Dubai Consumer Mirror

Monday, October 31, 2005

Turn that Radio off please!

Radio broadcast industry in Dubai have picked in the last couple of years. The introduction of ARN has also spiced up the competition by adding 4 or 5 new station to the airwaves. Today, if you tune into any station, you can listen to programs, talk shows, news analysis, competitions ..etc. Unlike the good old days when FM was only music, news maybe once or twice a day, then more music (i miss that sometimes).

One thing i am sure everyone has noticed lately is the annoying frequency of radio spots. They are just too many. I once counted the number of radio ads aired straight in a raw; 4 minutes! Thats an average of 8 friggen spots.

That doesn't bother me all the time, as some of the ads are entertaining, well thought of and produced and sometimes carry a jingle that could stick in your head for the rest of the week.

Sadly though, its more then often that i have to suffer from really RAELLY bad quality radio ads. Where do i start from? how about insulting to the human intellect, really bad choice of Arabic or English messages, bad grammar, annoying jingles .... (i can go on!)

But what REALLY bothers me about radio advertising in the UAE is mainly two things. (1) how racist some of radio spots can be and (2) the lack of public service ads.

I will write more about (2) in a following post. But as for (1), some radio stations productions really need to attend a couple of cultural sensitivity training session to know a bit more about affirmative action and culture, racial and sexual stereotyping, discrimination and tolerance.

Here are some examples:

1. In several food stuff ads (especially products targeted to the UAE national consumer), you hear the VO of subcon-arabic speaker talks about his bosses infatuation with [insert BRAND X of rice, chicken, tea ...etc], and how his "ARBAB" will kick his ass if he doesn't prepare [BRAND X] well enough..

2. In a fast food restaurant ad, its always a a Tagalog-english speaker taking orders and asking questions like: "you want flens flyiz with dat?" or "you want up-size?"

3. In the majority of radio ads, women do nothing but shop or tell their husbands about a shop or a mall on SALE..

4. All cab drivers speak in either Urdu-English or Urdu-Arabic!

... there is a lot more ..

So, could anyone please inform these radio producers and their clients that they are walking on really thin ice and a big fat legal suit is waiting at the bottom of that deep pond?

sheeesh!

14 Comments:

  • Legal action? Not a chance.

    Public outrage? People have to be united to be outraged about anything.

    By Blogger marwan, at October 31, 2005 at 4:17 AM  

  • i wrote a letter to 7days a while back concerning the quality of radio advertisments;
    someone actually responded saying "its what the public want"
    yeah. right.

    By Blogger samuraisam, at October 31, 2005 at 9:24 AM  

  • just push the button.
    I only listen to Dubai eye early morning till about 10 am, then I switch over to my own collection. I listen to music, story books and when stuck in a 3 hour gridlock I turn on the dvd player. Somehow watching Meet the fockers makes the beeping, sweating rude drivers just blend into the distance.


    CG

    By Blogger CG, at October 31, 2005 at 10:04 AM  

  • I can excuse poor quality ads - at the end of the day, its only damaging the brand its promoting - Its the racist ones i detaste.

    Sam, CG - you can not imagine how lucky you are for not having to put up with Arabic radio ads ... The English speaking ones, as bad as they can be sometiems, are FAR better produced than Arabic ones

    By Blogger moryarti, at October 31, 2005 at 10:22 AM  

  • Solution: iPod + FM/Cassette Adapter.

    Result!

    By Blogger marwan, at November 1, 2005 at 3:48 AM  

  • i actually got the sony walkman (that tiny one) - its not bad at all..

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 1, 2005 at 9:35 AM  

  • I got a zero brand one (dead cheapo) and an equally cheap transmitter....works better than my friends ipod...

    By Blogger CG, at November 1, 2005 at 1:20 PM  

  • pfft. i top it all.
    I never ever ever listen to radio in dubai.

    never.

    in the car, even though i dont drive, i am always the passenger, if anyone turns on the radio, they get a big slap upside the head.

    Dubai's radio stations play the worst music, and the worst mixes ever.

    By Blogger samuraisam, at November 1, 2005 at 4:29 PM  

  • DJ Moe, Channel4 evening show, need I say more!

    By Blogger desertblog, at November 1, 2005 at 9:16 PM  

  • I've met one of the 'radio DJs' here at an event, he thought of himself as quite the celebrity! Back home he was probably only a cleaner at the radio HQ, the bumbling fool.

    By Blogger nonpretender, at November 3, 2005 at 8:51 PM  

  • You want to talk radio?

    Here's the problem with radio in the Emirates:

    Censorship. Regulation. Lack of discrete listener groups. Transient populaces.

    We get offended on behalf of the sub-cons, but they represent the largest group in the country and they don't take offense. I hate educating black/brown/beige people why they shouldn't use the "n" word regardless of what coast of hip-hop they are fans of. Sometimes, it's just too much to take on when the guy you convince leaves the very next day for foreign shores only to be replaced with a new guy who you have to re-educate.

    You want better radio? Invest in India.

    Plus: As someone who lived in the west I am very aware of the fear that if you allow a little racism you might get allot. But I don't think we have that problem here. Despite the jokes and teasing and ribbing most easterners do not have truly racist inclination (they are usually more drawn along the lines of religion). A Jordanian might make fun of an Indian accent but he will never get his friends together and go "paki-bashing" (a distinctly European hobby).

    Then again, if purse strings get tight here the chances that all out racial war breaks out will increase dramatically and stamping out any potential seedlings of racial discontent now is sound long term planning.

    By Blogger The Devil's Advocate, at November 7, 2005 at 1:30 PM  

  • I have to agree with most of you here, and frankly the only good thing about radio in the UAE, are the one or two English stations that have an absolute resemblance to Canadian and American broadcasting styles, in terms of keeping the morning humorous and not a time where you have to listen to cranky old F#^7's bombarding us with their parking and driving experiences.

    Frankly I don't give a rat's ass if Garhoud is blocked 110% of the time, take your crap else where and save me the unconsciously inflicted fury in the morning.

    All i'm saying is that Radio does inflict certain emotions and moods in the morning and evening for that matter, and given the traffic conditions, so lets keep it light, fun and OMG people, loosen up, its only radio, learn to get some kicks out of it.

    By Blogger Makdeez, at November 8, 2005 at 8:57 AM  

  • in the old days ( i seem to be reminiscing a lot here) Dubai 92 was a pretty good station. not much talk shows but at least good decent music to cater to most tastes..

    Now the only time I listen to the radio is in my car. mostly 99.3 or 103.80 , Driving back in the evenings Legends the sports program is pretty decent to listen to.
    not all radio is bad...but as desert blogger said DJ Moe.. FFS !!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 10, 2005 at 11:25 AM  

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