A Dubai-based radio station on the internet? You bet. Peter Redding tells us all about it
Go on then: pitch My Expat Radio. You’ve got terrestrial radio out here in Dubai, but people only hear it on their way to work, or in snatches. We want to create an online station that people can be at home with in their office, something that’s with them all day.
What kind of things can listeners hear on the station? We’ve got a real mix on there – I do the sports show, but there’s music, going-out guides, comedy and all sorts. There’s a chart show, too, but rather than going the local charts we do the European ones, so you can hear what’s popular over there. But that’s not the end of it – we want people to contribute to the shows. Stations often get texts and that, but we want to be a real people’s station – we want people to send in ideas of what they want, so they can continue to let it grow.
So who are your listeners, then? We’re pulling in 37,000 listeners from all over the world at the minute. And because of that we’re doing giveaways around the world. A girl in Indonesia won a MacBook from us, so we filmed it being shipped across – you can watch that on the station’s Facebook page – and she did a little film at the other end of her receiving it. We are probably the only radio station in the whole of Dubai that can give presents away worldwide.
So are you going to expand outside of the UAE, then? That’s our plan. We wanted to make a buzz in the UAE first because it’s our hometown, but we’re also looking abroad. We’re in the process of putting together a Filipino show and we’re looking at maybe running a competition where people can have their own guest slot – they could be in Canada, India, Africa or wherever but they can send in their work on mp3. Our core is in Dubai, though.
Sounds like the station’s programme is pretty changeable. Obviously we started off with a broad base of programming, as most radio stations do, but as the station grows we listen and see what people want so we can act on it.
The programming’s pretty light-hearted and funny but some of it has a content advisory warning. Can you get away with more on the internet? Mostly, yeah. We have a little bit more leeway about discussing some things that you can’t discuss on terrestrial radio. But we’re all UAE-based and we’ve all worked on terrestrial radio before, so we know where the boundaries are. And obviously we respect where we’re broadcasting from – we don’t take it too far. My Expat Radio can be heard at www.myexpatradio.com.