15 November, 2009

JRFC Talents Gallery

The Jordanian Romanian Forum for Culture invites you to its “Talent's Gallery”. Opening this coming Wednesday, the 18th at 6 PM in Mecca Mall – New Extension, at the Ground Floor. The gallery will continue on Thursday and Friday,the 19th and 20th.

Va invita Forumul Cultural Iordaniano Roman la "Galeria De Talente". Deschiderea va fii Mercuri 18 noiembre la ora 18.00 la Mecca Mall - Etaj Parter. Galeria va continua joi si vineri 19 si 20.

يدعوكم المنتدى الأردني الروماني للثقافة لحضور "جاليري المواهب". و الذي سيفتتح يوم الأربعاء 18 نوفمبر \ تشرين الثاني - الساعة السادسة مساءً، و يستمر طيلة أيام الخميس و الجمعة ، 19 و 20 نوفمبر. و ذلك في مكة مول – التوسعة – الطابق الأرضي.

28 October, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Sawt Al-Madina on 93.3 FM in Irbid

Sawt Al-Madina started its test transmission in the nothern town of Irbid, on 93.3 FM for over a week now.

this is the 1st frequency for Sawt Al-Madina outside Amman, despite the fact that its transmission from the Ammani wave covers several towns around the capital.

07 September, 2009

RDS on Radio Jordan's stations

Radio Jordan Broadcasting Corporation has lunched by the end of August RDS service on several of its working radio services' frequencies on the FM waves.

Those who tune in to 90.0 FM and 106.7 FM in the greater Amman area can now have “Radio Jordan Main Program” appearing on their RDS radio screen, while those who tune in to 96.3 FM will have the statement “Radio Jordan Foreign Program” appearing on their radio screen.

The other radio stations that belong to Radio Jordan Broadcasting do not have RDS yet, nor was i certain about whether other working frequencies outside Amman for the 2 stations mentioned above have RDS working, or if they support RDS-AF (RDS Auto Frequency switching when you get out of a frequency's range and enter another one's range).

Radio Jordan might have been trying to evolve in the past couple of years, and i have discussed this several times on my blog in several occasions, and here is another step forward. As Radio Jordan's stations were almost the only ones that do not have RDS running.

Now technically speaking, Radio Jordan is still, despite the big possibilities the corporation holds, by the end of the list among Jordanian radio stations, mainly because of managerial issues. For example, several frequencies still suffer from Bad sound quality, while all the problem might be in setting an equalizer properly, Radio Jordan Foreign Service on 96.3 FM is a simple example (You can just observe the base's noise by the moment you switch to it), or a problem in the output cables like the same station's frequencies in Ajloun on 90.9 FM which still suffers from the same problem for several years now with its low echoish sound level problem. Or by not restricting the usage of low quality tracks , despite the availability of high quality originals, a problem mostly notable on the Main Program's Service. Or the simple unnecessary duplicity of service, which highers the costs, just like having 2 FM Frequencies for the main service covering the capital (90.0 and 106.7 FM) , and same for Amman FM (99.0 and 88.0 FM), while there are other areas that are not covered by transmission, or having null transmission, like irbid's local frequency on 95.4 FM.

Big evolutions were made in programming, mainly on The Main Service and Amman FM. And great efforts have been made on the role of the foreign service, but we still have some radio announcers performing on national radio's airwaves like if they are dealing with their car sound system! For example, Yes, we still hear Arabic music on the Foreign service.

The big problem is that all those issues are really minor issues for such a big corporation that can be handled and solved easily. But without them, Radio Jordan will not be able to go the next step in attracting back the trust of the people.

Maybe a proper example from my personal experience is Radio Romania, which is now very competitive in a very jammed market like the Romanian market, but is still having its weight by coverage 1st of all (covering the entire country with a wide range of FM frequencies with high transmission and sound quality along with RDS-AF), programming (Mainly news along with shows targeted for the nation and hot-AC quality Music, both Romanian and western), and appearance (Branding, events ... etc), along with a range of subsidiary local and nation-wide radio stations, among which some unique ones like Radio Romania Cultural, and Itsy-Bitsy FM (a children oriented radio station with very high ratings and listenership).

01 September, 2009

Spin Jordan, 1 Year of evolution in Jordan's CHR Radio

Today marks one year exactly since SPIN Jordan when on the Ammani airwaves on 94.1 FM , and at the same time, ever from the 1st day, in Irbid in the north and Ma'an in the south.

Ever since startup, Spin Jordan started with 3 frequencies, followed by a forth in Aqaba lately, being by that the only CHR Radio that dared to get out of the capital's borders. and gave a big hit in both irbid and aqaba.

Spin also started with a rich grid of shows less than 1 month since startup! something that other station spent YEARS to achieve, and some didnt yet though the have been on air over a year and a half and are still satisfied with 1 show that goes on vacations even. and this grid of shows didnt stop there, but went over richer during this year to have specialized music shows as well.

Talking about Music, Spin flipped over Jordanian CHR Radios playlists, and even played a role in having some bands being played for the 1st time on jordanian radios (Hint Hint: Kings of leon, The Script, and others). and we finally got to hear alternative hits and non-commercial hits played on the radio!

While when it comes to production, SPIN had a remarkable role in getting the radio quality standards in Jordan higher ... from basic concepts like "no moments of silence allowed on the airwaves" and "no talking over songs", to high quality productions and jingles ... as well as talking arabic on the airwaves of a CHR Radio, a big step forward, and one that never took place on jordanian CHR radios, from jingles like (دايماً الهتس أحلى عـ سبن) to ads in the streets and media, to actual talking on the radio.

Happy Anniversary Spin! we might have waited quite a while for you to come over on our airwaves, but this waiting worth it :)

30 August, 2009

Intercity Public Transportation in mess

Been a while since i have blogged about public transportation in jordan, and since i've blogged in general due to the fact that i was pretty busy lately, as well as out of the country.

Intercity public transportation has been in a mess lately across jordan, and i am not claiming it was perfect, but at least it was doing the job.

During this summer, things seemed to be going towards a mess in the sector due to several facts. and some of the solutions were causing problems in other parts of the sector, and so on.

Probably this mess was quite an effect on the public due to the fact that it happened on major lines connecting the capital Amman with the major jordanian cities around it. along with the general usual mess that occurred after petrol prices went high again, leaving the PTRC un-handling the case properly like before and causing a mess among the sector's operators and users.

Users of Major lines connecting the capital Amman to Irbid, Salt and Zarqa have been suffering lately. It all started when Irbid-Amman's big buses started a strike by the end of last june along with a strike for the Amman-Irbid white cabs asking for their fairs to be increased after the raise in gasoline prices.
The Big Buses drivers and owners had this strike for the 4th or 5th time, asking again & again to have their operations combined with the small coaster buses, which are, despite being individually owned, operating under a single-owned phantom line operator called "3aroos el Shamal Transport", a company that doesn't own a single bus! More about the coaster/big bus battle can be found here. The strike continued till several days before ramadan, after no solution was found by the PTRC.

On the other hand, 2 other Major lines, Zarqa-UJ-Sweileh and Salt-Raghadan, which are also licensed to big companies that, probably own buses, but sub-contract the operation to individuals driving them, without the needs to care about their maintenance and quality of operation [details available in this response of mine], have been facing trouble after most of their buses are not even willing to start and run any more. this forced the PTRC to find substitutes for operation on those 2 hot lines that work almost 24/7. and from where could those substitutes be but from other lines! on Salt-Raghadan line for example substitutes were some big Irbid-Amman buses (yup, those on strike, but only with a Wasta!), and big Jerash-Amman buses leaving the small town of jerash almost disconnected from the capital with only 2 small buses operating on this line!

While on the other hand, on the Zarqa line, the substitute were buses from the CMTC, which still has some of its lines in the capital Amman badly operated!

Anyway, the transportation between zarqa and Amman was enhanced, or tried to be, by a 60 years old 20km/h running train, operating during ramadan twice a day, by a trip from Zarqa towards Amman at 7.30 AM in the morning and a trip back at 3.30 PM. a nice idea after the death of the Amman-Zarqa light railway project, esp that as declared that the train carts are rehabilitated and air conditioned even. but unfortunately, the announcements of this service didnt exceed some short press releases in the newspapers, resulting in only 6 passengers at its 1st day of operation.

23 August, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Amen FM on 101.7 FM in Ma'an

Amen FM, the police dept radio station started broadcasting in Ma'an and Ras Al-Naqab area lately on 101.7 FM.

