Thursday, 1 January 2009

Air Raves final run in The Star on Dec 31, 2008

Wednesday December 31, 2008

New year wishes on air


It's a wrap folks; and unfortunately for good this time. Along with the conclusion of another year, comes the end of the road for this column.

Nevertheless, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers, radio listeners and stations – both local and abroad – and of course, The Star for making Air Raves the success that it has been over the years.

Here are my personal wishes for radio in 2009 and beyond.

Programme content: Let’s have more intelligent shows. The sky’s the limit in this area. Reviews on books, movies, videos, food, fashion, gardening and a host of other fun stuff will pique listeners’ interests.

Can we see the return of a radio doctor segment together with heaps of health tips and info for everyone?

How about creating new shows for children, women, the elderly and the disabled? Be sure to allow them to run their own shows to keep them authentic and meaningful.

Let’s have programmes on all our states in Malaysia focusing on our diverse traditions and religious backgrounds. Avoid “lecturing” us about them; but instead keep the presentations lively, crisp and vibrant.

Music wise, let’s focus on all genres of music instead of only pop. Most radio stations seem to be only doing the latter and it’s becoming tiresome. Remember it takes all kinds of people and tastes to be listeners.

Deejays: Get real and remain down-to-earth. Think twice before you wish “Good morning/evening Malaysia”. In most cases, the whole country isn’t listening to you and probably doesn’t even know the name of your radio station. Always remember that you need to work hard to make an impression.

Don’t fill each hour up with aimless chatter or music – make each minute and second count. Scripted presentations – or pre-planned ideas of what you want to focus on in your show – are far better in the long run than trying to ad lib. (Bosses, be sure to affirm your DJs for a job well done instead of only reprimanding them when they have erred!)

News: News broadcasts remain the hottest sought item on any radio station especially when a crisis occurs. Radio stations should be prepared to be flexible at all times to adjust schedules for input of late news updates as they happen.

Listeners will always remember a station for being the first – and not the last – to inform them of a newsbreaking story.

The recent Bukit Antarabangsa landslide is a solemn case in point. With electricity cut off, those in affected areas could only rely on their car stereos and portable radios for the latest information instead of television or the mobile phone.

It is for this reason why many if not all developed countries of the world constantly remind its citizens to have a portable radio set with fresh batteries handy at all times.

Happy listening and Happy New Year everybody!

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008

LiteFM goodwill

Wednesday December 24, 2008

Lite FM spreads seasonal goodwill


Lite FM spreads goodwill this Christmas season.

Say the word Christmas, and most of us would at once think of Xmas trees, parties and gifts aplenty. Not Lite FM.

The FM broadcaster, which is operated by Airtime Management and Programming networks, is set on making Xmas truly meaningful for its listeners this year.

For the second year in a row, the station is giving its listeners the opportunity to participate in its “Gift of Love” project to help fulfil the Christmas wishes of underprivileged children.

Until the end of the month, Lite FM is compiling a list of over 50 children’s wishes from Rumah KIDS. The organisation is a shelter located in Klang and Subang in Selangor to help special kids who were either orphaned, abandoned or abused.

You can find the names of each of these special children hung on a virtual Xmas tree on the radio station’s website:

Listeners can decide to either grant one of these kids wishes immediately or pledge to do so later.

Once done, they can personally bring their presents for the children to a Christmas party that will be held at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 3. There will also be plenty of food, games, gifts, clowns and of course, Santa Claus, to entertain everyone.

Lite FM hopes that its timely effort in helping to spread a little goodwill and cheer will make each child and the participating listeners experience a memorable event.

A frequent question I get from readers is how to tune in to foreign radio stations. And one of the best sources to turn to is the yearly world’s No.1 selling radio guide called Passport to World Band Radio.

The New York Times describes it aptly as the TV Guide for world band radios.

It tells you about the latest available shortwave radios and offers readers a meticulous review on each set.

It provides you with precious details about international radio stations and when is the best time to tune in to them. There are also plenty of useful tips that would amaze even the most advanced listeners.

However, what I like most about it is its use of simple English to explain some of the complicated stuff. Its bold candour is also refreshing. If a radio set or station is not up to the mark, it will tell you so. And be prepared that it just might be your favourite broadcaster that is getting the brickbat.

The 25th edition of Passport 2009 with 528 pages is now available. For more information browse:

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Capital Countdown Chart Toppers

Wednesday December 17, 2008

Chart toppers on Capital Countdown


Capital Countdown entertains you with the latest hits.

Have you been jamming to the latest beats of Capital FM’s new programme called Capital Countdown lately?

The radio station’s music chart show which made its debut recently can be heard on Sundays from 2pm to 6pm.

