346 FM radio stations broadcast in 18 Arab countries: Private FM radio stations constitute 48% of the total local stations
New Arab Advisors Group’s research revealed that 338 local FM radio stations broadcast in 18 Arab countries, by July 2009. The regional landscape varies widely: Algeria and the UAE have the highest number of local government-owned FM radio stations while Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon have the highest number of private local radio stations. The research revealed 8 regional radio stations that broadcast on FM frequencies in multiple countries. These regional stations raise the total of FM radio stations to 346 FM radio stations in the 18 covered countries.
Liberalization in several Arab countries was a key factor for the growth in private FM radio stations. Out of the 18 countries, five do not allow private radio stations, with Libya and Oman being the latest to liberalize their markets in 2006. In addition to the liberalization of the sector, the need to broadcast in multiple languages to cater for expatriates enhances the number of FM radio stations even in countries where private FM radio stations do not exist. The UAE is a clear example of this as it hosts FM radio stations broadcasting in Arabic, English, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu and Filipino.
A new report, “FM Radio in the Arab World 2009” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Media Strategic Research Service subscribers on October 22, 2009. The 81-page report, which has 42 detailed exhibits, provides a detailed analysis of the FM Radio regulations and landscape in the 18 Arab countries of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. The report includes analysis and profiles of the main FM radio stations (private and state owned) in the region.
“State-owned radio stations in the Arab World still outnumber private radio stations, although the number of private ones is growing and approaching the number of state-owned radio stations.” Mrs. Faten Bader, Arab Advisors senior research analyst wrote in the report. “State-owned radio stations reached 176 by July 2009, up from 157 stations by February 2008, a growth rate of 12.10%. Private radio stations increased from 150 stations by February 2008 to 162 by July 2009, translating into a growth rate of 8%.”
“Algeria ranks first with 50 state-owned radio stations (28.41% of the total number of state-owned radio stations). The UAE follows with 24 state-owned radio stations. On the opposite side, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine lead all Arab countries with the number of private radio stations.” Mrs. Bader added.