Dance music has a new home on UAE radio, and it’s Dance FM 97.8. The station, owned by Raed Zidan and Theo Makris, launched last Sunday with the goal of playing virtually non-stop dance hits. Digby Taylor, head of the station, told tabloid! what listeners can expect — that includes a little ol’ weekly show produced by David Guetta.
What is Dance FM?
A unique station playing dance and house music. It’s a feel-good station — every song is designed to make you smile.
Is this something you’ve wanted to do for a while now?
Oh yeah, big time. A lot of stations, they’ll play a little bit of dance music, or they’ll have specialist shows, but nobody is broadcasting a format [like this]. We looked at it and said, ‘This is what people are really missing in radio at the moment.’
We would have liked to have done this a long time ago. Radio listenership in the UAE is very high compared to other developed countries of the world. People listen to a lot of radio; I suppose a lot of it has to do with our driving times — people are stuck in cars a lot longer. I must stress that at this moment, we’re still in our soft launch phase. The real major launch is in a few weeks.
So, what is going to be the format of the station?
At the moment, we’re broadcasting big mixes. In the day, there will be a tremendous breakfast show. We’re trying to keep it as much music as possible during the day. [W]e just believe that while the rest of the world is talking about doom and gloom, in the UAE, you’ve got Dance FM, which wants to make you feel right about life.
Will there be interviews as well?
Yeah, most definitely. International DJs will be presenting weekly shows on Dance FM. I don’t mind saying David Guetta is one of them ... He produces his show and we broadcast it. We signed the contract with him a couple of weeks ago.
I also want to mention, every evening, from 8 o’clock, we will be having live sessions at the studio. It’s for local DJs — so the guys who are working in all the big clubs in the nightlife scene in the UAE [including Audio Tonic and Smokingroove]. They’ll come in and do their sets. We’ve invested a lot in video technology in our studios, so you’ll be able to follow everything with live video streams. Nobody else is doing this. We welcome hearing from local DJs, because we really want to create an academy for budding artists so that they’ve finally got a place that they can call home.
Who’s in charge of programming the music?
We have a head of music at the station, Ala Ben Amor, who’s a dance music fanatic to say the least.
You mentioned a lot of EDM artists come through Dubai. Will you be capitalising on that?
Very much so. The nice thing [about] the UAE, as we all know, it’s incredibly vibrant. We will be right in the centre of it. So when major DJ artists are in town, they will feature very heavily on Dance FM.
Finally, what’s the best time to tune in?
24 hours a day. You know what we like to say? This is now the cure for traffic jams in the UAE — this means now, it’s a pleasure to be stuck in traffic.