For four hours every week, Capital FM listeners can look forward to the radio station’s weekly Top 40 chart showcase.

Unlike other chart toppers segments which are usually pre-recorded, Capital Countdown is presented live from the studio.

Another unique feature is that the methodology used to rate each song is based on the song’s performance worldwide.

Speaking to Air Raves recently, host and deejay Hazim Ismail explains: “We analyse official song charts from countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

“Using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, we rate each and every song based on its worldwide popularity.

“We believe that this system gives a more accurate representation on the position of a particular track on the current charts.”

According to Hazim, the programme also allows listeners to vote for their favourite songs. It involves anything from five to 10 potential songs that the broadcaster previews each week.

“The potential songs will either be the latest or uncharted tunes and the voting can be done via Capital’s website at

“Since the chart takes into consideration the listings on the Top 40 Charts from all over the world, don’t be surprised to find international hits in the playlist,” adds Hazim.

Rumour has it that Traxx FM is planning to cut down the length of its news bulletin to only one minute an hour. If true, this would be a serious mistake as a great number of listeners tune in for a daily update of news developments.

Lastly, good news for those of you who complained that radio stations are not playing much Christmas music.

FM stations like MIX fm and have recently started playing Yuletide songs that include Winter Wonderland by Jesse McCartney, Santa Baby (Pussycat Dolls) and Christmas Morning (One Buck Short).

Friday, 5 December 2008

Gegar No 1

Thursday December 4, 2008

THR Gegar is number one on the East Coast


THR Gegar is currently the East Coast’s No.1 radio station, according to the latest Nielsen Media Radio Audience Measurement survey.

THR Gegar, whose transmissions are beamed from the All-Asia Broadcast Centre in Technology Park Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, is apparently being heard and closely followed by as many as 1.24 million listeners on a regular basis in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

THR Gegar is aired in Bahasa Malaysia for 24 hours in those states but its transmission in other parts of the country is only from 8pm to 6am.

The radio station shares the same frequencies as THR Raaga and comes on at the conclusion of the Tamil station’s broadcast. While the Tamil THR broadcaster targets listeners in the 18-39-year-old urban category, THR Gegar focuses on the 25-44 age group.

The station’s popularity in the East Coast states had recently resulted in its listeners eagerly signing up to become members of the newly-formed Kelab Pendengar THR Gegar.

According to a spokeswoman, listeners are attracted to the station’s current offerings which include music from the 1970s to the present day, hot chart show Carta Hits Gegar and a request programme called Pilihan Pantai Timur. For more details, visit

Elsewhere, the topic of domestic violence, particularly involving women and girls, marked a special report on Radio24 recently.

November 25 was the UN-sponsored International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Bernama’s broadcast journalist Tan Su Lin spelt out the definition of violence as including “physical, sexual and mental” abuse. Other forms of abuse also include discrimination at the workplace, when women and girls don’t enjoy the same privileges as men and boys, she added. Tan interviewed Women’s Aid Organisation’s executive director Ivy Josiah for the programme.

The highlighting of special United Nations-sponsored days and the inclusion of interviews of representatives of local NGOs is certainly a laudable effort by radio stations.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Welcoming the Year of the Ox

Wednesday November 19, 2008

Ushering in the Year of the Golden Ox


It won’t be a couple of months yet before the Year of the Golden Ox comes trotting in.

However, that’s not stopping 988, the radio station operated by The Star, from running an on-air special this week on the Lunar New Year.

Starting today, listeners will be treated to a series of special interviews with some talented personalities who came up with a brand new album recently.

Entitled 988 Chinese New Year Album 2009, the album features various talents from the broadcaster’s in-house deejays and local artistes such as Desiree, boy-band JNK (Jack, Nic and Kean) and local heartthrob Danny One.

The CD is their first effort and it will be launched tomorrow. As part of the promotion, 988’s Halo Morning crew will make a special appearance on the station’s Noon Fresher show at 12.30pm today.

Listeners will get to know how the album was produced and offered a sneak peek into tomorrow’s launch.

Expect more 988 deejays to turn up on DJ May’s show Laughter Noon at noon tomorrow to talk about the CD.

On to XFM and its X-Gig tour. After having a blast at various locations in the Klang Valley recently, X-Gig is now heading north to Ipoh. Residents there will be treated to a four-hour concert featuring five indie bands – Bunkface, Bittersweet, Pesawat, Muck and Harmacy.

They are all part of XFM’s 7th edition X-Gig that will be held at Rum Jungle, Tambun, on Saturday. Showtime is at 2pm.

The next X-Gig will be staged in Johor Baru and Penang next month. To be selected, local bands will have to submit their details online via the station’s website:

World Diabetes Day was observed last Friday. I was not aware of such a day until I heard a report about it on Nov 14 on Bernama-run broadcaster Radio 24.

