16 October, 2007

Where are Jordanian Radio stations standing....? A Comparison

Since I've been earlier this month to Romania and the Czech republic, I really wanna make a comparison between the radio scene out there in eastern Europe and Jordan. And want also to include in this comparison the Turkish radio scene since i know that pretty well, and since my trip included a transit in Istanbul this year as well.

Please not that what I'll be mentioning in this post are comparison's and critiques based on facts. Also please note that this post can be printed on at least 5 A4 pages, and you cannot judge on it only by reading a fragment of 2. In case you don't accept the critique or don't have time to read it all. Close the browser!

1st of all, one thing i mentioned, is that some guy that we get to hear on jingles on Beat FM here in Amman can be heard in jingles in romania on Radio 21 as well as on Radio Expres in Prague :) and on all of those he says this phrase: “The number one hit music station”. The ironic thing is that both Radio 21 and Radio Expres rank as number one in their countries' capitals, while Beat FM isn't here in Amman!

So lets get down to business, lets see, Prague, Bucharest, Istanbul, Amman.

Istanbul is for sure the biggest audio media scene among all 4. in istabul the radio stations are so jammed so that you'd sometimes find only a 0.2 Mhz gap between 2 stations, and the 0.5 Mhz gap is impossible to find.

In Istanbul, also, you'll get to find the biggest variety of radio stations, news, turkish modern music, turkish classical music, even types of turkish classical tarab music, talk show radios, hit music stations, Qura'an and islamic radio stations... and the thing among all of them, they're all talking radios! All of them! You'd never hear a radio station that is transmitting for over 15-20 minutes without having someone talking!!! in turkish of course.

In Bucharest, as well as in Prague, most of the radio stations are hit-music-station style radio stations, playing mainly western music side by side with local pop hit music (radio stations differ between the music geners they play though, some play more oldies, some more rock, some more junk, some more hip hop and RnB... etc). And with romanian/czech DJs TALKING between the tracks in their OWN language, and with the news at the top of the hours.

In romania, there are several radio stations topping the scene all over romania, those are mainly Radio 21 (Nr 1 in bucharest), Kiss FM (Nr 1 hit music station in romania), Europa FM (The most listened radio station in romania, and the one with the biggest coverage, and most trusted news and traffic news), PRO FM and their sister radio station info-PRO.

Despite the fact that the music played by those stations, which is being mostly new hit music (except Europa FM whose music goes by the theme of 80s, 90s, and Todays best hits), despite the fact that most of this music is redundant all day long, and that Jordanian radio stations have a newer and more vary western music playlist, but listening to those radio stations is way more enjoyable, the reason is nothing more, and nothing less than the DJs which are arranging the music, talking each and every now and then useful, or maybe funny, or maybe serious stuff, as well as telling us what is the next show, all done in romanian! And there are also those 2 couple of guys every morning on Kiss FM that make fun out of politicians and so, and they use western hit singles context even as well as romanian hit music to get their message clear. All the other local radio stations go the same, and even the Iasi patriarchy radio station in north eastern romania has a similar style while airing the prayers, versus from the bible, or folkloric music from that region! Yes! Even priests make good DJs!

One thing i liked in Bucharest also is something called: Students FM .... 3ogbalna! And its so well done by the way! And their music is the most varied among all other stations, but they donot transmit outside bucharest.

In Prague, things go absolutely the same, stations playing western music, with czech DJs talking in czech... some of them play even western only, some only czech, and some a music mixture of both, all with czech DJs talking in czech!
The only English tongue you can hear in prague is an american DJ on radio Expres doing a morning show, and the BBC English news and radio shows. Nothing more, nothing less!
Even prague's rock radio, Radio Beat, has czech headbangers talking on air, and even the classical music radio station have czech symphonic DJs!

