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Get To Know Host Razia Iqbal Ahead Of BBC Newshour's Debut On KERA

Razia Iqbal, BBC Newshour host.

Some familiar voices from late night and weekends on KERA will be popping up in radio's prime time starting Monday, Jan. 2. The flagship show of the BBC World Service, Newshour, will start airing from 9 to 10 a.m. weekdays on KERA. It replaces the Diane Rehm Show – she's retired. 

For this week's Friday Conversation, we caught up with one of the anchors of Newshour,  Razia Iqbal, from the BBC newsroom in London.

Interview Highlights: Razia Iqbal...

…On what the BBC Newshour offers listeners:

"It's a live, one-hour geopolitical international current-affairs program, and we have access to the BBC's incredibly comprehensive network of correspondents around the world. We have features from places as far afield as Xinjiang in western China, to maybe much closer to home, Scotland." 

…On her personal background:

"I wasn't born in the United Kingdom. I was born in east Africa, and my father's family came from India – moved to Pakistan after partition in 1947, and then he moved to Nairobi in east Africa. Then we all moved to London, so that migration, that movement, just makes you think about the world in a very different way. I grew up listening to the BBC World Service in Nairobi, so it sort of felt like it was part of my DNA." 

…On Britain's Brexit and the U.S. election of Donald Trump:

"I think they are linked, in that when I came to the United States to cover the presidential election, I came right at the beginning. It was in Utah, that every single person I spoke to, I sensed that something might be afoot in the United States. Everyone mentioned Brexit. Not a single person did not say, 'Well, what happened where you are? That could happen here, we could get an upset here.' This was in August, and I really did begin to think, yeah, it could happen." 

…On covering the president-elect and the Republicans controlling every branch of the U.S. government:

"It's not for the first time, but what is for the first time, is an unpredictable president. A president who uses social media in a very different way. It'll be interesting to see whether candidate Trump and President-elect Trump is the same as President Trump. Whether he will continue to communicate with people in the same way as he has, even in the transition period. I think there is a sense of uncertainty." 

…On her dream interview:

"I think I would quite like to interview Her Majesty, the Queen. I think she would be fascinating. She has been the queen for such a long time, and she has been the head of state over a country that has seen so much change. And she carries herself with such dignity. I am not a royalist, but I would be very interested to hear her thoughts if she was able to be candid. Which of course, she can't be, she wouldn't give interviews and she doesn't give interviews. There are so many people I would like to interview. I was reflecting a lot this week on Carrie Fisher. I interviewed her a couple of years ago, and it was without question one of the most joyful exchanges I've ever had. I've interviewed many red-carpet celebrities during my time as arts correspondent. She was just so funny, amusing, clever, and just didn't take herself so seriously."