Radio Beirut Online: Music to Your Ears
By: Muhammad Hamdar
Published Thursday, June 21, 2012
A new online radio station, which focuses on marginalized non-commercial music in the region, is soon to be launched from Beirut. The station, called “Radio Beirut,” will be broadcast online live from a cafe of the same name (Mar Mikhael, al-Nahr – Beirut). The cafe will open on July 3 with a concert at which “Scrambled Eggs” will perform, along with Edd Abbas from Fareeq el-Atrash and other guests.
The dream of starting a radio station has been with Jihad Samhat, one of the founders, for many years. “Lebanese radio marginalizes a large section of composers and songs that deserve to be heard. Also, there is a wide gap between most of the youth and the available stations,” he said. So Samhat began to work with Menna Maasarani who had worked at Saqyat al-Sawi online radio in Egypt. Together with a team of visual media experts with a shared passion for radio they set their minds to realizing the project.
Taking over a disused space, they converted it to function as a live music venue and broadcasting studio.
The website managers wanted to create a platform that can be used by established and emerging artists alike, where they can share their music, work and photos.
Listeners will be able to choose between live broadcasts and songs from the music library, contribution to which will be requested from composers and rights holders.
The radio will also be a stage for amateur hosts of social or cultural programs, where they can present their ideas in radio shows. The team will seek to create interaction between the audience and the composer, and among composers themselves.
All the audience needs is a decent internet connection. The managers have revealed some of the station’s programs, including one that will air tarab songs every Thursday night, another that broadcasts popular or folk songs from across the world, a program that hosts regional artists and exposes their work, in addition to a continuous broadcast of songs in all languages.
“Radio Beirut” will provide information, programs and audio cultural interviews and will cover events and cultural activities. In addition to the studio in which interviews will be held at the “Radio Beirut” cafe, the station will host a small stage for live musical shows.
The space allocated for ads on the website will be given to small businesses, such as small shop owners in the capital and outside, and will market them in new and funny ways. Each month, the cafe will display portraits and photos of an artist from the region. The station will also work on activating workshops concerned with art.
Radio Beirut will be launched at 20.00 on July 3rd – Mar Mikhael, al-Nahr – Beirut
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.