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