Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hope for Radio in Oman?

This week Oman radio was celebrating their 35th anniversary. I don't know what's more incredible, that Oman Radio sucks so much or the fact that despite all the crap they still have a huge audience. I'd rather think that the only reason people listen is because they have no other choice. The other explanation is that the Omani people have bad taste and the radio is providing them with exactly what they want. Between the two, I'm comfortable with the first explanation.

There is some hope for radio listeners in Oman. The Private Radio and Television Law was issued a year ago this month. The law required the creation of committee that would first establish the framework for allowing private stations and then accept applications from companies that want to establish such stations. The rules are now all set and from what I hear some licenses are now issued. The law states that once an applicant's license is issued they have to begin broadcasting within 6 months so expect a bunch of new FM stations around January or February next year.

In other related news: Last month XM Radio, the US's largest satellite radio broadcaster announced that it was investing $25 million in WorldSpace, a satellite radio broadcaster whose service covers Africa, the Middle East, and India. WorldSpace has been around for quite a while. If I'm not mistaken they were one of the first satellite radio companies. But WorldSpace has very limited options when it comes to receivers and the channels it provides aren't very appealing. More importantly, it does not have any in-car receivers, though they've been saying that they are working on one for the past couple years and it hasn't materialized yet. Meanwhile XM has an amazing choice of channels and is available as a manufacturer provided option by most car companies including: Audi, Honda, GM, Nissan, Toyota, Porsche and VW. (BMW and Mercedes went with XM's rival Sirius Radio). If this works out in a year or two you might be listening to digital satellite radio in your car.

update:

Has anyone heard the Adam & Kathy Show that comes on on the English FM at noon weekdays? It's an English couple who have no background at all on broadcasting making total fools of themselves for 2 hours on air every single week day.
I don't know if it's still on the air, but what the hell was that all about?

19 comments:

Mansur said...

to be honest with yuo, i dont enjoy the many radio stations here in Dubai...very few programs are worth listening to, otherwise it's filled with useless presenters who turn out to be obnoxious and sometimes insensitive to the listeners!

M

Blue Chi said...

Unlike Mansur, it is common for Omani people that live close the UAE to be listening to Emarati radio instead of Oman's, I'm talking more specifically about the FM radio. There is completely no comparison in the variety of the material broadcast, nor the nature and entertainment of the shows.

Devilish said...

u can get satellite radio here in Muscat through Mustafa Sultan. I was gona blog about it, but I keep on forgetting. They’ve been offering it for quite sometime now, though their equipment r a bit bulky n awkward ! I think its for around R.O. 100.

Kay said...

Among the thing that really ticks me off with the Omani fm, is why they insist on knowing the FULL name of whoever is calling? and not just ur name and last name, but ur dad's too? what purpose does that serve? seriously? wastage of time, and i dont think anybody listening really cares?!

I do really hope that within the next year we have new stations.

your first explanation is the closest to the truth, there is no other choice. sometimes when its windy and cloudy and if u r a in mountain area u wont even get emirate FM

muscati said...

Devilish- what you mentioned is WorldSpace radio. It's been around like 5 or 6 years but the equipment sucks and the stations aren't worth the subscription money. Plus most importantly, it's not available for your car. I don't know about you but I listen to music mostly in the car. A satellite radio service without a car option is worthless to me. But with the news that XM is now investing money in WorldSpace I am sure in a year or two WorldSpace will have in-car options and probably stations from XM as well.

NaBHaN said...

The only time I listen to the English Fm in Oman is when I get a haircut, and that's only cause I am forced to listen to it since he always has it on! I really hope that we get new ENGLISH stations soon , without all the crappy talk shows/documentaries that Oman's current English f.m broadcasts.

Devilish said...

muscati, what I mentioned is for the car. I know a some who already got it in their cars here in Muscat.

muscati said...

Develish, I got my info from WorldSpace's own website where they say they're still working on a car receiver. Maybe it's outdated. Dunno.

Devilish said...

muscati, I was over there at Mustafa Sultan few weeks ago, n they were showing me the satellite radio equipment for the car, I was tipped off after viewing a sample in someones car.

nomadica said...

I'd agree with you that the only reason ppl do listen to Oman FM is because they don't have a choice. It's the same with the English newspapers. I remember the 10th anniversary issue of Gulf News was really impressive. 30 years down the line, our English counterparts in Oman are no where near that kind of quality or content.

But...I'm hopeful about these new FM stations that you mention should start broadcasting next year!

mortal thoughts said...

I am 50/50 with both your reasons on why the Oman Fm is so bad. The former is obvious but I believe the latter as well because I have heard people tune in on the AM frequency to some AbuDhabi channel and believe you me it plays the same kind of lousy music (if you can ever call it music).

My car once broke down in Sohar and I took a cab back to Mct and you can very well imagine my plight when the ol man drove not more than 90 kmph and played that darned channel.

On Adam and Kathy - they are much better than Laxmi,June and gang. I am about to blog something on that now.

Kay said...

Are Adam and Kathy on air at around 4iesh in the afternooon?????

Wardat_il'7leej said...

Nope they are on around lunch time, when ppl head out for thier breaks.

They are an ear sore!

aliasa said...

I'd like to add a 3rd reason for listening to oman FM... its unscripted comedy, it's reality comedy. the news is often read as tho they are only shown a word at a time. notice how the emphAsis is on the wrong syllAbles? about the new licences; they may take a little longer its unlikely any are awarded yet MOI is notoriously slow & disorganized.
i call in the radio all the time to tell them how crap it is but they just give me a bogus number to call to complain. then when i call back and tell them no one answers they (lakshami/nesham/june) say that the person i'm trying to call is "on break".
good news is the service can't get any worse.

aliasa said...

on the future of radio; what do you think of pod casting?

(This is the posting of radiobroadcasts by both amateurs and pros on the net which can be easily downloaded and transferred to an mp3 player to be listened to at your convenience.)

It may be a while before it becomes widespread here (what is our internet penetration?) if u could get it for a low price on your gsm, that would probably catch on. faster.

Molten Ice said...

Internet Radio is the answer!!

I'm sure most people who live in oman know how crap 90.4Fm is!

I love top listen to radio... but only internet radio i.e. stations that broadcast streams worldwide and can be heard using ADSL (don't even bother listening to Internet radio with dial up)

Good sites for internet radio:
www.shoutcast.com
www.live365.com (registration req.)

Also, I've recently started broadcasting a 24hr. internet radio station dedicated ONLY TO ROCK MUSIC! check it out: http://www.allyouwant.tk/

Anonymous said...

i live in dubai & just got SIRIUS internet radio and it's great. A wide variety of programmes. music & talk programmes. u can try it free for 3 days at www.sirius.com

Ijaz Hussain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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