Pooja Handa left her role on CP24's Breakfast way back on August 12, and was soon followed out the door by her co-host Gurdeep Ahluwalia. It was clear they would resurface soon on a competitor station. When Maureen Holloway was let go from CHFI, it became clear that's where Pooja Handa and Gurdeep Ahluwalia would show up.
We now have a date. Pooja & Gurdeep starts on January 4, 2022 and will air weekdays from 5-9 am on 98.1 CHFI. And yes, they will make weekly appearances on Citytv’s Breakfast Television.
Covering some of Toronto’s most glamourous red carpets to the biggest cultural events, along with the latest breaking news, Pooja is a highly respected broadcaster with nearly two decades of experience informing and entertaining television audiences across Toronto and the GTA. She is passionate about mentoring young women in their career paths and has dedicated her time to many charities, most recently Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
“I’m thrilled to have this amazing opportunity to join the CHFI family. It is such an institution in Toronto and comes with an incredible legacy that I’m honoured I will soon become a part of. While radio is something new for me, it’s so very exciting to be able to take on this adventure with my good friend Gurdeep, whom I’ve shared many mornings on TV with over the years. I’m looking forward to getting behind the mic at CHFI to connect with new friends (and old ones too!) to help start their day with a smile. And, my parents can finally tell their friends that I’m employed again!,” said Pooja.
Gurdeep is an accomplished local and national broadcaster, having more than 15 years of experience bringing Canadians major news and sports headlines. Supporting a number of charitable causes, Gurdeep has dedicated his time to such organizations as SickKids Hospital, Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, Wellspring, Camp Ooch, motionball, and World Animal Protection. And, he’s dad to Coffee, his adorable cockapoo.
“I first got the radio bug in university, so it’s surreal to get behind the mic again all these years later with my television partner in crime Pooja. My first radio show was solo, so I guess I’m going to have to learn to be quiet sometimes. I’m also a Toronto guy (yes that means I’m a lifelong suffering Leafs fan), and I’m pumped to join an iconic station like CHFI with deep roots in this city and a passion for the people and places that make our home unique. It’s an honour to follow in the footsteps of some of Canada’s most legendary radio broadcasters, so I’ll try my darndest not to mess this up. Let’s go!,” said Gurdeep.
“Pooja and Gurdeep have earned a big following for their infectious and down-to-earth personalities,” said Troy Scott, Content Director for 98.1 CHFI and National Content Director, Adult Contemporary Music Brands, Rogers Sports & Media. “They have a special quality together, where you’re left feeling like you’ve been friends with them as long as they’ve been friends, and for our CHFI family, that’s incredibly important to us. The new show will continue to feature the same great variety of music, news, weather and traffic, with Pooja and Gurdeep offering a fresh take to start the day, engaging audiences with daily multiplatform content.”
Joining Pooja and Gurdeep on the new morning show is 98.1 CHFI news anchor Christine Cardoso, and Blair Bartrem, who will serve as Executive Producer for CHFI Mornings with Pooja & Gurdeep. No stranger to building winning audio brands and shows, Blair was instrumental in driving the content for Toronto’s Q107 and John Derringer in the Morning, where he worked for 12 years. An esteemed radio talent coach, Blair also led teams at Virgin Radio in Montreal, along with Pure Country and Bounce across Southwestern Ontario.
Additionally, audiences can catch Pooja and Gurdeep each week on Breakfast Television, Citytv’s weekday morning show, where they will ‘spill the tea’ on the latest entertainment and news gossip with BT hosts Dina Pugliese and Sid Seixeiro.
While CHFI Mornings with Pooja & Gurdeep officially starts on Tuesday, Jan. 4, listeners can get a small taste of the new duo on CHFI, starting Monday, Dec. 6, as part of the station’s holiday music programming.