Eyeing Arab music lovers, the Arabian Radio Network (ARN) has launched two new radio brands — Al-Khaleejiya Classic and Al-Arabiya Cassette. A part of the state-owned Arab Media Group, ARN now has 18 radio brands – both terrestrial and digital in its bouquet. The launch was announced during the ongoing ARN Business Club, a week-long annual event held by the radio network.
Speaking to the Arabian Marketer ahead of the launch, Mahmoud Al Rasheed, General Manager, ARN commented, “Our aim was to enhance our services for the Arabic music lovers across GCC and Pan Arab region. As the name suggests, Al-Arabiya will have more music from beyond GCC countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco; though it will also play music from this region. While Al-Khaleejiya will be hundred percent music of GCC countries, especially from the UAE.”
Elaborating further on the rationale behind increasing the language stations, he said, “We started with our English brands and then moved to other languages. Since Arabic is a sensitive language, we waited for having the right number of listeners and then decided to launch these two radio brands. Also these brands will represent the era of Arabic classic numbers from 60s to 90s, hence they will be called Al Arabiya Cassette and Al Khaleejiya Classic. The concept will be the same. These two brands will give the flexibility to play tracks that are as long as 10 minutes, advantage being that audio data usage on smartphone is less expensive in comparison to video data consumption.”
In May last year, ARN launched seven new radio stations, which were digital extensions of the network’s terrestrial brands. The response encouraged the network to launch the two new Arabic radio brands.
To its credit, ARN has pioneered linking its radio stations to digital extensions in the region. “If you don’t embrace the transitioning to digital, you are going to find it very tough. This is a perfect radio market and the beauty of radio is that it is free and also requires lesser bandwidth. We are only at the tip of the iceberg. This medium in a traditional format and its new digital transitioning and evolution makes its future enormously right,” said Steve Smith, Chief Operating Officer, ARN in a conversation with AM.
“In the business of entertainment, you cannot sit still. You need to keep innovating. Al-Khaleejiya Classic and Al-Arabiya Cassette are a part of our commitment that the consumer and listener gets variety and stays within our ecosystem,” Mr Smith added.
Being UAE’s largest commercial network comes with its own pressures, and launching new radio brands increases the quest for continuing to become bigger and better. Hence, content remains priority for ARN according to Mr Smith. He noted, “It all comes down to a single point of developing great content. If the content is average, the battle is lost already. Annual investments need to ensure that the on-air talent, programmers and everyone working towards developing content is developing the best they possibly can. Every time they turn on the mike or play a song, it has to be great.”
Nisreen F. Majid, Content Strategy Director, ARN and Mohammed Salem, Content Director, Al Khaleejiya Radio Station were also present during the launch event in Dubai.