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FM Radio in the Arab World 2012

A new report from the consultancy Arab Advisors Group (AAG) gives a detailed picture of the FM radio stations landscape in the Arab World.

The 85-page report  provides a detailed analysis of the FM Radio regulations and landscape in 19 Arab countries – Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (UAE),  Yemen, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine and Sudan. The report includes analysis and profiles of the main FM radio stations (private and state owned) in the region.

The research reveals that 210 local government-owned FM radio stations broadcast in 14 Arab countries by December 2011, compared to 72 private radio stations. The report also analyses 7 regional radio stations that broadcast on FM frequencies in multiple countries. These regional stations raise the total number of FM radio stations to 289 in 14 Arab countries by end of 2011.

Liberalization in several Arab countries was a key factor for the growth in private FM radio stations. Still, out of the 19 countries covered in the report, three do not allow private radio stations, namely: Qatar, UAE, and Yemen. Mauritania and Algeria allowed the licensing of private radio stations in 2011, however, by end of 2011, there were still no private radio stations broadcasting in these countries. 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 that broadcast in Arabic, English, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and Persian.

Algeria has the highest number of government FM Radio Stations with 53 state-owned radio stations. The UAE follows with 38 state-owned radio stations. On the opposite side, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine lead all the analyzed Arab countries with the number of private radio stations