By this Amen FM is now covering most of the kingdom in 4 FM airwaves across the country

11 July, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Ayyam FM on 93.5 FM in Aqaba

Ayyam FM has also started its frequency in Aqaba Special Economic Zone on 93.5 FM.

Ayyam FM started broadcasting in aqaba with its sister communicorp radio station, Spin, earlier last week.

09 July, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Spin Jordan on 103.5 FM in Aqaba

Spin Jordan started broadcasting on 103.5 FM in the Jordanian sea port city of Aqaba and its surrounding areas.

Spin Jordan is currently the only english speaking jordanian radio station with 4 frequencies around the kingdom, after starting less than 1 year ago with 3 frequencies in Amman , Irbid and Maan. and is one of the very few with a frequency in Aqaba, where the only non state radio stations running there are Fann FM and Amen FM.

28 June, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Virgin Radio Jordan on 93.7 FM ... soon!

Yes, its finally official.

The station broadcasting on 93.7 FM in the Amman Greater Area is Virgin Radio Jordan.

After over 2 years of random music broadcasting without a station title on 93.7 FM but a random RDS name that goes by the name of "Nojoum FM".

and after witnessing a store in City Mall that now is almost finished but not equipped yet, and is obviously nothing but the station's studio [studio in the mall, how cool is that :) ]

Virgin Radio Jordan seems to be lunching just around the corner as , i expect, a CHR radio of another kind, one that would play both arabic and western contemporary hits! this is what i can see from what they are playing on 93.7 FM at the moment.

More soon! Hopefully!

UPDATE: No signal is available any more on 93.7 FM

UPDATE 08-Sep-2009: The test transmission has returned on 93.7 FM

24 June, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 15

Sorry for being away for awhile, since i was busy over my heads as well as out of the country.

But for those who follow my radio segment episodes through my blog, Season 1 of my radio segments was wrapped up by mid-May, and here goes episode 15 which was aired on the 27th of April. and will be followed by the May Episode number 16, which was the last one of this season.

This episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

The 15th episode of my radio segment mainly discussed Comedy Radio Shows on the Jordanian airwaves. As there are several radio shows of this genre being aired on the Jordanian radio stations on daily or weekly basis, as well as other shows that are making appearance on the airwaves in specific times of the year, like the holy month of Ramadan.

The 1st to be mentioned out of those , is definitely the most popular “Nakshet Mo5”, and the one Nadeem Sarraj got famous from as a radio comedian, on Mazaj FM. The show is mainly a comedian phone pranks show. And is still broadcasted on Mazaj FM as a “Best Of ..” , although Nadeem Sarraj became part of radio Ayyam FM.
Mazaj FM has also two other comedy shows of different nature and are more considered to be monologue comedy, the first is a social pamphlet by the Egyptian comedy artist yousef Ma'atee and is called “Maatee Show”, which is not produced by Mazaj FM but Mazaj has its broadcasting rights in Jordan, while the other is produced by Mazaj FM and is political comedy monologue by the Jordanian artist Nabil Sawalha and is called "Nashret Ghaseel".

On Ayyam FM, Nadeem Sarraj came back with a new comedy radio show called "Etla3 Men Rasee" and a new different personality for phone pranks, the thing that Nadeem knows the best in Radio Comedy, and which no one would compete with him except for Mohamed Al-Madfa3ee's show on Radio Fann during Ramadan "Osman fee Ramadan.

Finally on Radio Al-Balad, a different comedy show started in the new programs cycle that goes by the name “Bella 3alek”, and is mainly oriented towards discussing the ironic matters of life and people. Unlike other programs, the show involves more than one person playing different roles in it, and includes a lot of music and sound effects. But the program is considered to be kind of long! Reaching 25 - 30 minutes. It might have been better if it was more focused and shorter, and more comic and popular even!

Reviewing the Jordanian airwaves during Mid April, when this episode was aired, we start from thursday April 16th, when a Jordanian radio station had its airwaves lock down along with over 25 radio stations from all around the world to broadcast live probably the most famous and listened to radio show on planet earth, that is, as Beat FM listeners had the chance to join over 300 million listener to listen to Episode 400 of “A state of Trance” , the show wasn't by then broadcasted on the Jordanian airwaves, but was rather a notice that Beat FM will start broadcasting “A state of Trance” on weekly basis, which it did several weeks later.

Also on Beat FM, a new drive back show had started by the name of “The Drive”, occupying this prime time period on the airwaves of Beat FM.

While on the other hand, Play 99.6 also have a new show (you can feel the concurrency in the air), but this time its not a drive back show as Play already has one, its an evening show, or period, in which a DJ plays music in the 8 – 10 PM period, and takes the people's request for their favorite songs, the thing is that , and for the 1st time on Play's airwaves, this DJ speaks Arabic! We are mentioning that Arabic is getting more and more on the airwaves of Jordanaian CHR radio stations which play western music. One big example is SPIN where all its DJs speak Arabic along with English on the airwaves. While here on Play, this DJ speaks only in Arabic, which maybe annoying for some of the station listeners, but Play indeed knows what its doing by this, as this will attract more listeners who do not usually listen to CHR and western radio stations on the Jordanian airwaves. As well as the fact that this period is one in which young people listen more to radio, and thus, a wide range of new listeners for the station.

24 May, 2009

Taxi Al-Momayaz .. not so Momayaz!?

Been a while since i did some public transportation blogging , ha!? Don't worry .. still here, monitoring :)

In the last several months or so, we had witnessed some Kuwaiti investments in the public transportation sector, that were unfortunately rapidly hit by the global economic crisis as others. 1st was the Amman-Zarqa light railway project , that until now, not just only didn't get to see light, but is still in a “tendering mode!” , that is after the 1st investor (Pakistani – Chinese – Jordanian alliance of a constructor contractor , steel manufacturer and real estate office respectively ) was rejected after it exceeded the time limit of assuring the needed money twice. The 2nd company taking over this BOT project was a strong Kuwaiti – Spanish alliance that applied their strength in rising up the projects expenses, but also failed twice in assuring the needed money, and thus the project was withdrawn from it by the government, resulting in having a case raised up in an international court, where the government is currently paying this alliance back!

Anyway, On the other hand, the Kuwaitis came up taking a license last year for Al-Momayaz Taxi, to be a quality taxi service with high standards, availability, on demand service, and quality. Especially after the PTRC's failure and what was to be called “The beige taxi” few years back, which happened to be nothing more or less than the yellow ones, and are still roaming our streets just like the yellow cabs.

So, the crisis came, and the modifications started in Al-Momayaz tender! 1st from the time of starting (which was a couple of months late), to the number of cars to start with (the actual start was less than 50 cabs), the type of cars (From 200 Toyota Camrys and 200 Mercedes E200 to 300 Toyota Corollas and 100 Mercedes E200), until the changes in tariffs and making the Mercedes tariff start from 1 JD, though gas prices were much higher and time of contracting!

Anyway, Me personally, as a seeker for quality, didnt have any problem getting into a silver colored Corolla, just like other Corolla cabs roaming around the Jordanian streets and paying extra money just for the sake of quality, quality to be represented with several added value services starting from polite and well trained drivers, with no “sorry that's not my way” excuses, to GPS tracking for the cars, requesting cabs by phone (also assisted by the GPS tracking system to let operators choose the closest car to your location), specified tariffs regardless of the time or destination, and even electronic payment.

When things come to the ground, you can obviously find that those from Al-Momayaz Taxi care about the image, the cars are always clean and tidy from inside and outside as well as their drivers, who are well selected and are professional as well as polite ones. Momayaz Taxi are also making sure to have stationaries at several luxurious hotels and commercial centers around town. But , is that all that is needed by such a service !?

Well, when it comes to the riding experience, Al-Momayaz taxi has new kinds of taxi counters (still not as supposed to be and not up to European standards), but good enough to be clear and give you a receipt with your trip details. And you'd pay just as the counter says, with no extra amounts of money for certain areas like yellow cabs would sometimes do when you tell them you want to go to a place they don't prefer. And al-momayaz drivers accept to stop and wait for you to drop by a shop or something during the trip without any problems, much not like the yellow cab drivers. But when it comes to late night hours (after midnight mainly), several experiences showed up that we still do have the after midnight problem of not sticking to the counter even in the Al-Momayaz Taxi! Either by having the driver telling you short and to the point that this would cost you an X amount of money without running the counter, or even pretending that they forgot to run the counter or close it “By mistake” during the trip!

