across News UK titles, which include The Times, The Sun, and The Sunday Times.

Listeners were amused by the mix-up, with Anthony Swift writing: “Alexa play Times Radio” stubbornly delivers Times Radio Malawi.”

Another, Daniel Fox, wrote: “If my experience is anything to go by – “Times Radio Malawi” have just enjoyed their biggest audience ever this morning.

“Is it *actually* that difficult to get all smart speakers ready ahead of launch?”

Smart speakers are an increasingly important tool for mediaoutlets in reaching consumers, as up to one fifth of British homes have an Alexa or other smart speaker – and many have jettisoned a conventional radio.

The BBC also offers bitesize news bulletins via smart speaker audio command.

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