June 09, 2011

Footnote on the Radio Wars: Al Wisaal 96.5 الوصال

Just a quickie (yes I know I'm supposed to be writing about something serious now, I'm getting around to it, OK?!), but I want to add something to my comment over the last couple of days about the new (not bad) radio station.  The build up is here, here and here.  Anyway, I listened to day two, and...

- Still found the morning show on Merge FM a bit dull and ponderous.  Is this as good as it gets?  I do like the music though.

- And I still like Rumaitha, she's got presence and potential; keep going!

- And the afternoon lady's nice, with another refreshingly eclectic selection of music (just one thing - of course you have your 'A' playlist, but mix up the order between shows!)

- I just found out who "Sami" is; the guy scheduled for an Omani talent (can't remember what it was called?) show on Friday.  I know him I think. I'm looking forward to see how he shapes up as a DJ - he's certainly a confident type.

Here's a thing though: I didn't listen to the Arabic language sister station before, although it's been around for ages.  This morning while bored with the Merge breakfast show, I tuned in to الوصال ("Al Wisaal"), and liked it.  The music is fun, and the presenter's totally smooth, charming and charismatic.  Where did they get her from?!  Any chance Madiha can do a show in English on Merge too?  If Merge FM is supposed to be "the English language station for the Arab youth", perhaps the Arab youth is better off tuning into 96.5 until lunchtime!  Al Wisaal is cool.* But 104.8 doesn't seem to have much interest in talking to Arab youth.  Until the Arab youth start presenting.  Might I suggest a co-presenter for the morning show?  Might liven it up a bit too...

*One negative point on Al Wisaal, and it's not unique by any means in the Omani media.  Sponsors and advertisers are the lifeblood of a commercial station, and Bank Muscat are clearly client number one at Wisaal 96.5.  But making the presenter read all that crap about staff development verbatim was a bit embarrassing, as well as crushingly boring for us.  Free PR tip:  If you want to waffle on about how many people you've trained, at least send a guest in to the show to talk about it live for a couple of minutes.  Making the presenter read a press release is a bit humiliating.  Especially as she was so good.


TripleTee said...

lol. as impatient as ever dude. give 'em a chance. XD

The Linoleum Surfer said...

I am providing the gift of constructive criticism!

More is available by emailing thelinoleumsurfer@thelinoleumsurfer.com
(charges may apply).

The Owl said...

haha.. yea dude wait for a while... how would you feel if some one provided "constructive criticism" for your blog on the first day?

give em a chance... theyre not all that bad :)

The Linoleum Surfer said...

I didn't say they were bad, I said they were "OK". And there's no better time to improve than at the beginning!

Especially when the main issue is structural: Take the morning show, which is the flagship of most radio stations including this one. It's supposed to be "for the Arab youth", yet has no local presenter or even co-presenter, doesn't read the news or offer any opportunity for local discussion, and has a competition that effectively excludes all local Arab youth: a word-play game (tough on non-native speakers, keep it a simple quiz), with a prize of "brunch at the Radisson Blue" which is more fully advertised elsewhere as...a champagne and pork roast lunch. Charming. Sounds like "fuck off raghead" to me...another Dubai-a-like British pissheads-only show. By Saturday they'll maybe be talking about hangovers and Coronation Street...finish the job. But I hope they listen instead, it's to help them, not just to wind them up.

So yeah, constructive criticism is always a good idea. Thus far I've suggested that presenters be reminded not to bang on only about the sport/music/culture of their own country and community. No-brainer you would have thought, when they're supposedly trying to appeal to another community.

I also suggested in this post that they add an Omani co-presenter to the foreign-hosted programmes. Apart from the cultural balance (walk the walk, really!), having a second person or more in the studio makes for a much more dynamic atmosphere. The producers of Merge will know this full well, coming from the UK where every successful national breakfast show does it: sometimes just the weather or traffic person joining in with some banter here and there, or other times a full-time "straight man", co-presenter or whatever. It makes it more fun, and will give some more Oman-centric topics to the studio chatter.

Anyway, hopefully they have realised now that people will actually talk about their station and it's a good thing - free, independent publicity. Having the main presenter/producer rant at an independent commentator (see previous posts on this blog and others), without even reading the comment properly, was very daft. Luck I'm not the vengeful type. But their PR consultant (Maurizio is it?) quickly stepped in with a more professional approach "thank you for bothering to analyse it, we'll look into it". Customer feedback is a gift, not a problem.

Anyway, good luck Merge FM. It's not personal (I don't even know you!), it's a contribution you can use.

Sami said...

Gotta admit. I enjoy ur posts!! But have we met? LOL

The way u analyze makes sense

O, the show is Omani Talents 7-9 Fridays. Looking forward to ur critique ;P

The Linoleum Surfer said...

We've met a couple of times I think but don't be alarmed ;)

Anyway thanks for commenting...hope to see you following and "liking" on FB too! In return I will tune in to your show; it sounds like a great idea - I don't even want to think how you landed the gig, but I have confidence in you!

Sami said...

Me? Alarmed? Naaaah!

Will follow and like. Might join u bloggers folk as well, u know; gotta balance the blogsphere ;P

Sami said...

On other note I'd like to add

Chris been great.....he's been focusing on directing the 3 shows with Rumaitha, Sayeh and myself. Not to mention coaching us as well. Starting Sat things will be different and I guarantee u that.

Rumaitha's been brilliant and day by day she's getting the hang of it. Same with her, I believe Sat will be the real start.

Sayeh: what is there not to love in her personality! Love her animated character and funny phrases! Light and instantly likable.

:D just my humble 2cents

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Well, in that case I look forward to the new look, and yeah both the ladies are great personalities. Maybe you should co-present the breakfast show?!

Anyway, roll on the Sami show on Friday.

2 cents always welcome, although you've never been humble in your life ;)

The Linoleum Surfer said...

(which is why I am convinced you'll be a natural performer when it comes to this!)

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Oh, and you're not allowed to post again until you "follow" and "like". :D

Nadia said...

Hah. Marry me.

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Sorry Nadia, I just can't afford a Dhofari Gucci. Zanjibari Marks & Spencer is more my level, although I might get a good deal on Belushi Lulu if I put some effort in.

Thanks for the offer though!

TLS :)

Sami said...

Maaaan I'm disappointed! Thought I was gonna get a review right after the show :(


The Linoleum Surfer said...

Bro, you still didn't click the Google "follow" button on the right. Then I might think about it.

You did though "like" on Facebook. And it is there you will find several glowing comments. Ego satisfied for now?

You were great, I'm really pleased for you. Star of the station - no kidding.