Now the amount of money asked by them after midnight can be even less than yellow cabs at this time of the night, and pretty equal to how much the counter would count, the only difference is that the driver would get the money for his own pocket, and not for the company's.... when asking the drivers why would they do that, they all answer the same complaining from the Kuwaiti company's administration and their low wages (which is 250 JDs plus commissions by the way). Not that much for a driver who has been driving for at least 3-4 years! And what kind of QOS would come when you give your employees such low wages! It would have been more convenient for the Kuwaitis to give more wages for their drivers than having ads on small dirty and unclear ads boards on the middle of the road!

Last but not least, when it comes to phone requesting the cab, the call center is simply rubbish! I've never, ever been answered until now by the customer service operators! It simply keeps ringing and ringing with no answer even in day time. Now the call center is divided into both, an automated taxi request (which weirdly is not always active !! as sometimes the phone just starts ringing at the operator after you hear a voice that the call is recorded for quality measurement), and a vocal one that keeps ringing with no answer as mentioned earlier. As for the automated request, the menu is kind of boring, with some nonsense questions like (press 1 to have a home taxi request or 2 for an office taxi request). And the fact that the automated request prevents you from specifying a time that is less than 30 mins ahead from your call.

Last but not least, i observed that request operators speak with the drivers regarding the requests through the phone (the tracking device is over GSM and has a phone as well), using a headset, and once i even noticed that the operator has assigned a request to the taxi i was riding with despite the taxi was occupied with my order. The driver was telling the operator that he didn't receive the request and that he is occupied already, a very meaningful conversation that showed up that the tracking system they are using is not that of a magnificent one as it didn't show the taxi was occupied for the operator, nor sent the request correctly.

Taxi Al-Momayaz is a good service to have, but it can be much more better even!

20 April, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episodes 13 & 14

I'm merging both the 13th [ available for download HERE ] & 14th [available for download HERE] episodes together in this report, broadcasted on the 6th and 13th of April respectively, due to the fact that one of them has follow up information for the other. The 14th episode have extra information only about Radio Al-Balad's new programs grid and its details.

Today i have no segment, and i shall be back on the airwaves next week with more news and subjects.

Started the 12th episode with a follow-up for the subject of episode before, with regards to planning the radio frequencies with neighboring countries, that is, as i discussed this subject over a telephone interview with the chief of TRC, Dr. Ahmed Hyasat, who explained the role of the TRC in organizing the coverage of Jordanian Radio stations' frequencies and their coverage, as well as insuring they wouldn't intersect with radio stations from neighboring countries, especially in border areas. In addition to conducting periodic coordination meetings with authorities in neighboring countries to regulate the frequencies and ensure that no interference would be caused neither by Jordanian or foreign radio stations, in addition to having direct communications channels with them in case of having coverage violations, especially violations that exceed border areas in the depth of Jordanian territories.
Dr Hyasat also stated in the interview that both radio stations as well as listeners themselves have a role in detecting such violations and reporting them to the TRC that would care to investigate and make necessary actions for the reported cases.

In my weekly review of the airwaves, I start from Irbid FM, Radio Jordan's local radio station broadcasting on 95.4 FM in irbid area, which has been stopped during this week and without any prior notice or declared reason, and whether this stop is permanent or temporary; how ever, recent news from Radio Jordan Broadcasting stated that this is a temporary stop, as the station will be facing some restructuring in both its employees and programs. Irbid FM is the only local radio station with specific programs targeting residents of the area its covering, and this radio station which started around 16 years ago on 103 FM in irbid area during specific hours on the same frequency of Radio Jordan Broadcasting – Main Service, has reached 7 hours of local broadcasting lately, while the remaining hours Radio Amman FM was broadcasting on this frequency.

Also, the radio station broadcasting on 93.7 FM in Amman, which i mentioned in an earlier episode that its still untitled (except for the RDS name “Nojoum FM”) and whose broadcasting is limited to broadcasting non stop Arabic song for over a year now. We started hearing some changes on it airwaves during this week, as its transmission stopped several times and we now can hear both Arabic and Western music on its airwaves, the station is also no longer entitled as Nojoum FM. This may signify the beginning of an actual beginning for the station soon.

On the other hand, a new station started its broadcasting on 94.9 FM covering the region of Amman, the station was still untitled at the time of preparing and broadcasting the 13th episode, but the week after i followed up and figured out this is the test transmission for Jordan University Radio. The station shall officially start its programs by the end of the month.

While in Karak, Mutah University's Radio station, Sawt Al-Karak, started its test broadcasting on 91.3 FM covering Karak area. The station shall officially start its programs soon as well during next may. Being a community radio serving the local area and community.

Moving further to reviewing what was on the running stations airwaves, i start from Friday 3-4-2009, in which, as the friday before and each and every friday, Radio Sawt Al-Madina was pretty busy with its special program and live transmission from one of Amman's cafes to follow and promote for the Jordanian participants in the reality TV & musical program “Star Academy”, with a lot of people on location, and even some of the program's stars from previous years, Sawt Al-Madina made a unique action for this program and among its fans and followers in jordan.

While on Beat FM, the Jordanian English speaking CHR radio, Beat FM had broken the CHR barriers with a 1st of April fool, as it broadcasted old Arabic songs on its airwaves! Not any songs, but those from old cartoon series translated in Arabic, and which we used to follow when we were little kids back in time. Those cartoon songs were presented within Beat FM's special promotion for “Fresh New Beats” :) ... 2 of those promotions are included in the 13th episode.

On the other hand, Radio Al-Balad had also broken the barriers, by having western music, more specifically Rock and Metal music starting to be aired on its airwaves through a specialized show entitled “Rock with Ghassan”. This programs comes as part of Radio Al-Balad's new programs grid which began on Saturday 4-4-2009. the show which comes out every Thursday from 7.30 PM is now the 4th of a kind, after Beat FM's, Spin Jordan's and Radio Jordan's rock shows. [show promotion attached]

also in this new programs grid, several shows got introduced on Radio Al-Balad, like “Sa7ebat al-qarar”, a legal information show for women, “Made in Jordan”, yet another sport program called “Mala3eb Ordoniah” and a come back for the cultural show “bera2e7at al-qahwa”.

One of the good things in this new programs grid (as radio al-balad changes its programs grid several times a year being a community radio), is the fact that most of the major shows are still on their same air times and days. And this is a good step, as changing the programs timing continuously makes the station loose listenership, due to the fact that a lot of listeners may stop listening to the radio station as their favorite shows get changes in times (maybe now you might know why most the commercial stations have the same programs and timings since they were lunched).

Indeed, sometimes the change is needed if there are fatal mistakes in the programming, at that case, re-programming [content and timing] are more of a need. An example of that was the dramatic changes in the programs grid on radio al-balad at the beginning of the year.

14 April, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 12

This episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenThis episode, aired on the 30th of march, was more of a rumble, about the impact of having Jordanian radio stations covering all the places throughout Jordan, and the media role of radio station in delivering the information to citizens through its airwaves, regardless of the main objective of these radios.

Taking as an example the transition to daylight summertime over that weekend and the participation of Jordan in the earth hour initiative, plenty of people did not got information on these “announcement” properly or clear enough, or not even at all maybe! Despite the fact of having all those radio stations populating the airwaves, & despite the high claimed listenership of radios. Which is an entertainment and media mean that is completely free and can be made available through the simplest ways and devices, without the need of having to current electricity even.

As the options went multiple for the listeners, people are no longer depending on the official state radio, or news radio stations to obtain information and entertainment. Thus, to ensure that the examples mentioned above of information would reach to the entire nations, Radio stations, regardless of their different types and genres, should stay apart from the formal nature in the provision of those kind of information. What would stop entertainment radio station (be it that they broadcast news bulletins or not) from playing a simple and inexpensive media role, by providing through its usual entertaining programs such sorts of simple information that would be of an interest to the whole nation in an informal and smooth way, ensure it would be reachable for all sorts of people. This may be the minimal media role radio stations can do for people, and this is for sure a responsibility for those radio stations against the airwaves they broadcast in.

Of course, the impact of having Jordanian radio stations covering different regions across the kingdom is much reflected on the reliability of the local media and dependency of people to obtain their information from the Jordanian media instead of neighboring countries media, and therefore gives an impact on the delivery of direct information concerning the citizens of these areas.