So we get back to Amman and see!
Or rather hear .... hear what!!

lets see:
(1st bunch)
Melody FM 91.1
Beat FM 102.5
Nojoum FM 93.7
Ahlen FM 97.1
Radio Sawa 98.1

All of those above are mute radio station! Totally mute, with NO ONE talking live on the air!
Nothing more, nothing less than an MP3 Player, at least in an MP3 player i can guarantee i wouldn't have poor transmission coverage as some of those radio stations have, and music to my own taste, not to some hidden people's tastes, nor to computers tastes!
2 out of those above, Beat FM and Ahlen FM do have radio shows which are recorded ... ah, sorry, Beat FM has one ENTIRE show live on the air .... and they have that jingle (the only station that listens to you in Jordan!) not obvious at all! At all!
And if Ahlen FM's went by the theme of a no-talk radio, and if they provide track names through an RDS-RT service, why is it that they air radio shows from MTV RTL and America Top 40! confusing! Its either this or that guys!

(2nd Bunch)
Play 99.6
Mood FM 92.0
Mazaj FM 95.3
Radio Fann 104.2 (and their other frequencies)
Radio Rotana 99.9
(and Beat FM 102.5 ... since they might got mad for being in the 1st bunch)

All of those in this bunch are radio station that play music and do their radio job professionally, regardless of the music genre they oriented in, all of them play us a good variety and enjoyable collection of their music, and always the latest hits of the music they're specialized in.. and all of them have pretty high ranking rates... BUT!
Again, all of them have at most 3 live radio shows, they are almost mute! The music keeps playing and playing and playing! But! What's next! Anyone around there to give us some little attention and talk to us! TALK!
You know, using a mouth and a microphone!
All of those stations have at most 6 hours during working days of live DJ shows, which is not enough! And most of them (including Sawt Al-Ghad on 101.5 FM to be added here) have even ZERO live DJ shows during weekends! Hello! It weekend! I must sit at home, you must talk!! this is why you get payed by commercials! isn't it!?
I mean, just look at Mood FM's themed music periods, The golden hits of the 80s' launch break, Nostalgia, Late night love ... etc. I love those themed periods, but why cant there be some identity for the person putting on those set of music, and to hear him/her talking to us.. telling us why (s)he chose this, why (s)he has chosen that... some lil' talk wont heart! It will even encourage me to listen more!

(3rd Bunch)
Sawt Al-Ghad 101.5 FM
Radio Rotana 99.9 FM
Radio Fann 104.2 FM
Play 99.6
Beat FM 102.5
Mood FM 92.0

All of those radio stations mentioned in this bunch use foreign DJs to present their shows! Play, Beat and Mood have English DJs, while the other arab stations depend on Lebanese DJs.
Now why is that! Why on earth don't the turks get foreigners, why don't the Romanians get foreigners, why don't the Czech get foreigners, well, the American DJ is a single case, and he is not on air all the time, nor all the days... for example, why don't Czech radio stations get DJs from Slovakia since both countries have the same language! Like we get Lebanese DJs in our radio stations!
As things go for English speaking DJs, we do have good English speaking Jordanians, a proof on that is getting down the streets and malls of western Amman, or getting through Jordanian Universities, or even getting through Jordanians on facebook! Another proof is Radio Jordan 96.3 FM, where there always was, and still, Jordanian DJs and radio announcers doing the shows and reading the news, and some of them are even professionals that were exported abroad in the gulf region, and even to the states!

While as arabic speaking DJs are concerned, and with all respect to the Lebanese people in the Jordanian radio industry, and some of them have been in this industry for over 10 years ... but i don't think you guys are really getting your Jordanian listeners! Plus, can't we in here speak arabic, we can speak it with our own language even! And local professionals can be made in the industry if those stations really care, one quite a strong example is Radio Sawt Al-Madina, which gathered a whole bunch of Jordanian youth and made professional entertainers out of them. And Radio Amman Net, which gathered another bunch of Jordanian youth before that and made professional journalists and community radio professionals out of them! It's not hard to be done if you want so!

