In local business magazine, Business Today, the Best Brands survey results for 2011 were published recently, you can buy it for RO 1.500 from most shops that sell magazines. In it, it reported that Hi FM had 39% of all expatriates polled for which radio station they listened to, whereas Merge had 5%. Quite the difference indeed, and amongst the Omani people polled, Hi FM had 13% of the vote versus Merge's 3%.
|A rare snap of Darren attempting to fit the mic in his mouth|
Now, here on Ze Blog I have run 2 polls asking you what you listened too, and both times (once when Merge launched, and again 2 months in) Hi FM were still the clear winner. Another way to look at things is that Merge have captured 5% of the expatriate market when they had 0% previously. But still, I'd imagine there are some uncomfortable people at Sabco at the moment, it's a fairly poor performance, especially after all the hype last year. Its a shame the data doesnt have some time relativity with it, but thankfully, you readers helped out and we have our own set of data - it seems people tuned in when Merge launched, but then went back to other stations or MP3's or whatever after some time. The real stinger for Merge is that this a publicly published poll and you have to assume advertising clients will consider this when making the decision to advertise with Merge or Hi FM.
Hi FM had probably their strongest year last year, closing some major advertising deals, the arrival of Marcus and a string of successful music concerts held in conjunction with Alive Events. It seems that Darren, Erin, Kathy & Marcus are dominating Chris, Rummy, Sayeh and Sami at the moment, lets see what Chris and his rebel alliance pull out of the hat this year.
Even the Ewoks over on Oman FM 90.4 (can you believe they still dont have a website?!) have got 17% of the expat audience and 27% of the Omani audience - destroying even Hi FM's audience base amongst Omanis. And rumours are circulating that Oman FM is about to get a total overhaul and new management (some sort of split, or re-positioning) from it's parent Ministry.
|Oman FM's boom mike left a lot to be desired|
So the big question for Radio in the Sultanate for 2012 is, will the Ewoks wake up and recognize their share of the audience and modernize their radio station? I wonder if they will hire in a Chewbacca to give them some new blood or carry on as they are? One could argue that they don't care and will just rumble on, I'd like to see them leverage their position and present a better polished range of shows. Perhaps better production of their shows, and perhaps they could try transmitting in true Stereo instead of the maxed out - defaulted to Mono - nonsense that they currently broadcast in. Perhaps they will even get a website!
Hi FM have continued to innovate, and have now rolled out Radio Text for those of you with fancy enough radio's in your cars. The title of the track being played pops up on the radio, and cycles with the name of the radio show being broadcast at the time - a nice touch and sets them technically above the rest.
Dont forget, I'm currently giving away 2 VIP tickets worth RO 100 to see James Blunt live in concert on February 15th - you gotta be in it to win it, so enter now!