The Gulfs newest radio station claims to be fully digital and promises to offer a unique programming mix for the South Indian community. BroadcastPro brings you an exclusive report. Last month saw a brand new radio station, Radio Me 100.3 FM hit the airwaves in the UAE. The radio station, which is the brainchild of […]
The Gulfs newest radio station claims to be fully digital and promises to offer a unique programming mix for the South Indian community. BroadcastPro brings you an exclusive report.
Last month saw a brand new radio station, Radio Me 100.3 FM hit the airwaves in the UAE. The radio station, which is the brainchild of CEO Rafees Rahmatulla and station head Girish Nair, is aimed at the South Indian community, primarily people from the state of Kerala. Radio Me, which has facilities in Dubai Studio City and Umm Al Quwain, contracted Dubai-based systems integrator Al Futtaim Technologies to equip and integrate the technologies at its studios.
The radio station, which is a joint venture between the government of Umm Al Quwain and Impraza, a Saudi-Indian group, has already made waves in the South Indian community for offering a mix of content that is, thus far, not offered on other Malayalam stations in the region. The channel offers a mix of Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, English and Arabic songs and is typically aimed at second and third-generation South Indians who have been brought up in the Middle East and exposed to different cultures and languages.
What makes this radio station unique is its content and not really its technology, says Rahmatulla, although he adds that the station has been equipped with the latest kit to ensure that its content is produced and distributed in the highest audio quality.
To that effect, the radio station has invested in a complete end-to-end digital workflow right from production to transmission.
If you have the capital, anyone can bring in the best mixer or automation software and we have also done that. We have invested substantially into our technology to ensure we have the best sound tracks. What distinguishes a channel, however, is always the quality of its content. Outstanding content and a good distribution network are essential and we have this, he adds.
Radio Me came into fruition after two years of planning. In the meantime, the market, which previously had only one Malayalam channel now has two more and with the addition of Radio Me, there are four.
Its only been 26 days (at the time of going to press) since we launched but the response from the market has been overwhelming. As a radio, we are new to the market but most of us at Radio Me have been working in the media in the UAE for a long time so we have a good relationship with the industry as a whole.
Systems integrator Al Futtaim Technologies has been involved in the project from the beginning as consultant, designer and systems integrator.
This project was awarded to us in July 2011, explains Hassan Ali, technical sales manager, Broadcast and AV, Al Futtaim Technologies.
The customers objective was to build a radio facility that would include an On Air studio, a production studio as well as an edit studio while also supporting a newsroom and a main control room. We provided a turnkey solution for Radio Me and oversaw the fit-out work of its studios and offices as well, explains Ali.
All of the rooms including the Edit, Production and On Air studios are connected to each other via an audio router in the main control room.
This gives the end user the flexibility to send a signal from the main control room to any of the other rooms, explains Ali.
During the final test, we wanted to record from an on-air mixer to any other recording device. We had the option to send a signal from on air to production thanks to the fact that all of the rooms are integrated and connected to each other, he adds.
Al Futtaims challenges were primarily to do with obtaining approvals from the landlord to begin work at the facility and outsourcing work to new sub contractors who were not familiar with working in a radio environment.
Four people from Al Futtaim were on site to undertake the project.
I was responsible for the project management, consultancy and design while Abdul Rauf managed the client and two others were responsible for implementing the networking and engineering part of the project, adds Ali.
Two solutions that CEO Rahmatulla especially points out at the radio station with pride are the Studer OnAir 2500 console and the Dalet automation solution.
When an RJ is sitting at his desk, the technology should be the last thing he has to worry about. The console in front of him should allow him to work quickly, easily and efficiently. We feel the Studer Console is one of the most user-friendly solutions on the market. It also works very well with our Dalet solution. Besides the fact that Dalet is the choice for big radio stations, I was impressed with the support we received from its resident engineer and that immediately made it the only choice for us, explains Rahmatulla.
Between its two facilities in Dubai and Umm Al Quwain, Radio Me employs around 25 people.
However, there is word that more is in the offing from this group although Rahmatulla says further information is under wraps for now.