ARN launches two digital-only Arabic stations

al-khaleejiya- Classic alarabiya.Cassette

Dubai-based Arabian Radio Network has launched two new digital-only radio stations.

Al Khaleejiya Classic will play tracks from GCC musicians of the 1980s and 1990s.

And Al Arabiya Cassette will also have nostalgic Arabic programming, broadcasting Arabic hits from the 1960s to the 1990s.

The two new stations are brand extensions of existing ARN properties Al Khaleejiya 100.9 and Al Arabiya 99. They will be available through those stations’ smartphone apps.

ARN has nine terrestrial stations, and last May launched another seven digital-only stations to complement its English, Hindi and Malayalam channels.Steve Smith, chief operating officer at ARN, says these served to drive up time spent listening (TSL) to the ARN network. Not only were audiences listening through their apps, often with their phones linked to car stereos, but following the launch listenership on terrestrial stations has risen too.

Smith told journalists he was expecting uptake across the new Arabic channels to be higher than the network had seen from its previous digital-only launches. The channels will appeal to an older, more nostalgic audience, and with songs that often last 10-12 minutes, the tracks the digital channels play won’t have to be cut down to accommodate commercial breaks.

The digital stations will carry advertising but, said Smith, their main role is to drive up TSL and keep listeners within ARN’s network. “We want to stretch [listeners],” he said. “To keep them within our ecosystem.”