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

03 February, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 5

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

ListenIn this week's episode, i started with an overview of the radio stations interaction with the occasion of His Majesty, King Abdullah the 2nd's birthday.

Starting with Radio Jordan Broadcasting Corporation, which has covered this occasion through all of its working radio stations, the General Public Radio, The English Service, and Amman FM, with special segments talking about his majesty's life and achievements, as well as playing national songs, even during some periods and shows on the English service.

Radio Amen FM as well had special documentary shows for this occasion talking about his majesty's life, mixing those shows, which were mainly long with national music as usual on this station's airwaves.

A notable interaction also with this occasion was heard on Radio Sawt Al-Madina, this started on the Thursday, 29-1-2009's morning show with Dia'a Al-Awaishe, where she dedicated her morning show for this occasion, including interviews and discussions with citizens and personalities that had interacted with his majesty's achievements and development plans during the past years. This station has also dedicated the entire day of saturday 31-1-2009 for this occasion, entitling that as “King Abdullah the 2nd, The Human King”. That is beside a short 15 min documentary about his majesty's life, and broadcasting it during the past weekend.

On the other hand, Radio Fann FM, also had a notable interaction with this occasion, and as usual, Radio Fann had a contribution in a new national song prepared for this occasion, and broadcasting it exclusively before all the other stations, starting Al-Wakeel's Thursday morning show, 29-1-2009. a show that was also partially dedicated for this occasion. Also, Fann FM had a live broadcasting for the celebration made by Mecca Mall for this event.

Other than those above, mentions for this occasion were heard on Radio Hawa Amman, Radio Farah Al-Nas, Sawt Al-Ghad, Mazaj FM, Ayyam FM, and Spin Jordan. And there wasn't any notable mention or interaction on the other stations.

On the Sector's news this week, Hayat FM started broadcasting in Irbid on 94.7 FM, but it seems still on test broadcasting.

Amen FM (The Police Dept Radio Station) has opened a public interaction office in Salt, in the City Hall in particular, in a new step for interacting with its listeners and receiving their notes and observations to be tackled and broadcasted on the station's Airwaves. This way of interaction for radio stations throughout Radio Shops or Radio Kiosks is available in several countries abroad either by public service radio stations like Amen FM, or commercial radio stations even to increase the interactivity and closeness to the stations fans.

Also on the sector's news, a decision has been taken by the Prime Ministry on Thursday 29-1-2009, to refuse the license for Radio “Zahret El-Ghor”, a non-political/non-news community women-agricultural radio station offered by Daoud Kuttab Company, the owner of Radio Al-Balad. The decision wasn't attached with any reasons.

In this week's episode i was planning to discuss the radio stations on the Jordanian Airwaves that do not have any radio shows or interaction with their listeners. Or what i personally like to call, The Mute Radio Stations. And which were 3 stations on the Jordanian airwaves, Ahlen FM on 97.1 FM, Melody FM on 91.1 FM in Amman and 105.5 FM in Zarqa, and Nojoum FM on 93.7 FM.
But unfortunately, the closure of Radio Ahlen FM by the end of last week after over 3.5 years of non stop western music, and only several shows bought from American broadcasting companies, and didn't have any interaction with its listeners, nor any position in the advertisement market.

While Nojoum FM, broadcasting on 93.7 FM in Amman area, and which since it started in July 2007 until now didn't identify its name on its airwaves, but those of you who have an RDS radio can mention the radio station's name on your Radio screen. This station is owned by Al-Dawood group for trade and investment, and is still until now in a test transmission mode with non-stop Arabic music.

Melody FM which has been for over 2 years now on the Jordanian airwaves, and which play's the latest Arabic and western hits on its airwaves, and without having any notable shows on its airwaves, I have spoked on this subject and more with Mr Hadi Antar, CEO of the Jordanian Radio & TV Company – Melody Jordan. [phone call attached], who stated in this phone call that Melody FM will be very soon starting its live radio shows later this year and they are currently working on it. As well as the relation of their radio investment, which is also available in 2 another stations in Beirut and Syria, with their TV stations. The discussions also included a question of how are they interacting with their listeners and getting feedback from them since they still don't have any live shows or live means of communication with their listeners. Listen the show for the answers ;)

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.

01 February, 2009

Radio Guide Update: Ahlen FM goes OFF

Finally, the most suspicious and "mute" radio station on the Jordanian airwaves, has went OFF! Ahlen FM is not on our airwaves any more.

Ever since this station went on, in May 2005, it didn't have any sense on the jordanian airwaves, except the non stop western music it was playing, and some recorded shows bought from American Radio Production companies. well, maybe with some added value, by having an RDS service showing us the song and singer titles. But indeed with alot of "going crazy" several times, including just 10 days ago. All associated with the lowest rating in the jordanian radio sphere.

No commercials were being aired on this station's airwaves, well, at least i heard only 1 ad once upon a time, and thats it!

This station, owned by "Al-Dekka Broadcasting Technology", had alot of rumors and suspensions roaming around it and its turkish owners. imagine, the price of licensing, instruments, and constant electricity costs. Just like that, for nothing for almost 4 years.

I still don't know the story behind this station going off air yet, was it sold with the license, was it stopped by it owners, or by the AVC, nothing yet in my pocket. But whatever that was, Yes, we can say that the jordanian airwaves started being competitive enough to kick some people out of the game.

97.1 FM is now clear!