(4th Bunch)
Radio Jordan Broadcasting Corporation's FM radios, including
Radio Jordan 96.3 FM
RFJ 90.0 FM
Amman FM 99.0
Sawt Al-Ghad 101.5 FM

The problem in those radio stations are the orientation! Or the lack of it precisely, especially when talking about Radio Jordan Broadcasting Corporation's FM radio stations. Examples are playing arabic music on RJ FM and RFJ, which are supposed to be the English service and the French service of Radio Jordan Broadcasting! And not stations to play arabic music to compete with other specialized radio stations in this domain, just because that person behind the microphone wants so!
Which opens another problem very apparent in those 2 radio stations, mainly RJ FM, which is individuality, since there is not orientation, then each and every person getting to be a DJ does what ever he or she likes on the air without having a main objective or orientation that would be a reference for all of them. Quite a couple of examples are the contrasts between RJ FM's very popular, LC-Listener's Choice, which also makes a competitor for the other western music playing radio stations in town, and, on the other side, the shows hosted by someone who goes by the name of Ghada Shaqdee7, who plays only whatever she likes, and sometimes asks the people not to ask for something other than arabic music, simply because she wants so!! and her show is mainly a family and friends show! Not to forget another DJ who goes for turkish, greek, and the other nations around and about, calling it an international show!

On the other hand, an orientation problem in music is also available in Radio Amman FM, where this orientation is more concentrated in music, being it very easy to have a song for 3omar el-3abdallat, followed by 3abd el 7aleem 7afeth, and with nancy 3ajram right mixed with 3abd el-7aleem's! The music doesnt happen to be period specific at all on this radio station. One ironic thing, is that the same Ghada Shaqdee7 mentioned above has a show in here as well, this time with English music only!

Sawt al-ghad's problem also happens to be in the music orientation, mainly in having western and arabic music side by side, as it is very usual to hear a non-clean eminem song followed by Majida Al-Roomee! And yes, them playing un-clean Rap songs is yet another issue!

(5th Bunch)
Radio Amman Net 92.4
Play 99.6
Beat FM 102.5
Mood FM 92.0
Sawt Amman 105.1
Mazaj FM 95.3
RMC 97.4 FM

All of those stations mentioned in this bunch suffer from transmission coverage issues inside their licensed area of coverage! That is, the Greater Amman Area. All of those will give u a headache while roaming around the city while trying to receipt them in your cars radio. Radio Amman Net has reception problems in western Amman in general, and cannot be even found in north western Amman! Play and Sawt Amman have problems in reaching western and south western Amman. RMC has a problem in reaching the city's suburbs from almost from all sides of the city, and Beat, Mood and Mazaj have problems in reaching northern Amman, west north Amman, and east north Amman. And after all of this, you hear Play saying (all over the kingdom on 99.6 FM), and Beat saying (Across Jordan on 102.5 FM) when they for example cannot be receipted in sweileh at all! just 3 KMs away from their transmission antenna!

Ain't the AVC giving you licenses for up to 3 KW of transmission! Can't you utilize that license! I guess none of the above are Neighborhood radio stations, are they!

I guess there are a lot more glitches, but those mentioned now are more than enough, one last thing for radio stations broadcasting news. what is it with those news bulletins at +15, +20, +30, and +40 mins from the top of the hour.
Well, lets say that +30 is ok .....
but still, news bulletins and headlines were made to be on the top of the hour.
When its the top of the hour, where ever i'd be in this would, i'd expect to have some station identity. And news at the top of the hour, not at 10, 15 or 20 minutes past the hour!

Not to forget also, the lack of quality in shows and arrangements in some stations, the lack of transmission and/or sound quality in others.....

