Rajdeep Sardesai’s dream run for his ‘journalist-driven channel’ has entered the last phase as key people are now on board and the team is almost ready.
Sardesai’s wife, Sagarika Ghose, ex-Senior Editor of Indian Express and anchor of ‘Question Time India’ on BBC World, has joined India Broadcast News (IBN) as Editor, News Features. Sardesai has also roped in another key man from Indian Express, ex-Senior Editor Diptosh Majumdar. Well-known for his inimitable style of writing, Majumdar has joined as National Affairs Editor. He will be heading an 11-member team of key correspondents, including Chief Political Correspondent Bhupendra Chaubey.
Sardesai has roped in his key confidant from NDTV – Arijit Barman – who will
be looking after business. Gaurav Kalra is joining IBN as Sports Editor.
Kalra moves from Quintus Television, which handles all cricket programming
from India under the Wisden brand name, where he was Senior Producer. K Suryagangadharan of Sahara has been appointed as Foreign Affairs Editor.
Confirming the key appointments to exchange4media, Sardesai said that he would be having a team of anchors from all the major national and international channels. A few names that he disclosed include Suhasini Haidar from CNN and Anubha Bhosle from NDTV. He, however, added that a full list of anchors would be ready only by the end of this week.
There is a team of three people – Dipika Kaura from CNBC, Kamlesh Singh from Today afternoon newspaper, and Sudeep Mukhia from timesofindia.com – who will be taking care of the Output desk.
Rajan Garabadu of NDTV and Rasika Tyagi of CNBC have been roped in as Executive Producers. Vinay Tiwari from Aaj Tak and Radhakrishnan Nayar from CNBC will look after assignments.
Rohit Khanna, director of popular prime time serial Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, will be the producer of feature programmes, while Rajiv Mason will be Entertainment Editor. Ritu Kapur from CNBC will be responsible for the news features section.
And before you think you know all, Sardesai has a ‘surprise anchor’, which he is not prepared to disclose right now. But sources said that he had prevailed upon RJ Nitin of Radio Mirchi, famous for his morning show Ulta Pulta Nitin. It is learnt that Nitin will be hosting three to four programmes, including a morning breakfast show.
And yes, Sardesai himself would be hosting some programmes, which are yet to be chalked out, said the former anchor of the immensely popular show Big Fight on NDTV.
He is, however, non-committal about the launch date of the channel. “Now everything is in place. We have 16 national bureaus ready. A team headed by David Kaczynski, who pioneered the launch of successful channels like STAR News, Aaj Tak and Star Ananda, has started training the IBN team. We expect to launch the channel somewhere in the last quarter of the year,” was all he said.
As for the channel’s name, Sardesai said that a decision was yet to be taken. About the uplinking permission from the government, he added that almost all the necessary clearances were ready.
When asked about the uniqueness of his channel -- a combination of people from diverse backgrounds -- you get a catchline from Sardesai: “We want to showcase diverse talent on one platform because we will have a channel of pristine journalism.”