Industry Snapshot with Pulse 95 Radio’s Saif Juma & Mohammed Yanez

Interview with Saif Juma, Station director & Mohammed Yanez, Programme and creative director - Pulse 95 Radio, part of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority

Saif Juma Station director at Pulse 95 Radio, part of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority
Mohammed Yanez, Programme and creative director at Pulse 95 Radio, part of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority








How are you seeing radio and audio consumption change?

Radio is alive and well. That is reflected in the high number of radio stations available in the UAE. The traditional linear consumption of radio is still healthy among the adult-format stations. Non-linear consumption of radio and audio among the new generation and younger audience is fast moving towards other platforms such as streaming, podcasts and digital platforms, where the convenience of stopping, skipping and fast-forwarding is possible. This method of radio and audio consumption is increasing day by day, which is forcing radio broadcasters to modify their formats to stay in touch with the changing trends.

What changes are you seeing in the way marketers use radio and audio advertising?

Radio advertisements haven’t changed much despite the diversion of marketing budgets after digital and social media were introduced. The radio advertisement is still strong. This is proved by the fact that on some radio stations in the UAE the ad breaks can exceed four minutes of back-to-back intense commercials for different brands. Such long ad breaks can be exhausting for a listener trying to process the information, and listeners may lose focus after hearing a few ads or even switch to a different radio station. This results in marketers losing the opportunity to get their message heard.

What is the biggest challenge in radio today and how are you tackling it?

For any radio station in the UAE market, reaching the desired target audience is always a great challenge. There are a number of radio stations locally sharing the same format (music format, playlist and the same entertainment news), and they share the same target audience as well, which makes it hard for listeners to differentiate between the radio stations. What Pulse 95 Radio offers is a unique format of light talk: current affairs, business, lifestyle and news.

Music is the main attraction for radio listeners and we adapted a unique music format, the acoustic genre, for our music policy, which is feel-good and easy-listening. We are the only radio station in the UAE, and probably in the region, to adapt such a unique music format, offering listeners hit acoustic covers.

What changes in radio and audio media and advertising are you most excited to see in the next couple of years?

The biggest challenge that faces radio stations is to maintain the non-linear listeners and adapt to the change needed creatively to keep them loyal to their favourite radio station.

Radio stations are still at early stages in adapting to change. At Pulse 95 Radio, we are working in parallel, introducing visual content to accommodate social media users as well as radio-wave listeners.

How is digital media changing radio as a medium?

The added benefits of digital platforms are key to our current audience reach and future reward. It’s exciting to see that the combination of radio audio with visual content via social media platforms is the next big growth step. It’s basically forcing broadcasters to come up with creative ways to entertain, inform and satisfy listeners and advertisers.

Our visual and social media teams are an extension of our on-air team, providing custom-made content for social media platforms as a response to digital media consumption.

How are consumers changing the way they listen to content?

With the presence of social and digital media platforms and smart devices, consumers can access their favourite radio content anywhere around the globe. They can do this not only through traditional radio waves, but also through live online streaming and podcasts.

Radio consumers mostly are the same audiences that have access to social and digital media. They receive info on their devices about topics that matter to them. This forces radio presenters and producers to change the way radio content is produced, by researching and looking for content that appeals to the listener and making that piece of information more fun and interesting than reading it on a device would be. They add a human touch and discuss the subject from different angles.

What advice would you give to marketers looking to reach people with audio content?

Marketers who are looking to keep the effectiveness of their messages using radio must stay unique in their audio approach.

Marketers should keep their radio communication defined, short, creative and ear-catching with a variety of different messages instead of a heavy 30 second ad.

At Pulse 95 Radio, we house a dynamic, creative and extremely talented team of world-class radio producers and creative script writers as well as professional international voice-over talents from different ethnicities and accents representing the multi-cultural communities living in the UAE.