I need to post about this and hopefully will before the story is too old and soggy.
Sorry oglers, (new word) I have a zillion posts in the making, some finished, some need proofing, but for the last two months we have been around the clock here installing a new Cisco system for one of our major associates. No chance to even fart really.
Coincidence or otherwise, I made a lot of noise about unfair competition and extremely bad business practice in the media sector here in Bahrain. Low and behold a few days later, it is announced that ‘selected Media Companies’ will be issued FM licenses in the coming weeks. (Time of writing: It should be the end of this  month – quoting Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News).

Just who these Media companies are and how they were suddenly chosen is a mystery and exactly where the non-interfering FM frequencies are going to come from is even more intriguing.  Everywhere else gone digital or satellite, but in Bahrain we open up the analogue.
Street talk is that a well known ‘named’ friend of a high placed friend has been given a license and wants to operate a non-stop music channel, which to me sounds like direct competition to nearby Aramco out of Dharan in the Saudi Arabian Eastern Province. In fact I like the guy and if I am not wrong, he, like a dozen others, came to me for advice and feasibility to set up a a station way back in the 90s. I told him then that it would not happen and others more powerful were unable to do so.   Yet it is strange that a Hindi Channel was opened, with the operator just in the right place at the right frame of mind ministerially. Then on the English front, we have Radio Bahrain, which is a monopoly currently run by a monopoly.

So a no-stop music station, no news, no talk, no squeeks… hmmmm!  Incidentally, some 85- 90% of the expatriate community and local alike who happen to like the genre of music being pumped out from Aramco’s Studio One, believe they are actually listening to Radio Bahrain.  The difference in professionalism is quite stark but then again, Aramco’s edict is to stick to the music and music only and cut the bad words out of that as well.  Nothing live and nothing in the form of comment. Other than that, it is a very slick station and I think John D’angelo ‘Johnny Dee’ has more than a hand in that.

Rotana, the Saudi  Prince Al Waleed outfit were also mentioned, but that could be well off the accuracy scale and might just be some attempt at giving the issue of licenses some credibility as if some thought and qualification had been put into this. But if that were to happen, it would be an even bigger monopolistic (as such) disaster because he already has to region’s only entity in the perceived and sought after Saudi market.

My drastic  concern and one for all other Advertising Agencies in the country, was opening up competition to the existing Monopoly running a Monopoly in the form of another Lebanese based outfit who go by the name of Group Plus. Just how they suddenly, over night, got signed up with a six year ‘no holes barred’ contract a few years back, which gave them carte blanche in the country, is an absolute mystery. (Of course I am being nice, as we all know how it happened and who was behind it). As is though,  nobody can compete.

Anyway, much more on this when I have time. As I type now, the guys in IT are streaming emails at me to give them prompts.


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