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Friday, September 17, 2021

QF Radio launches new programming, still won’t play Justin Bieber

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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
Laura Finnerty

Nabil Al Nashar
Nabil Al Nashar

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.

Trying again

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
Scotty Boyes

“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?

35 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Well QBS radio still thinks it is 1974 and Elvis is still alive along with expats who have been in the middle east for at least 25 years whose clock stopped the moment they boarded the plan to Qatar and QF is just down right boring and repetitive. Radio stations are there to play the stuff people want to hear, not to play the stuff they think they want to hear or believe they should be listening too.

Luckily there is a solution. Radio app on your Iphone or Android device and stream whatever radio station you like through your car. (If you have bluetooth). Yes, that means if you are sadistic you can listen to Justin Beiber if you want.

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Just a few admin points… Elvis was still alive in 1974 and 25 years after 1974 was 1999, hope you are not still living in the past yourself 😉

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

Actually that was the whole point, I picked 1974 as Elvis was still alive and the quote on expats being here for 25 years is not directly linked to 1974…..

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Dont worry pal.. was just joking with you… i was fully on board with your irony 🙂

DB
DB
6 years ago

I always enjoyed listening to Scotty and Laura on Rise. Sadly now I can’t listen on my way to work as I leave the house at 8:30. Go till 9, guys!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

I stopped listening to the radio here a few years back. You can live stream ‘real’ radio from other countries, or download podcasts to play on your iPhone in your car.

Trying to figure out what will appeal to such a diverse audience as Qatar’s will be an almost impossible challenge. I know what I like to listen to, and that’s what I download. If QBS is able to offer me something as good what I can get from NPR, PRI, WNYC, KCRW, BBC World Service, etc, I’ll be happy.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Agreed. Anything is better than QBS. It makes you feel like you’re living in groundhog day – same music and commentary. “A big shout out to…”, “We’re into the last hour of the show…” (Hooray I cheer), “Send in your tweets, comments and dedications…” BUT not if you’re with Vodafone (what??????).

They could seriously play the same show the next day and nobody would notice. One of the DJs was late once and they just played tracks back to back. This was a huge improvement.

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

They could have played the same show every day and I’d never notice the difference. It’s all Internet-based or device-based listening for me. Sorry, but I cannot listen to them talk on one hand about morality and virtue and on the other hand play songs about hitting it from behind.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

It is the obsession with national values and culture that is ruining things. The radio is not the place to teach this stuff. If you are really that concerned with traditional values then get your kids out of land cruisers and get them out on a dhow diving for pearls. That would be much more useful and is also exercise. Leave the radio to those who know how to run it properly.

Enceladus
Enceladus
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Chapeau!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

I loved listening to the Islamic show during Ramadan on the way into work. One program was giving the reasons when it was acceptable to kill others but only non-believers. Then a booming voice comes on at the end and says thank you for listening to Islam Today. The Religion of Peace and Love. No need to watch TV when you have comedy gold like that.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Thing is it is in English, it is targeting the expats.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

When my wife was over due.. I made her listen to that Arabic lady DJ on 97.5 … It helped induce labour …. Do people on 97.5 not realize how bad they are?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I guess this is the only place in the world they could get a job as a ‘DJ’. I assume they don’t get paid for it or that would be a double crime. I did like the mentally handicapped guy who did the news in the morning as this was caring for the community but I guess they killed him now.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I love it when they do the fake interviews.. They have prerecorded responses by celebrities and scripted questions to ask… God if you hear it your eyes start to bleed… And your brain starts to melt out of your ears

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

they are stuck in the 70s

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I fear not. I amuse myself by imagining them ‘high fiving’ each other in the green room after a ‘great’ show. LOL. ‘Caught In A Time Warp’ is a phrase that defines them perfectly. And don’t get me started on their news bulletins. Excrutiating.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

Then they all go to Starbucks together and check their Facebook status … Lol too easy

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago

I heard QBS play the same song twice on my way to work this morning. a few weeks ago i send a stream of text to them complaining about the show. the producer called me up and told me not to text in and that i had no right to complain. that the number was only there for people to send in requests.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

Whats the number? Hope he calls me.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

Seriously? Lol. Give us the number. I would love to have him ring me.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

I’ll be sure to tune in at night when I need to go to sleep

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

Does this station also report the important news of the day, such as ‘Cables of good wishes’?

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Don’t forget the “matters of mutual concern”.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

And ways of enhancing cooperation. However we only get this juicy news after reading 20 names each being 10 words long.

Daniel K
Daniel K
6 years ago

lol, good one

Big Biker
Big Biker
6 years ago

I used to be able to receive the morning show from Dubai with a guy and girl presenter it was brilliant they had some guy doing traffic news who was hilarious. They played great music both pop and rock and were lively and funny.
Unfortunately I cannot receive it anymore so wonder if it is being blocked here in case we enjoy ourselves in our cars during our morning slog into work.

Jimjam
Jimjam
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Biker

You can get Radio One and Radio Two from the UAE on most days. It depends on the humidity though – the more humid the better the reception. I often listen to Radio Two in the morning. Yesterday I couldnt get it and heard the news butchered on QBS. It is so obviously handed to them just before the broadcast with no time to rehearse, or practice difficult to pronounce words.

El_mongrel
El_mongrel
6 years ago

One of the most boring radio stations I’ve ever come across and still sounds like it’s going to be just as bad.
Scott Boyes gravelly voice and boring content and style of delivery can put you to sleep driving to work in the morning.
Hurray for portable music, 4G and Online radio!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Forget Justin Beiber, when will we get Judas Priest!

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

100.5 is Radio 1 from UAE which is far better. Although as already mentioned, with the humidity going down, we will probably loose reception for the winter!
I normally just plug the phone in, and use TuneIn to listen to UK radio.

Kiaran Sedwig
Kiaran Sedwig
6 years ago
Reply to  Ben

I listen to 106 from abu dhabi, but the service is very intermittent there too.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

Mobile wifi, iPhone, BBC iPlayer Radio App = Radio 4 all the way to work, a journey which lasts anything from 25 minutes to 2 hours. Bliss. I actually enjoy the traffic jams, how sad is that?

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Any station that refuses to play Justin Bieber gets my vote. Unfortunately though any station sponsored by the state will suffer from content and format that the state thinks we ought to hear as opposed to what we want to hear.

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago

Normally I’d say that a no-Bieber station would be welcomed, but it’s so gosh-awful to listen to already that playing the Biebs on it would make no discernible difference in quality.

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