Pooja Handa and Gurdeep Ahluwalia to take over CHFI mornings in New Year

Pooja Handa and Gurdeep Ahluwalia will wake up Torontonians as hosts of CHFI Mornings with Pooja & Gurdeep, starting Jan. 4. (Rogers Sports & Media)

98.1 CHFI Toronto has officially announced that Pooja Handa and Gurdeep Ahluwalia will take over the station’s morning show, starting Jan. 4.

One of the worst kept secrets in the industry since their departure from CP24 over the summer, Handa and Ahluwalia step into the timeslot vacated last month by Maureen Holloway and Mike Cooper (who’d been filling in for the now retired Darren B. Lamb since early this year). Rogers Sports & Media unveiled the duo at a live broadcast event at Hotel X Toronto on Monday morning.

Cityline host Tracey Moore has been guest hosting since Holloway and Cooper’s departure, alongside KiSS 92.5 (CKIS-FM) personality Brooksy and news anchor Christine Cardoso. Cardoso will continue with the show, while programming veteran Blair Bartrem steps in to Executive Produce. Bartrem was most recently Regional Program Director for Bell Media’s Southwestern Ontario stations and prior to that, PD at 95.9 Virgin Radio (CJFM-FM) Montreal. He’s best known for his 12-year programming run at Toronto’s Q107 (CILQ-FM) and serving as PD and Operations Manager for Standard Radio’s Montreal stations, including CHOM 97.7, through much of the ’90s.

Handa and Ahluwalia departed CP24 Breakfast within weeks of each other in late August. Handa had been a reporter and anchor with the station for 13 years and co-host of CP24 Breakfast Weekend since 2011, before moving to the weekday edition of the show. Prior to that, she was a traffic reporter and entertainment host for Global Morning News in Toronto. Ahluwalia was named news anchor for CP24 Breakfast in 2016, a return to the station after a stint with TSN SPORTSCENTRE as a host and reporter.

“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, in a company announcement. “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 multi-platform content.”

While CHFI Mornings with Pooja & Gurdeep officially starts on Tuesday, Jan. 4, listeners will get a preview of the new duo as part of the station’s holiday music programming, which begins Dec. 6.

Audiences will also be able to catch the hosts on Citytv’s Breakfast Television, where they’ll contribute a weekly entertainment and news gossip segment with BT hosts Dina Pugliese and Sid Seixeiro.


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