OCV Photo / Flickr
OCV Photo / Flickr
After 10 months of airing mostly classical music and community interviews, QF Radio’s English- and Arabic-language stations are launching a new show schedule.
The Qatar Foundation-funded stations have been in flux since December, after several of its programs were suddenly taken off air amid a shakeup that resulted in the firing of at least a dozen people.
Now, after months of discussion, the stations, which are on 91.7FM and 93.7FM, are back with a new community focus, and a mix of shows and music from all over the world.
One of the new programs, for example, is “The Debate Show,” in which Education City students discuss current events with a live audience. The program will air from 7 to 8pm on Sundays and is hosted by local comedian Hamad Al Amari.
Other new programs include:
- Connect, a weekly show about trending topics on social media;
- Creative Endeavors, in which students and faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar explore how creativity enriches lives through interviews, discussions and events;
- Inside Music, which will be produced and presented by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and educate listeners about the history of classical and world music; and
- The Silver Screen, which will explore cinematography of classic and newly released movies through interviews with actors, directors and others.
Laura Finnerty QF Radio
Nabil Al Nashar QF Radio
Each will debut in English and Arabic.
QF Radio is also re-introducing the popular afternoon “Drive Show,” which will once again be hosted by Nabil Al Nashar from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
Additionally, the morning show “Rise,” which Doha News is featured in once a week, has been extended again to two hours, airing from 6:30am to 8:30am with hosts Scotty Boyes and Laura Finnerty.
Many Qatar residents – especially those stuck in traffic – have long complained that English-language radio stations here leave much to be desired.
One reason for this may be a lack of competition.
In 2012, the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage pledged to award more licenses to private companies to launch radio stations, following the passage of the new media law. But that law is still under consideration, and licenses remain difficult to obtain.
That leaves residents with a handful of options, including listening to Al Jazeera English on the radio, or tuning into QBS Radio. French station Oryx FM also plays the occasional English-language song, as does US-based Radio Sawa.
Due to the lack of listening options, when QF Radio relaunched in February 2013, the station received a warm reception. At the time, “shows on innovation, technology, sport and current events” were promised.
But less than a year later, most of the shows were taken off air. QF Radio officials did not comment on the move, but employees at the time suggested that management wanted shows to focus more on QF itself.
In that vein, Mohammed Al Beshri, QF’s Media Center manager, said in a statement that this season’s focus would be “to plant and nurture strong traditional values within the nation’s youth,” and one way of doing this will be to teach students how to produce and present their own radio shows.
No Justin Bieber
Speaking to Doha News this week, Boyes said that he was excited about the changes, and expressed confidence that the programming wouldn’t have to be retooled again.
Scotty Boyes QF Radio
“Of course, we’re all pretty nervous about how the audience will respond, but that just comes with the territory when you’re creating something from nothing and laying it out for everyone to judge…
The direction we are taking with the station is as a direct result of countless meetings and proposals with all concerned parties and QF management. I’m confident we are satisfying the vision of those involved in the decision making process and I think once the ball is rolling that QF Radio will be an asset to the community and to Qatar as a country.”
With regards to the music that will be played on the station, Boyes said that current pop hits wouldn’t be featured. He explained:
“You can expect a wide variety of music from around the world and various genres. For those looking for the latest Justin Bieber track, they will be disappointed….
But we are trying to strike a delicate balance of good music that is both entertaining and also teaches you something about the world, a people, and their culture. Ultimately, we are a talk radio station, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and keep people coming back for more with a wide variety of entertainment.”
Do you plan to tune in? Thoughts?