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Dr. Bishop Joe Aldred retires from BBC Radio West Midlands

Dr. Bishop Joe Aldred in the BBC Radio West Midlands studio

ECUMENIST AND broadcaster Bishop Dr. Joe Aldred is hanging up his headphones after a decade of hosting, then co-hosting a popular BBC Radio West Midlands talk show highlighting issues that matter to the African and Caribbean community.

He was a solo presenter with his chat show on the station for five years before joining forces with gospel show host Nikki Tapper who first joined the BBC back in 2003. Together they have been a professional double act on Sunday Night with Joe & Nikki offering discussion and music on the airwaves every Sunday between 8-10pm.

After ten years behind the microphone, Aldred feels it’s time to hand over the headphones and leave others to carry on where he leaves off.

“Without a doubt, the biggest pleasure for me has been having a platform for debate and discussion on so many issues that affect the African and Caribbean community,” said Aldred, 64, who is head of Pentecostal and multi-cultural relations at Churches Together in England (CTE) and a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy.

“I think one of my highpoints was being able to dedicate an entire show to discussing the riots of 2011, which greatly affected the West Midlands. I remember joining forces with presenter Arshad Riaz and we were able to give both the African Caribbean and Asian communities a chance to air their views. We had so many calls from the public that we repeated the show on the first anniversary of the riots.

43 YEARS AND COUNTING

“I still work full time with CTE and I’m still writing, lecturing and preaching, so I won’t be looking for things to do,” added Aldred, who has just celebrated his 43rd wedding anniversary to wife Novelette, a psychotherapist and NHS chaplain. They have three grown-up daughters and grandchildren.

Aldred cut his broadcasting teeth at New Style Radio, Birmingham’s only station for the African Caribbean community, where he ran a one-hour gospel talk show, as part of his passion to encourage more African Caribbean people to engage in on-air debate.

He has also been a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought slot on the Chris Evans Show, along with Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, Beyond Belief, the Moral Maze and All Things Considered.

Considered a media natural, Aldred, who launched the Journal of Black Theology in 1998, has been regularly on the frontline dealing with press conferences following tense post-riot situations, or high profile shootings.

The eighth of 11 children born in Top Mountain, St. Catherine, Jamaica, Aldred arrived in the UK as a teenager in 1968 to be reunited with his parents who were making a new life for the family in Smethwick. He went on to study theology at Sheffield University where he also completed his PhD.

Now, he feels the time is right to spend his Sunday evenings playing with his grandchildren, while listening to the BBC Radio West Midlands show rather than in the studio.

Nikki Tapper will continue to host the show, which is produced by Merisha Stevenson.

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