Capital Radio: new UAE radio station tunes in

English-language station will play classic hits from the '60s, '70s and '80s

"Professional microphone, nikon d2x" Getty Images

One of Abu Dhabi’s pioneering radio brands is set to return, chasing an audience of one million listeners.

Capital Radio was on the air throughout the emirate for 20 years from 1979 and is fondly remembered by many of its listeners.

Now, Capital Radio is set to launch across the country from 4pm on September 2.

The station will focus on classic tracks from the 1960s, '70s and '80s as well as featuring competitions, news and interviews.

"We all enjoy a bit of nostalgia," said Roger Paine, the man behind the new venture. "This type of music will be the main base of our music policy and I'm excited to be heading up and presenting 'drive time' on this new station."

Capital Radio will initially begin broadcasting online only. But FM frequencies and Digital Audio Broadcasts are expected to follow within a few months.

When plans to broadcast on DAB are finalised, it will be the first radio station available on digital in the UAE. DAB has been tested in the emirate but is not yet commercially available.

On Monday, Mr Paine, a former station manager and presenter during the original station's heyday, revealed the new station, which has no direct commercial link with the original, aimed to target listeners over the age of 35.

He said he believed there remained a huge demand for classic music to serve this demographic in the UAE, which he estimated at about one million people.

Station bosses said regulators have now approved the station and financial backers are secured.

Capital Radio will be based at studios in the TwoFour54 building in Abu Dhabi and every Sunday, contributor to The National Keren Bobker will do a 30-minute slot on everything you need to know about living and working in the UAE.

Other shows will include “sounds of the '50s”, and a dedicated what’s on in the UAE guide.

The station will broadcast 24 hours a day with automated back-to-back music running from 8pm to 6am.

Mr Paine, now the programme director for the new Capital Radio, also presented shows on the UAE’s Radio 2 between 2002 and 2010.

“I’m nervous but also I’m excited,” said Mr Paine, who is known on air as "Young Roge", regarding the new station’s launch.

The latest survey of radio stations in the UAE found that close to eight million people a week tuned in across the country during April, May and June this year.

Of this figure, 79 per cent listened through an AM/FM device, while 36 per cent listened on their mobiles.

The survey also found that 64 per cent of listeners tuned in from 8pm onwards. FM radio remains indispensable for many people in the UAE. There are scores of stations catering for expatriates from India to the Philippines. The Arabia Radio Network, for example, has nine FM stations with more than 4.5 million weekly listeners. Last year, Abu Dhabi Media relaunched classic stations Radio 1 and 2 from the capital.


Read more: 

Dismayed Abu Dhabi listeners launch battle to keep BBC World Service on the airwaves

How the voices of Radio 1 and 2 find ways to relate to the UAE audience