Merge 104.8 transponder goes active. Hi FM shuffle their schedules.

It's been a while since I've posted anything, and for that, well I have a few nice things lined up for you to read this week and next. Starting with this...

By now you should all have heard about the new English language FM radio station due to open shortly here in the Sultanate. There is still no word on the official start date for this new station, headed up by previously popular on Dubai 92 FM & Coast 103.2 FM Disk Jockey, Chris Fisher.

I quite like the official logo for the new radio station, originally leaked by fellow blogger (and winner of Oman Collective Intelligence's Top 15 Oman Blogs list) (thanks for the #2 spot by the way OCI!) the Undercover Dragon from Muscat Confidential on the 10th of April.What do you guys think about it? It does kind of remind me of MTV Arabia's style though, but I like that so it's fine with me :)

The English language radio market here in Muscat is now about to get a little bit more competitive with the launch of this new station. Marketing budgets in the country are beginning to increase, with a noticeable increase in other than print media advertising from the Financial and Telecommunications sectors in the last 6 months.

The most competitive part of the day for these three English language radio stations here in Oman (Oman FM 90.4, Hi FM 95.9 and Merge 104.8) is naturally going to be the morning show. Which perhaps may be why Erin from Hi FM has switched from the evening show to the morning show (6-9), leaving Darren the 9-1 slot, Kathy in her usual afternoon slot and new Canadian DJ, Marcus is handling the afternoon rush hour show. So it would seem Hi FM is going for a more North American sounding brand of radio, even in a lot of the advertisements now, it features fairly prominently accents from across the Atlantic.

So we have Erin, seasoned from a spell in Egypt on Nile FM (and 17 years in the business), and Chris Fisher, experienced from 2 different radio stations up in the UAE (and has been working in radio since 1993) going up head to head. Radio Sultanate of Oman FM 90.4's morning lynchpin, Faiq Al Mugheiry (known as Faiq on the Mike) probably will not see too much of a change in his audience, as the younger demographic of the audience here in Oman have already switched over to Hi FM. So in my 5 minute analysis of the situation, it looks like Merge FM will either take listeners from Hi FM, switch from an Arabic station, or will have to convince potential listeners to turn on their radios and turn off their iPods on their way to work.

It'll be interesting to see, or rather, hear, what goes on in the next month or two as Merge launches onto the market. I'm guessing that there will be lots of give-aways. I'm also interested in how much it will cost to advertise on air now that there is direct competition.

As soon as I know the launch date for Merge 104.8, I'll let you all know, if you don't know before me!

le fin.
Merge 104.8 transponder goes active. Hi FM shuffle their schedules. Merge 104.8 transponder goes active. Hi FM shuffle their schedules. Reviewed by Sythe on Sunday, May 08, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Their target market is the locals (omanis and non omanis) 14-35

    Should be interesting indeed

  2. How can locals be Omani and non-Omani?!

    I think Merge will cause more English speaking Arabs to tune in to English radio as opposed to take too many listeners away from HiFM.
    There isn't a mature radio advertising market here so I suspect that going head to head would be fruitless for either of them so they will have their niche markets and concentrate on them. Any overlap should make sponsors jump either way but the smart ones will find more budget for a media which does work here at the moment.

    Chris is a good guy and I listened in when he was on air in Dubai but he has a very different style to Darren and Erin so it will work well. There is another girl on Merge who also has a good radio voice but don't know what her style is.

    Bottom line is it is good for us listeners but I'll keep the iPod on standby just in case....!

  3. Well, whoever has less ads and less talking will win my ears!

  4. We've already turned off Hi in the morning, the kids can't stand Erin, and the kids rule the dial.

  5. I agree, moving Erin to the morning show was not a good move

  6. Hey Sythe, thanks, and keep up entertaining with your blog...;)
    As of the new radio station i can only say, and agree with BigManInOman, that competition is healthy and will bring something different to all of us.

  7. Erin must have the worst radio voice/ personality around here. Its BBC World Service at 7 for me !!

    Looking forward to hearing what the new station is like.

  8. I like Erin- I think she brings a new dynamic to HiFM. I haven't heard much of the guy in the afternoon though, any thoughts on him?

  9. Erin's the best thing that's happened to HiFM. Full stop. :)

  10. The new morning show on Hifm is awful. Sorry Erin but you aren't what I want to listen to in the morning. I now drive to work in silence and have switched off Hifm. Hopefully the new station will bring new life to Oman.

  11. I love how the only posts on here are bashing people. Get a life. What a bunch of pathetic losers.

  12. To the negative posters on here, you should be ashamed of yourselves. I tried posting before but my comment never made it on here for some reason.
    I know Erin, and she is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet. It hurts me to see the negative comments on here so imagine how she would feel if she saw this garbage. I am going to guess the people commenting about how much they hate her are from the UK and not fond of the North American accent. So be it you have an option called during the radio off, but how dare you sit behind a computer and bash someone and better yet compare her to a radio station that isn't even on the air yet and presenters you haven't even heard. Is that fair? Hifm sounds 50 times better since she got here and I have listening since the station started up.
    For the record go read her blog on the hifm website and then you all will have a little clarity about why she was on in the morning.
    Hopefully after you read it you feel bad and think about your life and what it is lacking.
    As far as the new station, competition is good and having more choices is a great thing.
    I personally am looking forward to having other options but hifm will always be my first choice because they have been here for so long.

  13. Looks like HiFM have rethought their decison on Erin in the morning. Some guy called marcus was on yesterday who was equally as bad.

  14. Marcus is the new guy from Canada, he is on from 9.30 in the morning, and Darren is back on the morning show but finishing at 9am.

  15. With all the anonymous posters on here you really can't pinpoint one jerk, there is too many. To the negative posters on here that think it is "cool" to take a jab at someone on the radio you are weak and incredibly immature. Grow up get a life that doesn't involved being an online gangster and a tool.
    Seriously, how big do you have to be to bully someone on the internet? 10 Rials says if you met any of the presenters on HiFm in the street you wouldn't have the guts or the balls to even say anything to them anyhow.
    To everyone providing constructive critique well done you have proved that their is still intelligent life on earth, although lately I think it is few and far between in Muscat.

  16. "To take a jab at someone on the radio you are weak and incredibly immature".

    Not really. They are in the public eye so they should come to expect criticism good or bad.

  17. We are Organizing Battle of the Bands Muscat 2011 I hope you guys would come and attend i would also like Merge FM to take part of it. we got few bands now lining up hoping more to join to become the best Band in Oman.


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