We might be now in a good situation as far as radio coverage is concerned in comparison with several years back, that is, as Radio Fann FM is covering all areas in Jordan throughout 11 radio frequencies, and is even covering more areas that the official state-owned Radio Jordan stations across the FM dial. Which puts on Fann FM - owned the Jordanian armed forces – big responsibility in serving the people in areas where no other radio stations reach, especially areas like Al-Karak , Al-Azraq, and Al Ruweished to the East from Mafraq.

Before this revolution on the airwaves, there were many areas across the Kingdom, especially border areas, whose residents used to depend on radio stations from neighboring countries. One good example is Irbid in the North,as at the time there were no jordanian radio stations covering that region, while southern Lebanon was occupied and no FM radio stations were available in Syria, so the only option for the residents of that area was Radio Israel Arabic service, as well as some of the Arab Israelis owned radio stations. This was for sure a case that is not to be accepted neither by officials nor the public. and although Jordanian radio station's frequencies has increased and reached over 15 in irbid area, those compete now with many radio stations from the neighboring three countries.

This issue of having Jordanian radio stations covering jordan and having them as a primary source of information for Jordanians across jordan may require efforts from both the AVC and TRC, to encourage opening radio stations in various regions of the country especially border area, be it local radio stations or frequencies for Jordanian radio stations broadcasting in other areas of the country.

Also, planning frequencies with neighboring countries should be a high responsibility for both the AVC and TRC, especially with regard to radios from neighboring countries broadcasting through the depth of Jordanian territories, and beyond the border areas, such as the Saudi Quran Radio broadcasting on 91.7 FM and covering wide areas that reach even to Jerash and Ajloun areas, and the official Syrian radio stations that reach even to the capital Amman on several frequencies such as 100.9 FM and 92.6 FM affecting even some Jordanian radio station's broadcasting in northern jordan (Watan FM on 92.7 FM), and the capital (Radio Al-Balad 92.4 FM)

08 April, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Jordan University Radio on 94.9 FM

Jordan University Radio started its test transmission on 94.9 FM covering Amman Greater Area.

The Radio station, which will be more of a cultural-political "students radio", will be starting officially soon, and the moment of writing this post, only Classic Music is being aired on its airwaves.

Radio Guide Update: Sawt Al-Karak on 91.3 FM

Two days ago, Sawt Al-Karak, which is Mutah University's Radio, started its test broadcasting on 91.3 FM for the Karak region.

The local radio station, owned by the university, will be more of a community radio for Al-Karak region, which misses any other radio station on its airwaves except for Fann FM. and is scheduled to officially launch its programs soon during May.

05 April, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 11

This episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenThis episode, aired on March 23rd (sorry for the late publishing), was mainly oriented towards reviewing what was on the Jordanian airwaves in the previous period, in which i had more specific subjects to talk about in my radio segment.

Starting from radio Ayyam FM. Where the radio comedian Nadeem Sarraj, famous for quite a while now for his comedy character "Rajee Dwara" in the funny sketches of “Nakshet Mokh” on Mazaj FM, Nadeem now became part of Ayyam FM's airwaves starting mid February 2009, with a new radio comedy show entitled "Etla3 Men Rasee" and with a new character names "Dr Refa'at" doing phone pranks with all sorts of people.

On March 1st, Radio Jordan Broadcasting celebrated its 50th anniversary, of launching Radio Jordan Broadcasting from its current location in Um Alhairan. Although the history of Radio Jordan goes back to 1948 when it was located in Ramallah, and this was declared officially by the Jordanian Parliament to be the official Jordanian radio station in 1950. while the radio presence in Amman wasn't until 1956 when a subsidiary station was opened in Amman under the name of "Radio Amman" and used to broadcast for no more than 8 hours a day from a building in Jabal Al - Hussein. However, the launch from Um Alhairan in 1959 was the point of switch to Radio Jordan to the concept of modern state radio, as it had their an independent modern building equipped with several studios, sound engineering rooms, news editing rooms.. etc , in addition to the co-opening of a broadcasting antenna and station in the area near Naour bridge. Radio Jordan Broadcasting is of course still evolving, and currently operates several radio stations as well as several radio frequencies, which are not limited to the FM frequencies we might know throughout Jordan, but with also several frequencies via which Radio Jordan broadcasts through the short waves, enabling it to reach all around the world from Al-Harraneh Antenna station near Queen Alia Airport.

Also on the 1st March, the cold wave that brought in snow to the kingdom, had its effect on the radio programming as well, but unfortunately, not on all the radio stations. Many radio station didn't give attention at all even to it, like if they are broadcasting in another country!!!! On the contrary were Radio Fann FM (which even postponed a prepared subject for that days episode of Al-Wakeel's morning show) , Amen FM (which of course kept following up the situation of all the roads in the kingdom with up to date information), and Play FM, which had a good interaction with the listeners about it, and was even announcing for example the universities that had stopped their lectures for that day or postponed them like other radio stations.

Moving to 4 March 2009, when we have witnessed across the Jordanian airwaves a nice experience of unifying two stations broadcasts, that are, Radio Al-balad, and Radio Arabisc in Damascus, through a joint program speaking about therapist tourism of both countries and with the participation of radio announcers from both station in a live broadcasting. This program will continue on monthly basis on both stations, on the first Wednesday of every month at 10 PM.

Also, starting earlier this month, with the announcement of HM Queen Rania's initiative of "Ahel Al-Himmeh", we started listening to announcements and promotions of this initiative through the airwaves of all radio stations. This for sure demonstrates the importance of the radio media sector, and its power of reaching the message directly and smoothly to all sorts of people where-ever they are. [The Promotion attached]

Of course, we can't wrap this review, without reviewing what we had on the Jordanian airwaves for mother's day, which was more of a “Mother's week” on the Jordanian radio stations, due to their huge interaction with this occasion over an entire week. This started with Radio Sawt alghad, which held a big festive event & contest starting Friday 13-3-2009 over 3 consecutive days in City Mall. The contest was in a form of a race between the mothers in performing home work cleaning, and with the participation of several sponsors and companies who had gifts for the participating mothers. Sawt Al-Ghad didn't stop there, as it had quite a big concentration on this occasion throughout its programs across that week, as well as on most of the radio stations, that came up with all sorts of prizes and contests for this occasion, with gifts reaching even to the value of 1000 JDs like we had on Energy FM.

Also, several radio stations had special programs that went on their airwaves for this occasion, and even on mother's day it self, Saturday 21-3-2009, as we had on Watan FM, Ayyam FM, and Radio Jordan English Service.

But maybe, the most notable special show, was the special episode from Al-Wakeel's morning show on Radio Fann FM, aired on Thursday 19-3-2009 and replayed on Saturday. The show was more of an emotional and humanitarian one, as the the program's team had researched and investigated to host 10 mothers that have been, and still, struggle in this life as mothers to cope with their difficult lives with their families and children. The show presenter Mohammad Al-Wakeel reviewed their cases on the air and rewarded them on this occasion. In addition of course to the usual interaction from individuals and different institutes for their cases. [Different segments recordings from the show attached].
Radio Sawt Al-Madina also had a special program for this occasion during mother's day, but was quite a different one, as it was hosted by the guys from "3alarasi.com" , which we have been hearing a lot lately on Sawt Al-Madina, making it more of a comedy and funny show on this occasion, as one of their mothers was also co-hosting the show with them, and had a nice interactive touch on the show.

Last but not least, Spin Jordan had showed again its creativity and high quality of production on this occasion, as it had a small nice, comic, and yet realistic promotion on this occasion playing on its airwaves all over the week. [Promotion attached].

28 March, 2009

Earth Hour in Jordan, the unclear message!

Lights off,AC off,Laptop on Battery mode, just the network line in to work and listen to the rockout on Spin Jordan :D .. its Earth Hour!

This is the way i contributed for the past 60 minutes for Earth Hours 2009 while being at work in a dark 4 walls no windows room in which i'm writing this at the moment.. Earth Hour 2009 in which Jordan had participated this year, with lights going off in several main streets, like: Gardens, Thaqafe, Mecca Street, Zahran, Istiklal, Queen Alia, and others. As well as all the main squares in the capital Amman, and all the official governmental offices & ministries (which are already closed at this time, especially in a weekend!). In addition to a candles walk toward wild jordan in Jabal Amman...all backed by the Ministry of Environment and the GAM.

So fine so far, but the unfine thing, is how much propaganda people do about it and about the objectives behind that...! from what i've seen until now and witnessed, i officially declare that the objectives of this initiative didn't reach for most Jordanians, particularly ammanites in my witnesses case!!!!

