Ritesh Jaswani, one of the founders of Campus Radio, has set up Campus Radio’s studio at his home in Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Campus Radio, the UAE's first student online radio station run by students for students, aims to unify the country's diverse student community like never before.

Ritesh Jeswani, 21, and Mohammad Ali Jamada, 22, are now awaiting their graduation certificates, but as students at MAHE Manipal University in Dubai International Academic City, they always felt their experience lacked a little something.

"The idea was to create a student platform and community using radio as a medium because university life is the same across the country," said Jeswani.

He said university students in the UAE do not get the same experience of extra curricular activities as their counterparts in other countries.

Jamada explained that students in the UAE do not feel much change while transitioning from secondary school to university.

"Growing up here I was exposed to western media so I grew to expect certain things I wanted from campus life, like independence, freedom and student discounts," said Jamada. "I expected to manage my own money, take care of my own house, do my own laundry and wash my own dishes," he added. "But what happens to students who stay here to do their undergrad is they spend their entire schooling and university life at home with their parents… so the transition from school to university is non-existent," said Jamada.

Bedroom studio

Streaming online 24/7 at www.campusradio.me, the station is broadcast from Jeswani's bedroom. "It's a studio with a bed," joked Jamada. "I have over 19 people coming in and out of my room every day but my parents are cool, they are very supportive of the idea," said Jeswani.

With an initial team of just five students and start up capital of Dh10,000 — the bulk of which was spent on a Dh8,000 laptop to store music — the pair now has a team of 24 volunteering students and an average of 10,000 weekly listeners from across the globe. "Because we stream online we get weekly statistics and demographics. When we first launched in April 2010, we had 75 listeners in our first week," said Jamada. "[But] last week we had about 9,500 listeners," he added. "While a majority of our listeners are in the UAE, we have a handful of dedicated listeners in Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman," said Jeswani. "We also have a lot of international listeners from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Europe and Slovenia, because our music content is not limited to the top 40," he added.

"The idea was to create a student platform and community using radio as a medium because university life is the same across the country."

- Ritesh Jeswani, co-founder of Campus Radio