June 06, 2011

Censorship in Blogostan: Stickin' it to da Man

I awoke from my post-kebab meditation to discover that half of the blogs I follow in Oman are now on the payroll of a new commercial radio station named "Merge".  Which is fine.  Except that I'd already started winding myself up to write about it, as part of a general lament on the abject professional, intellectual, artistic, aesthetic and journalistic poverty of the Omani information media.

There are two reasons that I have yet to write anything about the media, despite having some experience in that field, and having talked about it for a week.  The first reason is that it might not be very interesting to state the blindingly obvious fact that all the TV and radio stations, and all the newspapers, are pitiably poor sources of either news or entertainment (well, the latter perhaps a bit, in a Vladimir Nabokov kind of way).  Either way, none of that is news to any readers of this page, and I should leave writing about nothing to those very media organs...

But the second reason is that, before laying a literary pounding across the board, I thought I should wait for the birth of "Merge".  The contractions started a few days ago with test broadcasts of Hi FM's playlist and some industry-standard annoying jingles, and delivery is scheduled for 7am tomorrow as I understand it.  So, I thought I'd hold off slapping the newborn until I could say with authority that all three English stations in Oman were equally bad, or, should a miracle be upon us, discover a spectacular new exception - a good radio station with presenters capable of surpassing a packet of instant noodles in wit or charisma.

However, in between times I've had a comment mentioning my low expectations deleted from another blog, and had a third blogger contact me asking me not to say anything horrible about their sponsors before I'd uttered a word.  Censorship is here, corporate-funded and in your face in Blogostan!  And I shall resist.  Oman's media might not be a very interesting subject to think about, but tell me I can't write about something and just see what happens.  I'll give them a fair hearing.  But if you want me to be nice about your sponsors, they'd better be good.  Otherwise they'll get what's coming...mark my words.

So we will see.  I will at some point tomorrow give "Merge" and one of its "star*" presenters a good listening to, and feed back to the masses without prejudice (and I mean that in both senses if the company lawyer is reading)


*"Star" is a term applied in Oman to anyone who has ever had a job in Dubai, having already failed to maintain gainful employment in their own country.  Maybe that weird inferiority complex about Dubai is a subject worth writing about...

17 comments:

ynotoman said...

They are already broadcasting - and seem to have a place reserved in the car park of the Raddison.

Al Khuwait will be a real traffic jam if they broadcast live from there

The Linoleum Surfer said...

I'm told their first "real" (i.e. live, from Oman) show, is at 0700. Until now there have been a few days of test broadcasts, all recorded. So I heard anyway

Omani Jewel said...

:-)

Expatmummy said...

I'm a bit disappointed with the other bloggers, you'd would have hoped that they had a bit more integrity!

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly prepared to sell out my principles. I'm just unusually expensive.

Check the FB page for latest comment and don't forget to "like" ;)

(and "follow" through Google too, if I might be so bold)

Nadia said...

I have nothing against Omani radio stations because I barely listen to them :) .. the ad will be up for 3 months and all proceeds will go to charity. No need to get disappointed, folks.

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Really? I'd totally keep the money and spend it on exotic coffee blends. But we're all different. :)

Expatmummy said...

Taking the money is fine, as long as it doesn't oblige you to do a big sucking up blog before the station has even got started properly!

(The money would be better spent on top quality chocolate!)

And yes I'm following on FB, for now!

Sythe said...

Hey Lino.

Yes, I'm calling you Lino, simply because I find Linoleum a problem word for me and I have to spend an extra half-second thinking about the spelling. If you prefer, I could name you Linus. I think Lino is better.

I just wanted to say hey, and once again voice that I do not sensor comments on my blog. If someone is being overtly offensive to a singled out person, I may remove the comment (never done it yet) and sometimes my spam filter catches comments and holds them for me to approve... which I do do from time to time, when I remember to check it.

As for me, the option was for 3 months and I have not decided what to do with the cash. Perhaps I'll invest in continuing my research into various hops and barely by-products. Who knows.

Loving your writing, it's really good.

S

Sythe said...

Obviously I meant Censor, and not sensor.

English is not my strongest subject.

;)

Mimi said...

There's nothing wrong with advertising for the radio. It was a simple commercial deal. You guys are silly. What's wrong with you? seriously! -_-

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Hey Sythe,

Lino is cool, and I'm not throwing any stones. Hope you get to buy an awful lot of Moussy! (and they didn't even pay me...)

I note and respect that you left my comment intact. Well, I was almost nice anyway!

Thanks for the kind words dude, respect both ways.

TLS

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Mimi you had enough attention today ;)

Suburban said...

I'd spend it on Liquor, Fast cars and Prostitutes. The rest I'd just waste*

In fairness, can we all note how awesome it is that a company in Oman is attempting to harness the influence of local blogs and Twitter? I think that's pretty cool!

Tip to the hat to Channing Pollock, George Best, Etc...

The Linoleum Surfer said...

I agree, it's good to see a more imaginative approach to advertising.

Sythe said...

Lino - I was like.... whats Moussy? And then when waiting for my Nando's take-out last night I went on an adventure into the CCC building, or whatever they're calling it now.

I got two prizes - 1, a delightfully tacky and sparkly hat that I intend to wear on a golf day shortly. and 2 - I discovered what Moussy was... fruity beer, without the, er, bit that makes beer worth drinking.

I imagine they sell a lot of that stuff in Saudi and Kuwait... probably right next to the baking aisle too! ;)

The Linoleum Surfer said...

I lived in Saudi Arabia for a few years, and yes, they do sell a lot of that. And sugar, dried yeast and bottles of "Rauch" fruit juice that come in a bottle with a flip top. Funny how people's tastes are.

You'd be surprised how genuinely popular it as among the non-drinking majority in these countries though. Especially surprising to me - I've tried it and it's vile. Peach ice tea is more like it for me, and if Lipton are looking for new media ad opportunities, I'd totally roll with it. For a very high fee. Until Raytheon come through...