That is, because i, as well as several colleagues of mine, we have witnessed a lot of people chitchating on the street, even just minutes before earlier around 8 PM, that all the government will CUT OFF the electricity today at 8.30 PM in the whole Amman!!! this is what people got from it! Yes! Without caring to know why, what, how! Or even if they got the message correctly!

That even included the guys in the company in which i work, and whom have sent an IT Department guy to turn off all our severs resources!!!! until we have convinced him not to! After we cleared out the message to him and his manager via phone.

Now thats a big question mark! Is the mass media in our country weak enough, or are the people just propagandists, or both!!! in all cases, this is something that needs to be solved!

Anyway, more about earth hour from fellow jordanian bloggers:
Naseem Tarawneh
Farah Nimri

22 March, 2009

Jordanian Radio Ratings 2008 - My Radio Segment Episode,Episode 10

This week's episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenThis week's radio segment tackled IREX Jordan's Media survey, and particularly the Radio Section of the survey about Jordan Radio Ratings for the year 2008.

I have tackled in a post last year this time IREX Jordan's survey for the Jordanian Radio Ratings for the year 2007.

1st of all, to make things clear, the study considers to survey results:
Listenership for a period of 30 days from the survey: This would show the general listenership for radio, and what the surveyed had listened to within month.
Listenership for a period of 1 days prior to the survey: This would show the loyalty of listening to radio or to a specific radio station.

On the general level, and surprisingly, the radio listenership regardless of the station listened to, has DROPPED in 2008! regardless of the fact that the number of radio stations and frequencies covering the kingdom with radio transmission had increased! As 45.9% used to listen on daily basis to radio in 2007, the number has dropped to 43.7% only in 2008! and amazingly more, the big drop was in the youth of ages 15-29, from which less than 45.9% are listening to radio now, after the listenership percentage was 54.3% last year among them!

An almost 8.5% drop among the group mostly targeted on in our Jordanian radio stations. Are the Jordanian youth getting board of the copycats among Jordanian Radio Stations, where creativity seems to be stopping, and where most of the radio stations just trying to copy each other with a show or 2 on the air, and leave the rest to computers randomly shuffling music that you can heard on several other competitive radio station, or simply, pirated from the internet and played on your car radio or headset using an MP3 player, nothing more, nothing less.

Aren't Jordanian Radio stations thinking seriously about MP3 players, MP3 car modulators, Internet radio, and even TV and DVDs as competitors?! If they aren't then ... WRONG ANSWER! THINK AGAIN .... competition is not only about what other radio stations are playing or doing, and its not only about attracting another stations' listeners... its more over to getting those who don't listen to radio, never did, or quited doing so, back to listen to the airwaves through your radio station. Otherwise, we will just have 100 radio stations with 10% of the population listening to them! And out of a sudden we will have only 5 radio stations owned by the government on the airwaves after the rest of them get shut down! Not a happy ending in my imagination!

For the time being, the sector is still in a good shape, and the best in the Jordanian media scene with 67.8% of listenership within 30 days from the survey, much more exceeding newspapers (30.45%), magazines(8.45%).

The study included this year the way & place of listening to radio. One of the interesting things was that the study showed that just under 20% of the people listen to radio through Mobile phones that have FM receivers. The majority of those (over 60%) are youth, mostly school or university students, as this is their primary entertainment mean while being on the way from and to their universities/schools, or between the classes. On the other hand, listening to Jordanian radio stations via the internet didn't exceed 6.6%, as online broadcasting is more used by Jordanian abroad that jordnaians in jordan who can receive the stations via the FM. As for places where radio is mostly listen to, home was the biggest rate with 55.2% (with a big rate of house wives) followed by cars with just under 35%, at work 7.6% and 2.6% while moving by bus.

Before starting to review the radio ratings. And since there has been some debate about this study with regards to the written media and online media. And from my own point of view, i don't have any comments on it as far as the results are concerned, and i think the results show up a real view for the situation of the Jordanian airwaves. But i rather have some comments related to the “Radio Industry knowledge”!

1st of all, The study, or the people behind it, seem to have forgotten some radio stations! Sunny 105.1 FM wasn't mentioned though it was 7 months old at the time of the survey, nor Hawa Amman Radio (The GAM's radio) which has been on air for the same period. Also, both Yarmouk FM and Sawt New Maan weren't either mentioned nor given a rate though the study covered all Jordanian cities including Maan and Irbid! Even if some of those radio stations would have got 0.0% (which is impossible I guess!), they should have been mentioned with this result..

Also, the names of some radio stations or frequencies got some mistakes, just like Radio Al-Balad, which is still mentioned in the study as AmmanNet FM, and Sawt Al-Madina, whose frequency is 88.7 FM and not 88.5 FM (which was just a testing frequency before the official lunch of the station).

And not to forget, the stations belonging to Radio Jordan Broadcasting Corporation are a bit messed up. So apart from Amman FM, The Main Program is put in the survey as Jordan AM and Jordan FM 88 Mhz, which is actually the same radio station (as the main program), and it has AM frequencies as well as FM frequencies, and the FM frequencies in Amman for the Main Program of Radio Jordan Broadcasting has been changed to 90.0 FM and 106.7 FM for over a year now, and Amman FM is being broadcasted on 88.0 FM as 99.0 FM.

Anyway, here are the rating results according to the survey. Followed by some of my comments on them.

Radio Ratings Results for a period of 30 days from the survey:
1.Fann FM (49.5 %)
2.Quran Radio (44.9 % )
3.Amman FM (31.4 %)
4.Radio Amen FM (25.9 %)
5.Radio Rotana (25.3 %)
6.Hayat FM (18.0 %)
7.Radio Jordan Broadcasting – The Main Program (17.8 %)
8.Mazaj FM (14.5 %)
9.Sawt Al-Ghad (8.4 %)
10.Melody FM (7.5 %)
11.Watan FM (7.5 %)
12.Radio Sawt Al-Madina (5.2 %)
13.Radio Jordan English Service - 96.3 FM (3.1 %)
14.Radio Al-Balad (3.1 %)
15.Radio Farah Al-Nas (2.9 %)
16.Radio Jordan Broadcasting, The Main Program, through the FM (2.6 %)
17.Ayyam FM (2.4 %)
18.Mood FM (1.8 %)
19.Play FM (1.8 %)
20.Ahlen FM (1.8 %)
21.Beat FM (1.6 %)
22.Energy FM (0.9 %)
23.Spin FM (0.8 %)

Radio Ratings Results for the day prior to the survey: (Loyalty Ratings)
1.Fann FM (23.1 %)
2.Quran Radio (19.7 % )
3.Radio Amen FM (9.5 %)
4.Radio Rotana (9.3 %)
5.Amman FM (9.1 %)
6.Radio Jordan Broadcasting – The Main Program (7.0 %)
7.Hayat FM (5.1 %)
8.Mazaj FM (4.9 %)
9.Melody FM (2.1 %)
10.Radio Sawt Al-Madina (1.9 %)
11.Watan FM (1.8 %)
12.Radio Sawt Al-Madina (1.3 %)
13.Radio Jordan English Service - 96.3 FM (1.3 %)
14.Radio Jordan Broadcasting, The Main Program, through the FM (1.0 %)
15.Radio Al-Balad (0.8 %)
16.Radio Farah Al-Nas (0.8 %)
17.Play FM (0.8 %)
18.Beat FM (0.8 %)
19.Ayyam FM (0.7 %)
20.Mood FM (0.6 %)
21.Energy FM (0.5 %)
22.Spin FM (0.4 %)
23.Ahlen FM (0.4 %)

Fann FM is still on TOP! And is still getting advantage of the full coverage through its 11 frequencies to beat even the official state owned radio station. And Quran FM (with all its 3 local frequencies) is still second, regardless of the fact that Hayat FM (the only private religious radio) is trying to attract many listeners with its variety religious programs along with quran and ad'ieah, but despite the fact Hayat FM's listenership increased, its still less the quarter from Quran FM.

With a big increase from last year, Radio Amen FM is pretty notable now on the scene, the good programming according to the station's objectives, as well as the opening of 2 new frequencies were much of a help in having this big rating. And all of us know how much this station is famous against the taxi and bus drivers, since its becoming their road assistant on the ways around jordan.

