Abu Dhabi: A Dubai-based Malayalam FM radio station, catering to Indian expatriates from the south Indian state of Kerala, has shut down its operations.
Radio Mango 96.2, launched in August 2014, stopped broadcasting regular programmes in the middle of this month. The station had announced its closure in a full-page advertisement on January 18 in Malayala Manorama, the Malayalam daily published by the same management, without mentioning any reason. The station is still broadcasting songs with a frequent message of thanks to the listeners.
An official comment from the station was not available.
Malayalam radio professionals in the UAE who spoke to Gulf News on Tuesday said drop in advertisement revenue has posed a challenge to the sector, which might have caused the closure of the station.
They said a Dubai-based Malayalam AM radio station, using an Abu Dhabi broadcasting frequency, is facing an uncertain future as it has stopped broadcasting regular programmes recently after terminating the jobs of many staff members. A senior executive of the station did not respond to a request for comment.
Radio Mango is the second Malayalam radio station in the UAE, which was closed down in the past one year. Voice of Kerala 1152 AM based in Ras Al Khaimah was closed down in early 2018.
An industry expert said Radio Mango’s closure was in a dignified manner with a proper announcement in the management’s own newspaper. “It was responsible and respectful manner also. Some radio channels in the UAE had shut down without making an announcement or revealing anything to the public. One fine morning listeners found that their favourite channel went off air!” said Nissar Sayed, managing director of Asia Vision, a Dubai-based content and advertisement provider to Malayalam radios for 15 years.
He said the radio industry in the UAE still has a huge potential because this is the most radio-friendly country in the region. “However, the problem is quality of the broadcasting frequency and lack of proper content. A huge chunk of the population is spending a big amount of their time in vehicles, listening to radios. If you provide suitable content that matches their mood, attitude and mindset, radios can still succeed,” Sayed said.
Advertisement revenue is still not an issue as many new retailers have emerged in the market, he said. “For example, of around 50 small and medium electronic brands in the UAE, only three or four of them give ads on radio. The rest of them can be potential advertisers who have not been utilised yet,” Sayed said.