Now, just to mention, a bunch of radio shows that i think they are ON STANDARDS, excluding from the list the shows on Radio Panorama and RMC, Which are pan-arab radio stations but broadcasting in Jordan, and which have several, if which not most of their shows on standard.
The list is, in random order:

The Big breakfast show with orange, by Lee McGrath on Play 99.6
The Morning shake and the morning mesh-mash shows on Radio Jordan 96.3 FM by Nada Sa'aideh and Mike Derdrian respectively. (when were available)
LC – Listener's Choice on Radio Jordan 96.3 FM. By Safana Bustami.
Jnoon 3al Afternoon with Taleen Qarrash on Radio Rotana.
Shabab 101 on Radio Sawt Al-Madina.
Mazzika with Macadi, by Macadi Nahhas on Radio Amman Net.
Besaraha with Al-Wakeel, on Radio Fann. By Mohammad Al-Wakeel.
Ebtada El-Meshwar on Watan FM, by Yusor Hassan.
The Afternoon drive show with Dani. On Mood 92 FM.
The Live shows on Hayatt FM.. and even the other recorded programs on Hayatt FM... they are pretty much on standard, and comply with the station's main objective and mission.


Anonymous said...

I see that you dont really have that much else to do other than critisze peoples hard work.

Anyway you call Beat FM mute, well for 6 months now there has been a breakfast show. and there are also other shows on the station that do have talking.

Hey, why not get a job and get up early like the rest of us working people, then you would realise that there are people talking!

Rob Stevens
Breakfast Show Presenter
Station Manager
102.5 Beat FM

nasimjo© said...

Dear Mr Anonymous, or Rob Stevens as you mentioned below:

1st of all, just for your information, I wake up daily at 6 AM ... and I do work for 12 hours a day... that is, in case you don't know! So I guess i'm a working person ... and a very productive one as well!

Radio for me is just a hobby, and as a radio listener (or a radio-only listener), I do have the right to criticize what I do listen to!

2nd of all, Yes, I know about Beat FM's breakfast show who has been there ever since April 2006. when it was presented back then by Dj Yanal Kasseh, way before you mr Rob Stevens, if you are Rob Stevens.
for more about this you can read here:

and ever since then, the morning show is still the one and only LIVE show on Beat FM, since the chart show is a recorded one....

Hence, Beat FM has less than 22 hours of shows /week, that is, out of 168 hours, or say out of 126 hours considering that no radio shows can be done between midnight and 6 AM.

I think a radio station that has shows less than 20% of its airplay can be called a mute radio station.

There is no single radio station in entire Europe with shows occupying less than 20% out of its broadcasting. while this is hugely available here in jordan!

Say it isn't so!

Note that i didnt even judge in the post using the 20% percentage nor any other percentage ....

Last but not least ... wasn't Nadim Attieh Beat FM's manager!?

Tami said...

hey Nasim:
i read it till the end,but you know wat Nasim for some reason lsning to ppl talking on the radio irritates me. i turn on the radio to get some good quality music. when i need arabic its definitly Mazaj, old music a3teeha Mood, trance , house and stuff its beat...
but really i cant stand it while im tired from talking all day and lsning to ppl all day and lsn to talk shows. i feel i can pull that guy from the radio and strangle him..... so to be honest i appreciate the somewhat MUTE status ur claiming ;) ppl in amman want music

Anonymous said...

Play 99.6 only has one live show.

Lee in the morning.

Dan on Driveback is pre recorded.

He is not even in jordan!

nasimjo© said...

thanks for the thoughts tami, hehe,,, yeah i know the feeling when u just want to say for that talking person in there (SHUT UP)! ... maybe the non-mute i'm talking about in here is not really that available here in amman on our radio stations ... if you'll happen 1 days to hear how european DJs are leading a radio show without being mute ... yet in a non-annoying way!

Mr anonymous, who happens to be the 1st anonymous according to the traffic analysis I have btw, and who i'm sure is not Rob Stevens, note that i'm not comparing between jordanian radio stations their self... but i'm rather comparing them to standards and conventions in the radio world.

& by the way, just the other day I heard live phone calls on Dan Harper's Driveback show...!
& By the way, Play 99.6 is not my personally favorite radio station, just in case you thought so!