As the UAE acclimatises to a new world of working from home, social distancing and enforced isolation, radio reaffirms its strength as a hugely valuable source of information, reassurance, company and, most importantly, fun. Radio is one of the most trusted and accessible forms of media, so it is perhaps unsurprising that many more people are tuning in right now and listening figures are rapidly rising.
Capital Radio UAE has just received its latest listening figures from radio auditing company Nielsen, and the average numbers are now in excess of 555,000 listeners each day, peaking at 581,000 on Sundays at 6pm for the Everything UAE segment. This is a like-for-like increase of nearly 30 per cent from the previous quarter. An increase in listener numbers has been experienced by many stations, in the UK and globally, although not to quite the same level. The amount of time people spend listening to the radio has also increased to an average of more than eight hours each day.
Capital Radio UAE, which relaunched in September 2018, is a national and global digital UAE English language radio station, playing much-loved ‘feel good’ songs largely from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, plus a few of today’s hits combined with personality presenters. Capital Radio UAE is targeted at the age 35-plus expat demographic.
The Drive Time Show is hosted by Roger Paine, who is also the Director of Programming, and his show, which is broadcast live from Sunday to Thursday, 4pm to 8pm (UAE time), attracts the peak number of daily listeners. Paine stated: “Music is a great companion and plays a vital part in everyone’s everyday life. We all enjoy a bit of nostalgia and some feel-good music to serve as a welcome distraction and to lift spirits in these testing times. Music transcends cultures and barriers and, with the UAE enjoying such a cosmopolitan and diverse population, there is something for everyone on Capital. Listeners also get to choose the playlist on some of our shows.”
The Drive Time Show has a number of daily segments, with the most popular being Everything UAE with resident expert Keren Bobker. This covers a variety of issues related to living in the UAE. The segment is available as a podcast for 28 days following broadcast and holds both the station’s record for listeners (581,000) and the download record as well. The broadcasts on issues related to COVID-19 on 22 and 29 March 2020 were each downloaded over 56,000 times – an extremely significant result for Capital Radio UAE.
While many of the songs played may be retro, the broadcasting technology used by Capital is state-of the art. Capital can be listened to in digital quality online at www.cruae.ae or on the free-to-listen mobile apps such as My Tuner Radio [https://mytuner-radio.en.softonic.com] or on any smart speaker or Alexa. The station is working on also broadcasting in FM and DAB in the near future.
Paine also highlights that when the Coronavirus pandemic ends, all UAE business will need to very quickly promote and market their products and services. “Radio in the UAE is still the most popular form of media, reaching an incredible 95 per cent of the population every week,” notes the passionate presenter.
Statistics from other global radio stations have also reported substantial online listening increases as the world adopts to remote working and social isolation.