The Jordanian Broadcasting Corporation's radio stations are still in a good shape. So Amman FM for example is still a big competitor against commercial FM stations. And Radio Jordan Broadcasting – The Main Program is still with the same ratings from last year (when adding both FM and AM ratings), and is still doing pretty well in the early morning hours.

On the other hand, when looking at English speaking / western music radio stations, we can notice how low ratings they have, despite all the competition they have between them, but even Radio Jordan – English Service is doing better than them with way too much! Yes! 4 CHR radios and 2 AC Radios as well as Ahlen FM (which went off earlier this year), couldn't any of them get even close enough to RJ 96.3 FM. This might show that the re-programming and re-orientation of Radio Jordan English Service was much of a good step (though its not yet as complete as it should be). But! There you go! They have beaten our fancy CHR radios! And is doing even better than some Arabic radio station.

But Anyway, those commercial english speaking radio stations are doing much better this year than the year before, even with double or more than last year's ratings on the “loyalty rating scale”. Which might mean that those stations are attracting people either from those listening to Arabic stations or from totally non-radio fan people to listen to them. Which is pretty good!

Play FM and Beat FM are competing hardly on top of the CHR radio rating when it comes to daily listeners to them, and they have even beaten Mood FM, which was beating both of them last year. But an interesting observation is that Ahlen FM had as high monthly rating as Play and Mood FM! And was doing pretty much well to shutdown several weeks ago!!! though it didn't had that much loyal listeners.

Taking a look over the ratings of the stations lunched in 2008 (& mentioned in the survey) for a period of 30 days prior (since you can't judge they have gathered enough loyal listeners, especially that some of them were lunched just 2 months before the survey) . [Farah Al-Nas, Ayyam FM, Energy FM, Spin FM] ... I consider them doing pretty good! And with good potentials to raise to better ratings during 2009.

Another interesting chart that can be found in the survey is this ...

You can just see how the pattern of attracting listeners change along the day.
Notice how Radio Jordan Broadcasting – Main Service and Fann FM are attracting most of their listeners in the morning. And how during housewives peak listenership stations that have shows in those times like Amman FM, Hayat FM, Quran Radio, Sawt Al-Ghad are attracting this type of listeners who are making more than half of the listeners at this time in the day. (a good re-thinking point for those stations thinking they are attracting housewives and females in generals, while having the 10 AM – 3 PM time slot empty!). Notice also how the changes in the evening hours (the preferred listening hours for youth according to this survey, as over 43-51% from the listeners after 6 PM are under 24!) turn to be concentrated on Melody, Sawt Al-Ghad and Mazaj FM. Yet another message for the stations trying to attract youth, and with empty programming or “let the computer shuffle the music” after 6 PM policies ... while those times are mainly considered study times for students in schools or on campus, those times are preferred by them for listening to the radio. Things get interesting enough when seeing in this survey that those 3 stations for example are doing better in the overnight period (9 PM – 6 AM) than the drive back period (in which 2 of them have extensively famous shows! ).

08 March, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 9

This week's episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenJust like last week, this week's episode continued the review of Jordanian radio station's websites.

We Start this week from the radio stations that provide celebrity news and all sort of gossip and light news through their website, Sawt El-Ghad's website (www.sawtelghad.fm ) provides up to date celebrity news for its visitors, pretty similar to its “Al-Ghad news” that goes through its airwaves. That is, along with pretty good content about the station, its programs and radio announcers, throughout a nice and simple website. Maybe the only bad thing about it is the similarity of the URL address with Sawt El-Ghad lebanon, whose website is (www.sawtelghad.com ).

On the other side, Radio Sawt Al-Madina had tried, after a while of having its website not updated, to remake the website, and add a section for the celebrity news and gossip, along with the details about the radio station and its programs, as well as introduce a new address leading to it, that is (www.887.fm). But unfortunately, seems the dynamicity of Sawt Al-Madina and its programs on the airwaves do not match the dynamicity of its website, as the website hasn't been updated since it was redeveloped.

Whilst, news and gossip content are not that much updated either through Ayyam FM's website (www.ayyamfm.jo), whose design and colors are pretty much compatible with the station's logo, and the website do still has a lot of empty pages, and even some with rubbish characters in it. But the transmission throughout the website is of a very high 128 kpbs quality, and it can be heard for the user without the need of having any special software or codics installed on that client's machine as most of the other radio station's transmissions, since it's being done using the Flash technology from within the user's browser.

Same broadcasting technology is being used by the sister radio station, Spin FM through its website(www.spin.jo), the website is also pretty similar to Ayyam FM's in the layout, but when it comes to content, Spin FM's website is very rich and regularly updated with all sorts of news and gossip, and even some internal affair news that can be political (alrabie demonstrations during the last attack on gaza are an example). That is, along with a detailed description about the station, its programs, radio announcers and DJs, as well as an up to date review of the latest music albums, movies, video games. And even a list of the latest music that is being aired on Spin FM's airwaves that can be listened to through the website and rated, and Spin FM truly increases or decreases the frequency of airplay for those songs depending on the rating done by its listeners through the website. And not to forget that the website provides a way to communicate with the DJ being on duty at the moment and request a song from him/her. But maybe the only annoying thing is the website's font inconsistency in a lot of its pages, the visitor can even find several types and sizes of fonts within the same page!

The visitor of Play FM's website, www.play.jo, wil be also able to listen to some of the latest music that is being played on its airwaves. The website is very neat and all its sections are updated continuously, from weather to the events calendar. And the fact that Play FM has a blog in its website is also a big plus, and a one of a kind way (between the Jordanian radio stations) of communicating with the station's listeners, especially throughout the ability to comment on the posts, as its the only station the has a blog in jordan, as well as the only one that has a youtube channel. And the interaction would have been even higher if the blog was assisted by an RSS feed as well.

Rich and regularly updated content, ranging from celebrity news to the latest releases in music and movies, as well as a very nice and compliant website design with the station's logo can be found in Beat FM's website (www.mybeat.fm). The website is indeed an addition to the competency between those 3 lately mentioned CHR radio stations, which seem to have extended the competition between them beyond the FM airwaves over to the web as well, leaving behind all the other Arabic radio stations.

Mood FM as well has a nice website and up to this competency i've mentioned earlier, and one that can be even modified by the user according to his preferences, all of this can be found on www.mood.fm, along with the possibility to know the song and singer of the track currently played on the airwaves of mood fm, that is in addition to several pages that include the latest releases, variety news, and the possibility to contact the current DJ and request a song.

Mazaj FM's website is also capable of showing its visitor the song and singer of the current track, but this is probably the only thing working in the website, www.mazajfm.com ... the website is very old and completely out of date, but fortunately, it has a forum through which one can register and discuss several issues, being the only website with a forum in it.

Hayat FM's website, www.hayat.fm is on the other hand very regular and has enough useful content about the station and its programs, in addition to the live broadcasting.

On the contrary, we find Radio Farah Al-nas's website, www.farahalnas.jo, it only has the station's logo, and indication that the website is still under construction, and the live broadcasting starts up along with the website, which can be very annoying for the users.

Amen FM's website (www.amenfm.jo) as well is still under construction, as all its sections are disabled, but it seems that there is a plan to have several useful pages and services through the website when its development will end, that is, in addition to the live broadcasting link.

Last but not least, Yarmouk FM, Sawt Maan Al-Jadeeda, and Hawa Amman Radio do not have websites. The links in Yarmouk University and King Hussein University website for Yarmouk FM, Sawt Maan Al-Jadeeda respectively lead the user to a brochure about the station. While the link for Hawa Amman Radio in the GAM's website lead to the live broadcasting streaming.

As you might have mentioned, i excluded from this review the websites of non Jordanian radio broadcasting in jordan, namely BBC Arabic and their website (www.bbcarabic.com) and RMC international and their website (www.rmc-mo.com). As those are very rich and powerful websites in both content and structure, and no Jordanian websites are to be compared to them, except maybe for Radio al-balad's.

Its also interesting to mention that most of the websites don't belong to the .jo domain, for reasons that i personally don't know, but indeed the complexity and extensive costs of getting a .jo domain are indeed part of that.

This week, tomorrow that is, there will be no episode, but next Monday March the 16th , i will be reviewing IREX Jordan's media survey, and review the Jordanian Radio Station's 2008 rating results.

