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Saturday, March 31, 2012

kuwait's new Malayalam FM radio

New FM radio tunes
expats into roots

Connecting Indian expats to their roots and gluing musically-inclined Egyptians to their seats, new radio stations are foraying into Kuwait in aplomb. The Indian FM radio station, 98.4 U FM, will be officially launched on April 14, the Hindu festival of Vishu (Malayalam new year). It 'caters to the need of expats' claims the ongoing test broadcast advertisement. The test broadcast now runs Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi songs and jingles that resound the latest Bollywood hits. The Egyptian operated makanfm.com, also on test transmission, offers unlimited Arabic songs and programs that vary between religious and spirited debates.


Kuwait's Marina FM-assisted 98.4 U FM is a much awaited dream come true for many. The inception of an expat-oriented radio began a year ago. Manu Chandrashekhar, Program Convener, said about 17 professionals from TV-radio fields in India were recruited, and the station uses internationally renowned Dalet radio software. Experienced technicians and nine radio jockeys, in addition to locally recruited administrative staff make the 98.4 U FM team a force to reckon with, and it aims to spread it wings, Manu said. The staff, hand-picked without the interview process will work in two shifts. "Our concept is the pure infotainment for the Indian community", Manu said. The station observed earth hour by shutting down last evening from 8.30 to 9.30.

The FM team boasts a vast collection of 52,000 Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi songs that will be aired. Plans are on the anvil to include every half-hour news, announcements, phone-in programs and advertisements in its 24/7 format. The team is busy working on the background and scheduling its program list, to be transmitted from Muthala station. Manu said hypermarkets and small-scale companies have expressed interest in placing advertisements.

Since March 21, (the day 98.4 U FM went on air) the test broadcast has become a talk of the town. Music lovers and listeners circulated e-mails, sharing the good news. Some believe that such a station should have been made a reality much earlier. Others felt that listening to music and news is the best can help pass time while waiting in traffic.

Egyptian internet radio makanfm.com will broadcast 'Matigi nitkalam,' an online voice chat program where people describe funny real-life incidents. Football, technology, hit chart will also be featured in the internet radio station that can be accessed through Real Media and Windows Media Player. "It is team work where a few Egyptians make an online space for a large number of compatriots who will be connected through the programs they listen to," said Sherif Ismail, who does advertisements for the internet radio.

As for 98.4 U FM, being able to bridge the gap between India and Kuwait brings in more good news. The festival of Vishu signifies the first thing seen on the day, believed to have a bearing on one's life in the coming years. The FM's launch could not be timed any better.

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