Stories for Tomorrow – Lived Today, Everywhere

From Listener to Radio Host

© Toka Belal and Ahmed el-Saadani

From Listener to Radio Host

With its colloquial language and broad variety of topics, Radio Antika caters to a young audience. Sometimes the listeners themselves take a seat behind the mic. An article by two students as part of the youth media project Bashkatib.

“Hi guys, we sure missed you all, but we are back and here for you! ‘Anything can be resolved by conflict, only marriage requires unity’ – well, now you know what today’s show is about …” This is an intro to Itnin Ashab (two friends), a Radio Antika program hosted by Mustafa al-Dsuki and Lamia al-Adal.

Radio Antika is a project of the Arab New Media Institution. The online radio station focuses on educational programs and on supporting young initiatives and topics that relate both to Egyptian history and tradition as well as the present. It addresses a variety of economic, political, social and cultural issues that affect Egyptians, in particular, as well as Arabs in general, such as norms and traditions of past and present or social problems. The station also provides a platform for local artists by showcasing them in radio interviews. The entire programming is presented in Egyptian vernacular, the lingo young people most identify with.

How it all began

Radio Antika was founded by Muataz Salim. Prior to this project, the 28-year-old worked as a television program editor and a host. After two years in the business, he decided to live his dream: actively driving change in Egyptian media. Traditional programming is presented in Standard Arabic and often serves government propaganda purposes. So he founded an internet radio station, even though at the time, the medium of internet radio was not as popular as other online formats in Egypt.

Video shooting: Toka Belal, Alaa Samir, and Ahmed Elsaadny; Video editing: Fatma Elhakim, May Bondok and Omar Elshamy

Before he launched his online radio station, Salem had unsuccessfully applied for a job at other radio stations. Then he thought about starting his own project that would not only create an alternative to traditional media, but also show that young people can overcome any obstacle if they set their minds on it. Yet Salem’s intention was not to compete with the other radio stations that had turned him down. He wanted to “prove that there are young people out there who can make a difference.” That’s what inspired him to create the station IKS Video.

When IKS Video (X-Video) started broadcasting, internet radio was booming in Egypt. Under the umbrella of the Arab New Media Institution, which is a collaborative project of young people from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, two more radio stations were launched in the Nile Delta – Saqia al-Delta (water wheel in the delta) and Yallah Shabab (Let’s go, guys!). These stations joined forces as the ‘Radio Alliance’ of the central delta region. IKS Radio joined the alliance, but when things did not go as envisioned, Saqia al-Delta and Yallah Shabab withdrew from the alliance. Now the project was entirely in the hands of Salim, who decided to change its name to Radio Antika. This station was going to address its listeners in Egyptian vernacular from the start, rather than “relay what another official source has reported”, as Salim sarcastically explains in his best Standard Arabic, mimicking the hosts of traditional radio stations. Then he adds, in his local dialect: “People on the streets don’t talk that way… People want to hear someone who sounds like them.”

Overcoming obstacles together

Since the founding of Radio Antika four years ago, Salim has had to contend with many challenges. Staffing was an issue: There just weren’t enough hosts, reporters and developers, which meant he could not hold the attention of a large audience. In addition, he ran into trouble with public authorities because his reporters had no permits. As many start-ups, the project was also struggling with financing.

  • Radio Antika’s program deals with a great variety of topics ranging from economy and politics to society and culture. Antika is young and fresh, addressing its audience in their everyday language, Egyptian Arabic. © Toka Belal and Ahmed el-Saadani

  • The story of Radio Antika began with founder Muataz Salim (28 years) and his dream “to change the traditional form of the media and create a radio for the average man on the street.”

  • Salem recalls, “I wanted to prove that there are young people out there capable to bring about change.” The radio station IKS-Video was born.

  • IKS-Radio became a member of the “Alliance of Radios of the Central Delta Region,” but soon the project remained in Salim’s hands alone and he changed the alliance’s name to “Radio Antika.” (Photo shows Karim Hassan, sound engineer at Antika.)

  • Antika wants to give young people an opportunity for their voices to be heard. Mustafa al-Dsuki, for example, presents Itnin Sahab, where several people discuss relationships.

  • Lamia al-Adel is Itnin Sahab’s second moderator, addressing everything from love to friendship to marriage. Antika wants to ensure that different voices of society are represented among its staff.

  • Since Salim created Radio Antika, he has been facing several problems, including the search for employees, permit issues and – like so many entrepreneurs – funding.

  • Enthusiastic young people helped Antika’s founder overcome some of the difficulties. While these people started out with no media experience at all, Salim provided them with the necessary training to work for the radio station.

  • Some listeners even become moderators at Antika, as did Ruaa Muhammad (21 years; left). She had learned about the radio station through Facebook and now presents the love-themed programme Mugrid Hubb.

  • Salim is currently trying to attract advertising partners. He says, “We hope that this plan will help us to some degree with our funding problem. At the moment, however, we pay almost everything ourselves.”


But luckily, there were enough dedicated young people who helped Salim overcome these obstacles. He began training young people without any media experience as editors and hosts for Radio Antika. It also helped Salim’s work that political change began to loom in Egypt at the end of June 2013, leading to the deposition of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Mursi. The political climate in Egypt changed as the president of the Supreme Court was appointed interim president and early elections were held, from which Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi emerged victorious. Finally, Salim was able to legalize the status of his radio station as an ‘integrated media provider’, was entered in the commercial register and obtained a tax ID card. Now he could apply for permits for his reporters, which enabled them to hold street events and cover current events.

Salim also came up with a financing model for Radio Antika: He developed a plan to raise money from sponsors, run marketing campaigns and recruit advertising partners. “We hope”, says Salim, “that this plan will at least help solve the financing problem. Right now we are paying for almost everything out of our own pockets.”

From listener to host

“Radio Antika wants to raise its listeners’ awareness for certain issues and problems with authentic coverage and the expertise of its guests, who take questions directly from the listeners. Sometimes, the listeners themselves take the mic: “Just imagine you are listening to the radio and then suddenly everyone is listening to you,” Nuran Shawki says. The 24-year-old commerce student at Mansoura University was a listener until she met Tarik Walid, editor and host of Manshit Fadi, a program that covers and analyses what’s happening in the streets. Tarik suggested that she host the talk show with him. Now the two of them work together as editors.

Ruaa Muhammad (21) says that she learned about Antika on Facebook and tried to get in touch with the editors because she wanted to present her own show. She succeeded and was able to make her dream come true without much hassle: Now she hosts Mugrid Hubb (Only love), a show about love and emotions.

    About

    May 2016
    Public Relations
    Egypt, Al-Mansoura, Nil-Delta

    Arab New Media Institution  
    Radio Antika

    Authors

    Youssef Sami and Rawan Ashraf

    Youssef Sami is 15 years old, a high school student in the tenthgrade, and inJune 2015 joined Bashkatib’s branch “Qalam Al Mansoura” in theprovince of Dakahlia. He likes to write reportages, because he wants to improvethe situation of the society. He wants to be a film director.

    Rawan Ashraf is 13 years old, a high school student in the eighthgrade, and in August 2015 joined the Bashkatib’s branch “Qalam Al Mansoura” inthe province of Dakahlia. She likes to write essays, reportages and profiles.

    Translated by

    Jana Duman

    Partner

    Bashkatib

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