01 March, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 8

This week's episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenThis week's episode (Actually last week's, as i have published this on my blog late enough that i'm already recording the 9th episode now!), as well as next week's episode (tomorrow's) will discuss the web sites of radio stations broadcasting over the Jordanian airwaves. Since the radio industry is going these days beyond the limitations of the airwaves over the FM dial, for a world with larger potentials and competition over the world wide web. That is, since on the internet there are thousands or tens of thousands of radio stations in various languages, broadcasting various genres of music and topics, from all around the world. And most of these stations do not broadcast over the airwaves, and behind them stand individuals and not companies or institutions, as with limited and simple costs, and with creative ideas and some technicalities, anyone can establish an Internet radio station and website.

Radio stations benefit from their presence on the Internet. As along with broadcasting across the network to have anyone around the world being able to listen to the station, the radio station's website is an important mean of communication between the Radio and its listeners, and can be considered a primary information reference about the station's programs and broadcasting times, and even the content of these programs. Broadcasters can also exploit their websites to provide additional added services to listeners. And even supply content that it cannot or is not licensed to be provided through the airwaves.

For the Jordanian radio stations, Radio Al-Balad may be considered a model and probably the most sophisticated radio with presence over the Internet. This is due to the fact that the radio started broadcasting the Internet through (www.ammannet.net) with the name of AmmanNet before even granting radio broadcasting licenses in jordan for private Jordanian radio stations. And continued developing its website even after starting broadcasting on the FM airwaves, and even after changing the name to Radio Al-Balad.

Radio Al-Balad provides through its website www.ammannet.net archived episodes of all its programs as well as all the news reports, in both text and recorded format. In addition to detailed live news content, and the possibility to comment on these news and programs. The site also provides a number of blogs for several of its own radio announcers, where they express their views and lives. But the only thing that might be disturbing, is the current difference between the radio naming “Radio Al-Balad” after changing its name, and the website that remained as it is when it comes to the URL through which it's accessed.

The Jordanian Broadcasting Corporation and in all divisions, Vemoqaha site is part of the Radio and Television www.jrtv.jo and more overlap with the location of the Jordanian state television. And most of the pages and links, although I have said it before, either empty or contain outdated information.

The Radio Fann FM on the other hand has a simple but nice website, in which details about its radio programs and communicating with them. But the site is relatively old, as we can find details about programs that went off the air for nearly two years now. Radio Fann FM is a pioneer in broadcasting, as it was until not so long the only Jordanian station broadcasting with a sound quality of 128 Kbps, and one that matches the sound on the FM band, the website www.radiofann.com also offers the ability to watch the radio announcers and DJs working in the studio Live through the web camera installed in their studios.

The same technique of broadcasting using a web cam can be found on Radio Rotana's website. Which is actually part of the Rotana network website www.rotana.net, making it hard to access the radio station's website directly, which contains information and details about all the network's radio stations and not only Radio Rotana Jordan. But choosing Rotana Jordan in the transmission section will enable the user to listen live through several techniques, whether with different degrees of sound quality, or through the webcams from the station's studios.

The Web Cam technology is also available to listeners of Energy FM, which is managed and operated by the same company, Al-Kawn Media. Through the website www.radioenergy.fm, but the site is currently empty and has been under construction for more than 10 months now, the age of the site and the radio station, and the user will not find more than the station's logo on the homepage in addition to the transmission link.

The same situation will face the browser of Sunny FM's website, www.sunny.jo The site is also limited to a home page containing the station's logo and a link to listen to the live broadcasting.

Last but not least, Watan FM has a website (www.watanonline.net) that is somehow confusing for the visitor, it still includes old pages with old information about the station and its programs, which radically changed since awhile after the station's radio programs were changes, especially after the news that the owners of the station have changed. At the same time, new information about the new programs can also be found in the site along with the old ones, and not to forget, there are several empty pages and inactive links.

The remaining radio stations' websites review will follow, in this week's episode.

Remember that you can contribute too, and send in your comments, feedback and any radio observations on radio@ammannet.net

23 February, 2009

How Jordanian Radio stations stand against the web revolution!

How Jordanian Radio stations stand against the web revolution!

This question is raised and discussed in today's episode of my radio segment, as well next week's. Broadcasted monday morning , at 10.30 AM throughout the show "Eye on Media" on Radio Al-Balad 92.4 FM

The episodes will be also available through my blog later in the week.

I need to know your opinions about the Jordanian radio stations websites. what do you think about them, who's hot, and who's not on the web! other than the airwaves, and are they up to the competition against 1000s of radio stations on the web?

18 February, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 7

This week's episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenI was kind of confused whether to cover what most of the Jordanian Radio stations had done on the occasion of the Valentine's day during the past week, as most of them had huge notable interaction with the occasion throughout competitions and prices, special show and special segments within usual shows for this occasion, and even the variety of music was carefully selected for this occasion. But, I canceled all my plans to talk about this as i heard Sawt Al-Madina's “Anti Valentine Show” on the valentine day it self, Saturday the 14th of February 2009, with which Radio Sawt Al-Madina broke the rules with this show which was prepared and presented by Muhannad Al-Shahwan along with the guys behind the comedian comics website, 3alarasi.com, the show discussed in a comedian way the idea of celebrating this occasion, and interacted with people about it, who in return had huge interaction with the show in away that even lead to extend the 2 hours proposed for the show. [sound recording attached]

On the sector's news, Virgin Radio officially started campaigning for its radio station in Jordan. After over a year of rumors about Virgin Radio getting into the sector in Jordan, they finally did show it for the public, through a store that it seems to have rented at City Mall Amman, that is being prepared for something we don't know yet, and has on its facade the logo of the station, and a statement that Virgin Radio Jordan is coming soon on the airwaves.
What Virgin seems to do, is what i have talked about a couple of episodes ago, that is, a radio shop to intercommunicate with its listeners and attract the public to it.

For the people into Rock Music, from now on they will be able to choose and decide! As we are having more rock shows in town! After long years of exclusivity in playing this genre of music only on the airwaves of Radio Jordan's English Service, whose Rock Show was even put on hold several times due to unknown reasons, with gossips relating it to several law breaking incidents for people taking some sorts of Rock Music as a sign for their illegal actions. This entire exclusivity has broke up last year with Beat FM's Rock N Jordan, and now with Spin FM's new rock show that airs on Saturdays 7 – 10 PM.

From time to time, I will be introducing you to one of the radio stations on the Jordanian airwaves within my segment. And since we had kind of started this already a couple of weeks ago when we have talked about Melody FM Jordan, when I have spoken to its CEO, this we week i talked about Radio Sawt Al-Madina.

Sawt Al-Madina, owned by Al-Baddad Holding Group, started its test transmission in March 2007 on 88.5 FM, and later in April of the same year lunched its transmission officially on the frequency of 88.7 FM in the Greater Amman Area. After Al-Baddad group had already started its way in the media field with a weekly free newspaper. The group is also planning to lunch a radio and TV production company, as well as package of TV stations.

The station got its license from the AVC as a political , conversational, and entertainment radio station, targeting with that all sorts of people, starting from Youth and students, to women and business men, and Families in general. As this station is known for its dynamism and variety in its shows, and for depending on the strategy of show-audience-targets rather than having a station-audience-target. Thus, beside hour by hour news, as well as political debates and reports and special news coverages, the station has various sets of programs with different targets, and a big variety in them, their objectives, scopes, and even music. And we can even hear some western hit music in some the shows, something that is not that usual on similar Arabic stations in the Jordanian airwaves.

Last but not least, its worth mentioning the radio Sawt Al-Madina broadcasts through its frequency 88.7 FM for the areas of the Greater Amman Area, Zarqa, Salt, and Madaba. The strong transmission also reaches to regions in Karak, Jerash, and Mafraq.

Remember that you can contribute too, and send in your comments, feedback and any radio observations on radio@ammannet.net

and note that this segment is being replayed Wednesdays at 4 PM now, beside the basic airplay time, Mondays at 10.30 AM.

17 February, 2009

Blogging Arabia: From Obscurity to Community

The Canadian Embassy and itoot.com invite bloggers in Amman to attend a public lecture by Canadian Professor and Arab Media Expert Adel Iskandar entitled:
"Blogging Arabia: From Obscurity to Community"
at the City Chamber Council at the Greater Amman Municipality on Thursday 19th February at 6:00 pm.

information at : 0799992972

11 February, 2009

Virgin Radio Amman ... Coming Soon! even in the Mall!

Update: Virgin Radio Jordan is on 93.7 FM

I 1st heard the news of Virgin Radio coming to Jordan exactly 1 year from now in February 2008, from a source that used to work with the Virgin Empire. and heard all sorts of ups and down, this and that, chit and chat about it. a couple of things were only confirmed to me, that its coming, and it has nothing to do with ARN the operators of Virgin radio in Dubai.

