New Hindi-Urdu station Josh is ready for the UAE.
OK, that might be a tad bit dramatic but the people behind Josh, a new frequency targeted at South Asian expatriates, believe they've got what it takes to stand out of the clutter and give listeners a new and fresh start to the morning and stay on through the day.
"Josh means passion. And that is the underlying theme to every aspect of the station. It's a passion for life, for music," explains Madhura Rajendra, the head of Josh 97.8 FM. "It's also very much a UAE station that talks about life in the UAE but one that plays music from the Sub Continent."
Josh joins Gulf News Broadcasting's existing FM stations Radio 1 (English, 104.1/100.5), Radio 2 (English, 99.3 and 106), Hayat (Arabic, 95.6) and Hum (Hindi, 106.2).
Keeping with its passionate theme, the "faces" of the station have also been meticulously selected to represent its philosophy.
"Our eight new presenters are a young and whacky bunch. We have everyone from 20-year-old Preetam [Savio], who will make his radio debut, and Anjaan, who has 12 years of radio behind her," says Rajendra. "The average age of our presenters is 25. We wanted to go with a fresh sound and young line-up of presenters."
The target listener is between 18 and 35, she adds.
"Our packaging is very edgy. We want to be a very international-sounding station that happens to play Hindi and Urdu music. Anyone who likes great music should be able to identify with it, irrespective of nationality. For instance, all our imaging is in English and the kind of stuff that we will do on air will differentiate us from the rest."
Hindi music might be currently dominated by Bollywood but Josh's content will not be limited to that, she says.
"It will be current and new across genres, featuring all the latest from the [Indian] subcontinent. Having said that, even Bollywood music has evolved. If you listen to the current sound coming out of the film industry, it's very international."
There are currently six radio stations catering to Hindi and Urdu listeners in the UAE.
"Yes, it is a cluttered space but that is exactly what is it: Cluttered," says Rajendra. "We've worked on our strategy for a considerable [amount] of time and one of the major things that came across was that there was a lot of need-based stations. Yet no single station can claim a loyal listenership. People listen to them because they don't have a better choice. We will be that better choice.
"We've consciously stayed away from block programming. There will be, for example, no chunks of older music later in the evening. It's a station that any young person who has zest for life can listen to at any point in time. We've consciously tried to stay away from the clutter."
So here are the eight presenters of Josh 97.8 who will, from Sunday, hope to bring a little more spice into your life.
Age: It's bad manners to ask a lady her age, tsk tsk!
Show + timing: Josh Jumpstart, 6-10am weekdays
Me in five words: Five is a bit too much don't you think, and frankly who has that kind of time?! So here's the short version -- I'm awesome!
Tune to my show because...: I'm good company (no, really! I've been told that... once)
Age: My cohost Meghana says I am 8 years [old] in my head, but I like to think I am 22 years [old] forever. (Not 18 -- that's being too naive!).
Show + timing: Josh Jumpstart, 6am-10am weekdays
Me in five words: How about 2? -- Aspiring Everything!
Tune to my show because...: I promise to help you keep your frown... upside down!!
Show + timing: The Josh Drive, 4-8pm weekdays
Me in five words: Quirky, out of my mind, I am all yours.
Tune to my show because...: I am also getting paid. Justify my salary. There is a lot of fun lined up. And wait [until] you pick up that phone and talk to me.
Show + timing: Josh Afternoons, 1-pm weekdays
Me in five words: Little mad, cheeky, opinionated, filmy and a geek.
Tune to my show because...: It's entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.
Name: Preetam Savio
Show + timing: Late Night Josh, 8pm to midnight, weekdays
Me in five words: Music geek. Passionate. Naughty. Funky. Cool.
Tune in to my show because...: It's a cocktail stirred with wicked talk, awesome music and a pinch of romance and requests.
Show + timing: Top 20 Countdown, 4-7pm, Saturdays
Me in five words: Funny. Outgoing. Full of energy. Enthusiastic. Imaginative.
Tune to my show because : It's the weekend, so let's make it count. Tune in to this brand new sound. My show tunes will make you dance. With music so good, you won't stand a chance. From international hits to the latest Bollywood songs, [it's] music to which you can sing along. Get ready, put on the party hat. The Top 20 Countdown is where it's at.
Name: Valda (pronounced Vel-da)
Age: Whatever you'd like it to be... I like 22!
Show + timing: Midday Josh, 10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.
Me in five words: Drama Queen. Music. Vivacious. Spicy. Naughty 'n' Nice
Tune to my show because...: It's the only three hours in the day when I talk less... and let my music do the talking!
Name: Deepti Dani
Show + timing: The Josh Drive, 4-8pm, weekdays
Me in five words: Spunky. Passionate. Creative. Hardworking. Dancer.
Tune to my show because...: That's where you will have the most fun, even though you are crawling the (in)famous UAE traffic!
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