The station’s reporter Tan Su Lin centred her news story on how the chronic condition was increasingly affecting young people and children of today.

The good news in her interview with a local expert on diabetes revealed that diabetes was still very much a preventable condition.

The same issue was also a hot topic on BBC World Service from London on the shortwave frequencies.

“An estimated three million people die from the disease every year, and over a quarter of a billion people are affected,” was the stark message on the international broadcaster.

“Events are being held all over the planet to draw attention to the threat of what is being described as an epidemic that is out of control,

“Diabetes kills more people than AIDS and the prognosis for the condition is grim.” added the BBC.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

New programme on Capital FM

Wednesday November 12, 2008

Capital FM launches new programme


Radio station Capital FM is all out to promote local works and aspiring talents. The network, that is only available to listeners in the Klang Valley (FM88.9MHz), has come up with a new programme called Capital Unearthed.

Whether it is music, the arts, food, Capital Unearthed will probably be the first to showcase them.

“For the time being, music will be the show’s entry point before other specialisation and contents are included to enrich it,” pointed out Capital’s head of corporate communications Haliza Ahmad.

According to her, the show will highlight unsigned, underground and unknown talents. The contents which are web-based will mark a new indie offering for listeners.

The show will make its debut this Sunday. The weekly feature that airs from 6pm to 8pm will be anchored by the station’s indie deejay OJ.

“We are inviting all unsigned artistes to share their music with us,” said Haniza.

The station is devoting a page on its website for aspiring independent artistes’ works.

All they need to do is submit a couple of their tracks to the station. These will be reviewed by a special panel.

Each entrant will stand a chance to have his or her music broadcast over radio. Entrants will also have an opportunity to perform in a concert organised by Capital FM. So, if you are interested in getting some serious radio airplay, booking more gigs or have a shot at signing up with a major label, the station provides the platform.

On the American presidential election, I was on the road last Wednesday when the United States voted to put a black president in the White House.

I was thrilled to find Radio 24 covering the event. However, my joy was short-lived especially during the crucial conceding and acceptance speeches of the presidential candidates.

There was a clear lack of continuity of Radio 24’s reports. The female anchor also momen­tarily forgot which part of America she was talking about and kept annoyingly pronouncing the “s” in Illinois.

Worse still, instead of focusing on Obama, the broadcaster played a Madonna track!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sinar makes a difference

Wednesday October 29, 2008

Sinar FM is making a difference


It has often been said that when it comes to radio programming, Malaysians today are spoilt for choice. However, when it comes to doing something different and meaningful – few really stand out.

This week, Sinar FM takes that bold step forward.

Together with Badminton Association Malaysia (BAM), the Bahasa Malaysia broadcaster which is operated by Airtime Management and Programming Networks, will hold a grand charity badminton match next week.

The special sports event will witness our very own world No.1 badminton star Datuk Lee Chong Wei battle it out with Sinar’s breakfast show crew – Krill, Raja Azura and Salih Yaccob.

And guess what? They’ll also be facing BAM coach Datuk Misbun Sidek and his team of star players including the other Sidek brothers (Rashid and Jalani), Roslin Hashim and Hafiz Hashim.

All this is for a very good cause, of course. It is to raise funds for Datin Latifah Mohd Sidek, wife of Datuk Misbun, who is sadly at a critical stage of kidney ­failure.

The game takes place at 8pm on Nov 7 at Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur.

Extra activities will include the auctioning of these badminton legends’ memorabilia (racquets, shirts, etc.) and bidding for matches with the athletes.

This event is also open to the public with an entrance fee of RM5 per person. All proceeds collected will be audited and directed to Hospital Tawakal in KL which is handling the medical treatment for Latifah.

Tune in to Sinar to find out more. Sinar Pagi can be heard on weekdays from 6am until 10am. Alternatively, you may also log on to the radio station via the Internet (

Festive joy

Deepavali was celebrated with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm. It’s great that radio allows one to hone in on what’s going on across the seas. For instance, in India, according to the All India Radio (AIR) from New Delhi, Hindus started the day with early morning baths, then thronged temples, offering poojas and exchanging greetings. AIR also reported that the celebrations took place amidst elaborate security arrangements by Delhi police, with extra CCTVs installed in markets, airports, railway stations and bus stands.

Meanwhile, back home, things were not as tense. And over the radio, it was more of the same old, although a few of our local deejays did a great job to complement the festivities of Deepavali. Deejays Fad da Dillio and Priscilla the Killa from Radio Televisyen Malaysia’s TraxxFM were my favourites.

From listener feedback, however, seemed to be the top choice.