Finally, Last week we started seeing an existence for Virgin Radio in Jordan , more specifically in City Mall!

This is near the northern entrance of the mall, one empty shop has this on its facade, as if its being prepared to open "Soon, a bright star will rock Jordan" Virgin Radio.

Virgin Radio seem to be coming to jordan with a concept i just discussed in my last week's segment, that is Radio Shops, as it would be made obvious by this shop.

Now i heard that Virgin Radio will be "Yet another CHR station" in Jordan. I still hope not, as the current 4 are more than enough. its like if they are all out of styles! but regardless of that, they are coming closer and closer to the public, and this shop will be a proof!

Note that according to the information i gathered until now, this shop has nothing to do with the Virgin Megastore meters away, as that one owned by Azadea Group.

10 February, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 6

This week's episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenAs promised in a previous episode, this episode will be widely take into consideration the Universities radio stations, but before that, here's what we had on the Jordanian airwaves during the past week:

We start from several activities by a couple of Jordanian radio stations to support the people of Gaza. Mazaj FM's event, which was a political-comedy play by a group of Palestinian artists entitled “Gaza – Ramallah” was held last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 5,6, & respectively 7 February 2009, and had the revenues of this event collected for Gaza through “Tkyet Um Ali” foundation's campaign. & Mazaj FM had promotions for this event for the entire week on its airwaves. Another event is Sunny FM's poetry night with the Palestinian poet, Suhair Hammad, that is to be held on February 17th. This is the 2nd activity for Modern Media Co after the successful one held by Play 99.6 for this cause, and which was mentioned in several episodes of this segment [event announcement recording attached].

On the Jordanian Airwaves, Friday 6-2-2009 was probably the most notable one on the Jordanian airwaves with having the Tawjihi results being announced. Despite the fact that Friday is not a day with on air shows for most of the radio stations.

Starting from Friday morning, where the tawjihi results topic was all over Radio Amman FM's shows, even the sports show being aired in the morning, and the interaction followed on all the next shows on its airwaves. Same case was on Radio Jordan – English Service, whose famous show “Listener's Choice” had also a high degree of interaction on this occasion in a funny and a joyful style. Hayat FM on the other hand had a special show on its airwaves in the afternoon of that day for receiving the phone calls and greeting of listeners celebrating the occasion, the presenter of the show was also mentioning from time to time during the show positive & kind suggestions to celebrate this occasion, instead of some bad habits that are being used to celebrate it. Similar suggestions were also discussed by the presenters of “The Boring Show” on Ayyam FM, but in a more comedy style, this topic had taken quite a big part of this show the usually has no certain topic to talk about. And the day ended with “Shabab 3al FM” on Radio Al-Balad, that had a big rate of interaction and phone calls and greetings on this occasion.

Starting Sunday 8-2-2009, a new guidance radio segment started on Amen FM for the school students, the segment presented by the Jordanian comedian “Hussein Tbeishat” aims to increase the traffic and pedestrian safety and awareness of school students, and is being aired on sundays, tuesdays, and thursdays at 7.50 AM on Amen FM, and through all schools morning announcement services in the regions covered by Amen FM's frequencies according to the agreement made with the ministry of education.

Getting into the week's main topic, talking about the Jordanian Universities radio stations and their role on campus and off campus in the surrounding community.

Currently, there are 2 working university radio stations, the 1st is “Radio New Ma'an – Voice of the south”, broadcasting from King Hussein Bin Talal's University in Ma'an ever since July 2006 on 90.3 FM, ever since there was only one station Jordanian FM station reaching Ma'ans area. While there are 3 stations aside Sawt Ma'an. About the station and its role, i had spoken with mr Basem Twesee, chief of research and society development center in King Hussein's university. Who had stated that this radio station is more of a community radio that a university radio, as its main objective is oriented towards the people of Maan and the local society, but the students are making a part of the radio station throughout specialized selection and training to be gradually more and more involved, and some are even professionals now. Radio New Ma'an is also not afraid of the competition, as Dr Basem thinks that getting more stations into the airwaves will even enrich and make their station more notable in the area due to its direct interaction with the public.
[the very interesting phone call recording attached]

The 2nd radio station of this kind to go on was Yarmouk FM, which started broadcasting for a couple of hours daily starting October 2006, and extended it broadcasting to 24/7 later in October 2007. This station's efforts come from the college of media and journalism in the university (ever since it was a dept part of another college), as most of the workers in it are students of this college. The role of this radio station also exceeded the limits of being a university radio station to being a community radio for the city of irbid and its people. Especially since there are another 15 radio stations that have working frequencies in Irbid or in Ajloun covering Irbid's area, thats beside 10s of radio stations being receipted from neighboring countries, making ibrid's airwaves one of the most jammed airwaves of the kingdom.

On the way also as mentioned in a previous episode are a couple of university radio stations that got broadcasting licenses, one is for Mutah University in Karak, a city that has only 1 radio station having a working frequency in it, that is, Fann FM on 94.3 FM, and also receives the broadcasting of several stations from their working frequencies in Amman, but in a mainly weak reception and a varying one depending on the area. The other one is University of Jordan, which will be competing on the ammani airwaves with 10s of radio stations of all kinds. On this radio station i have spoken to Dr Darweesh Badran, one of the people that are participating in establishing this radio station. Dr Badran has stated that the idea behind this stations was enriching the relation between the university and its students, as well as the university and the surrounding community, noting that this station will be a pure “students' radio station”, also, as Mr Badran answered on one of my questions, that the radio station can be one that would interact and represent students from other universities and colleges and not only UJ, as there are several universities and colleges in Amman, the area that this radio station will be covering. Last but not least, Dr Badran stated that they have already several suggestions for programs and cooperations offered to them from students as well as from people in the private sector for their radio station.
[phone call recording attached]

Its very obvious that university radio stations in jordan are taking away of being apart from each other, so we are not seeing one station based on cooperation between several radio stations, and not even partial cooperation, of having for example one radio station with one identity and license but with customized shows for each and every area.

One interesting notice is also that those radio stations are exceeding their university boundaries to be community radio stations. Having priorities and concentration on their community role.

Last but not least comes the observation that the private sector is not participating in investing or cooperating with those radio stations, like some big broadcasting corporation in some European countries that took the role of supporting students radio stations and investing in them in their countries.

Thanks to the guys at Modern Media Co, specifically Mrs Ghada Odeh for her cooperation. Remember that you can contribute too, and send in your comments, feedback and any radio observations on radio@ammannet.net

and note that this segment is being replayed Wednesdays at 4 PM now, beside the basic airplay time, Mondays at 10.30 AM.

05 February, 2009

My Matryoshka Collection, and that deep relation!

Being half romanian, and eastern european in general, brings me a deep inner relation with several items, locations, and traditions from that area.

A Matryoshka doll, a Babushka doll or a Russian nested doll, also called a stacking doll, is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. "Matryoshka" (Матрёшка) is a derivative of the Russian female first name "Matryona", which was a very popular name among peasants in old Russia. The name "Matryona" in turn is related to the Latin root, "mater" and means Mother. So the name is closely connected with motherhood and in turn the doll has come to symbolize fertility. [source Wikipedia]

One of them is my Matryoshka dolls collection that i have started less than a couple of years ago, and which are well known souvenir items in eastern european countries. and though I only started this collection less than 2 years ago, i have all of those already :)

The 1st one in the collection was the blue one, which i got from prague a year and a half ago. which was followed by the one to the right from Accessorize (Made in China of course), and was presented by them as a Christmas decoration apparently, just like the other one from them as well. While the other 2 are heavy original ones :D from Russia, and from the Ukraine, and not only that the one from Ukraine was a gift from my dear half Ukrainian friend and ex-colleague Diana, put its full of passion ever since the manufacturing! That is made obvious by a touch from the lady who made it and painted it, leaving a hair of her with the painting :) another fact that makes this one very special to me :)

Apparently, and Unfortunately, i still don't have any of those dolls from romania (hint hint: They are toooooo expensive in romania, those romanian bastards), but will hopefully add one or two from there this year :)

Its also worth mentioning, that if you read that Wikipedia article, you will find out that this dolls was inspired by a souvenir dolls from Japan in the late 19th century.

My Matryoshka collection has been updated , with a new romanian collection this time :) a must have , isn't it!

Its the Green one to the left in the photo