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Thursday, January 20, 2022

QF Radio to stop broadcasting for good in October


 For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

After seven years on the airwaves, Qatar Foundation‘s Arabic and English radio stations will end their operations in October, the organization announced yesterday.

The stations will enter a “transitional phase” over the next four months and will broadcast “past and current successful programs” before ceasing all transmissions at the end of October, QF said in a statement.

Mohammed Al Beshri, QF media center manager, denied that the decision for the closure was due to cost-cutting.

Instead, it is part of an organization-wide refocus on its media operations, particularly favoring social media, he told Doha News.

He said he “hoped” that none of the 19 members of staff currently working on the channels will be laid off.

“Our plan for the next six months will be to try to find all the staff other jobs in the foundation. We hope that no-one will lose their jobs,” he said.

“Why should we invest more money when we have experienced media staff at the radio station? Media roles are changing right now. We want to concentrate on social media and other roles which operate better than the radio stations,” Al Beshri added.

At the time of their launch, the stations’ aim was to educate Qatar residents about the work of QF.

“I think we succeeded – everybody knows about QF now. It is the right time to shut down the stations at the end of October,” he said. And he paid tribute to staff working on the stations, who he described as a “talented team”.

Since the stations launched in 2009, QF has grown “exponentially”, QF said in its statement announcing the closure.

“As the organization enters a new phase of sustainable development and builds on its foundation and past achievements to deliver more focused results, as part of the country’s drive to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030, it must continue to be more efficient and beneficial to the public, and evolve the way it communicates with its audiences,” it added.

The stations will continue broadcasting programs on their Ramadan and summer schedules. This is likely to include repeats as its programming winds down.

Program revamps

The English and Arabic language radio stations – which operate on 91.7FM and 93.7FM, respectively – have undergone several overhauls, most recently last summer.

When it went back on-air in November last year, the schedule included more programs but fewer live shows.

 For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

At the time, producer and presenter Laura Finnerty said the shake-up was part of an effort to include more QF experts and make the content more appealing to a younger audience.

It had been the second revamp in a year. At the end of 2013, programs were suddenly cancelled and around a dozen people were fired in what was said at the time to be a plan to make way for more QF-oriented content.

For the following 10 months, listeners heard mostly classical music and community interviews, until a re-launch was announced in October 2014.

The stations’ closure is a blow to local radio listeners, who often bemoan the lack of choice in Qatar.

Despite pledges by the government to issue more radio licences, entrepreneurs have previously spoken of the difficulties in securing broadcasting rights.

Will you miss QF Radio? Thoughts?

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