FM radio market booming in the Arab World

MUMBAI: Market research firm Research and Markets has come out with a study FM Radio in the Arab World 2005.

The Arab World is undergoing an FM radio station boom. The FM radio industry, which is local and not pan-Arab by definition, still has some regionally focused operators. The landscape is made up of local FM stations for the most part and the numbers are projected to sky rocket as more countries allow private FM radio operations in the coming few years.

UAE and Algeria have the most crowded state-owned FM radio environment in the region. The UAE leads with 19 radio stations operating under five networks. Algeria follows UAE with 17 radio stations operating under the states Radio-Television Algerienne (RTA) network. On the privately owned stations, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq lead the region with 23, 17 and 10 operational private FM radio stations respectively.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the FM Radio regulations and landscape in the 18 Arab countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Libya. The report includes analysis and profiles of every FM radio (private and government owned) in the region.

Lina Juma who wrote the report says, "Radio listening is popular and widespread in the Arab World. surveys in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia reveal that a majority of people listen to radio stations." Egypt and Tunisia were the first countries in the Middle East to allow private radio stations under a legal framework. Egypt launched Nile FM and Negoom FM in July 2003 then followed by Tunisia's Mosaique FM in November.

Furthermore, Jordan's broadcasting media experienced partial liberalization in mid 2003 after the establishment of the audiovisual media law. Finally, the Ministry of information in Kuwait issued a legislation granting licenses to private radio and Television stations in the same year.

Consistent with the liberalization trend, in year 2004 Oman was next in line to offer licenses to private TV and radio stations. Up to date, Syria was the last country to pursue liberalization. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is presently planning to privatise some public radio stations.

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