Seriously though……… This is a back peddle and probably a very good thing regarding this BOLD move to open up the analogue channels if there really are any to be had that is.  Plus it might make who gets what a bit more balanced.  Did I just say that with a straight face?

I thought I might have to pad the post out quite a bit with my usual blarney because I could give you the heads up in two sets of three words and a question mark, separated by a hyphen; ‘Not happening yet – or is it?’  However, there is a little bit more to it than that, but I cannot reveal everything I am involved with, because it is all a bit Catch 22 and would certainly jeopardize certain plans.

Now let’s get down to the guts of this wonderful news. From ‘never going to happen’ to suddenly happening, the big question on most lips is; ‘How did this happen?’ Suffice to say I have a sneaky suspicion that the Crown Prince Sheik Salman had an awful lot to do with it ‘directly’. Many think I instigated it because I’m ultra passionate about the profession and the standards within, plus the trade knows well my quality. YEAH!!! And the Maronites loath me.   You aint too popular with me either my brothers. As if by some miracle of expatriate influence I did have a little meddle then you will never know about it, because I would never betray the trust.  Besides, Sheik Salman is respected by most and highly thought of and he is a radio man, so if anyone can push this through, it would only be him, but it might not quite be for the reasons some perhaps think. To elaborate more, fair trading, just fairness and openness has more to do with it than a desire to just have radio stations for the sake of it. I love the guy, he really is a Gent.

However, fair trading is the last thing on most excited opportunist’s mind and new rumours are flying every day and some with such conviction by people who have absolutely no idea whatsoever about radio and its true workings.  These sudden connoisseurs  were selling fish before or cutting hair but have somehow suddenly gotten close, mixing up with the clan ostensibly running the show now and we all know who thinks they are.  Thus these dudes talk like they have a hot red phone right to the heart of the authority on this and confidently spout that there will be no English or Arabic channels allowed only other languages such as another Hindi channel and so on.  They smirk with such a knowing ‘you aint got it pal’ look as they claim only 6 frequencies are available and each one has a price tag to the authorities of around  US$ 633,000 a year for the privilege.  HALLELUJAH! Six stations trying to generate that in a town that has absolutely no radio culture at all these days would definitely be  divine intervention. If any of this is true and I have no idea, then good luck to whoever. Having to pay that much out each month should really be so crippling in a sophisticated market with excellent content being pumped out to a well established radio spending culture. That is not here I’m afraid and for the current level of professionalism, thirty second spots are going as cheap as $9 a pop.

At the end of play, Bahrainis and Arabs in general are in charge of their own destiny and never take too kindly to expatriates telling them what they should do anyway and even you are a hired consultants are mostly for show.

With FM analogue radio a dead duck for anyone younger than 60 and local telecom companies still looking at me with a cocky but totally blank ‘know it all’ ignorance as I present my bewildering plans to the board explaining that they alone hold the no-holes-barred future which no government or religious body can ‘legally’ really do anything about.  It is hard to maintain a cool ‘forgive these prima donnas for they know not what they (are) do(ing)’ approach which greets me.  But alas analogue FM is currently the big buzz in Bahrain because to the seemingly many other wanna beez, the sole criteria is that FM  is still the only thing you can receive in your car.  A terrible psychological hang-over from monopolistic government controlled, one station, red tape existence we’ve all endured since forever. As in the States and Europe, wouldn’t it be great to be able to get in the motor and cruise the entire length of this country while listening to a massive choice of crisp, clean, wide stereo content, something that would take you an entire 20 … ugh minutes in Bahrain, but hey, the thought counts.

In fact, unbeknown to er… EVERYONE in Bahrain, satellite radio is alive but not very well.  World Space have a horizontal plane broadcast pumping out around 14 gigs from the top of one of the tallest towers in Manama. but to who? I do know a few wealthy beings with satellite radios in their cars (dual digital FM as well) and they tell me that they can receive nothing.  ‘Um! Did you subscribe?’ ‘Ah! No, what is that and who to?’ Regardless, it is all the same as I have been going on and on about. Non-stop-music of one sort or another and good luck to them. You can get that off the Internet from 50 million sources these days free. Even more at home, ORBIT has had Virgin and so many other genres of non-stop-music streaming down for years and years now. I spoke to the big boys at Orbit just after they launched, thinking that the smart dudes would pick up on the magic facilities they actually have and if they wanted to market it properly. You won’t believe the answer I got from their decision maker; ‘Nah, we are a TV company, not radio”. Right over their heads and still is. Wrong people in the right jobs.  I never saw the bloke again and assume he was moved as they shifted the marketing manager after that, he of a million hands and apparent skills, none of which I noticed.   What TV company are they? They produce nothing, only the promos for their re-broadcast bought in programmes.  Back to World Space and its contribution here, well I don’t get it, as I don’t get much of the perception these multitude of know-it-alls have.  It is all flashing gold in the eyes, which is why they do it, missing the art of the art all together. Again, these opportunists think non-stop music is content.

Now the woodwork has opened and I am happy to say, nay delighted, that much to my surprise, those than can move, shift and finance are calling me.  I feel a bit like a very poor Rupert Murdoch at the moment, but by hook or by crook, I am going to make something of this for all our sakes.  Of course,  I can really only speak for what is going on in my camp, but for sure there are many, frightfully deluded and none capable, convinced they are the chosen ones and ready to get their friends and cousins behind a mic pumping out what they perceive as the dog’s bits.

Bahrain has years to go before it can muster and sustain such a prolific advertising culture.  I am sure there are many hopefuls but unless you have big Al Jazira budget and professional content, plus huge coverage like the very privileged MBC, you’ll all be broke in months as most will base their output and standards on that which exists because it has been the status quo and standard for so long.  Sadly, at present, few understand or perceive the difference so will emulate in deep, blind belief that ‘they’, these self appointed gurus are on the ball but all they achieve is  spread the dung thicker;  worse still pontificate that it is;  ‘what the people want’.  WAIT!!  There is much more coming.

For now, I must wait. Oh and yes,  I do get emails, comments and a few slags (verbal that is) regarding the slow progress of my web site content, especially over the FM issue and recently a barrage from a one David Ryan of  ‘RYAN BUSINESS SOLUTIONS’, who called for assistance with his ‘scouting’ activities. More on this man later, a good man at that and one that nobody can fail to love dearly for all his quirks and he’s got the award.  David is worker in his ways and a huge supporter of FM radio and me, despite his seemingly humorous and vile rhetoric about me. Mr. Ryan is an aviation man like myself as well and hopefully will get us nice views at the upcoming Bahrain Air show.  Was that a hint?  What? Who?  Where!


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