MEDIA | Move over Britney, the oldies are back. Ahmad Humeid listens in on the newest Jordanian radio offering.
If you’ve been wondering what those billboards showing the portraits of a bunch of old pop stars are for, just turn your radio dial to 92 FM and you’ll know the answer.
I asked myself the same question when a record sleeve landed on my desk last week with the faces of John Lennon, Madonna, Elvis, Santana, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Bob Marley and Elton John printed on one side and a 50s-style retro chrome logo on the other.
“Maybe I’ve woken up in the wrong century,” I said to myself as I was pulling out a disc from the sleeve that first seemed to be a vinyl record, but then turned out to be a clever promotional gimmick for Mood FM, the newest private Radio station to hit our airwaves.
As soon I was in the car driving home that evening I tuned my radio to 92 FM and there it was. It only took me ten minutes to figure out what the people behind this new radio station are on to: of the eight stars depicted on the record sleeve, three are dead and the youngest (Madonna) is 46 years old. Now, listen to a few songs on Mood FM and there’s only one conclusion: “Oldies!”. And you know what? I think the concept will work.
Move over Britney. Out of the way Sean Paul and get out of here Eminem. You guys aren’t part of the mood of Amman’s thirty to forty-something, affluent, westernised demographic. I am guessing that this is who Mood FM is targeting: West Amman’s new to not-so-new mummies and daddies driving to and from work. And why not. These people grew up with Radio Jordan before it was invaded by Arabic (and Turkish) pop, in the days before the staff was totally Jordanized. It’s those people who have money to spend, unlike those new teenagers who spend all their money on Nokia 6600s and SMS chatting and who listen to 50 Cents.
What you’ll get on Mood FM is mainstream, easy listening, pop hits from the 50s till the 80s, played back to back 24/7 without the intervention (till now, at least) of DJs. My wife and I had a good laugh in the car the other day singing along a really cheesy hit that we both hate but know the complete lyrics for! If that isn’t entertainment, I don’t know what is. And when I’m sick of hearing all the bad news on the BBC, Mood FM is good Nancy-Ajram free zone to escape to. From time to time, a good U2 or Police song comes along. I really can’t complain.
It’s interesting to watch the new Jordanian radio landscape unfolding. The new entrants like Mood FM (other will follow soon) seem to be playing it safe. In theory, a station like Mood FM, that broadcasts only in Amman, needs nothing more than a PC with an additional broadcasting box, a transmission antenna and a huge library of MP3’s. And as more stations join the game, specialization is starting to emerge.
Legal roadblocks have prevented a radio (and TV) broadcasting industry to develop in Jordan over the past decades. That is definitely changing. A new media market is being created and competition will hopefully be good for the consumer.
If I do have a complaint about Mood FM then it’s about their slogan ‘music to your mood’. If I really want music to my mood, then I’ll get an iPod MP3 player, load it up with my kind of music and connect it to my car radio. In fact Apple and BMW have just announced an alliance to integrate the iPod into the new BMW models as an option. So, my personal slogan for Mood FM is: “Music that reminds me of my receding hairline’!