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ZEE acquires UAE's oldest radio station Hum FM

Economic Times:  September, 2016

Mumbai: Foraying in radio sector, Subhash Chandra-promoted Indian media conglomerate Zee EntertainmentBSE 0.38 % Enterprises (ZEE) has acquired UAE’s first radio station, Hum 106.2 FM. With the deal in place, ZEE has become one of the few networks in the region to have media presence across television, radio and digital.

ZEE had first entered in UAE with Bollywood TV channel, Zee Aflam in 2008, and followed it with dubbed Arabic channel Zee Alwan in 2012.

“We are always looking at strategic acquisitions across the globe to increase our footprint and market share in the entertainment industry,” said Amit Goenka, CEO – International Broadcast Business, ZEE. He added that radio has been an area of interest for ZEE for quite some time. “…after extensive planning and studying of the brand values, ratings and revenue generated by various stations, we felt that an investment in Hum FM was the best option.”

Almost two decades old, Hum FM enjoys market share of about 26% and it is the top Hindi radio station in the UAE.

“This move is a diversification to our entertainment business portfolio, adding to the numero uno position we possess in television among South Asians in the Middle East,” said Mukund Cairae, CEO – MENA and APAC, ZEE. “Now we can offer media across Television, Radio and Digital platforms, leading to a great synergy between content and mediums.”

Hum FM was previously owned and operated by Shamal Media Services. The station is a frequency originating from the emirate of Umm Al Quwain and forms a part of Umm Al Quwain Broadcasting Network (UBN). The frequency was one of the first Hindi and Urdu language frequencies to hit the UAE airwaves in the 1990’s.

Hum FM’s claim to fame is that it redefined drive time. It also popularised live cricket commentary on radio in the region.

Shahid Jamal, MD, Shamal Media Services said, “Hum FM pioneered FM Radio in UAE and over the years, we have made it the No. 1 Radio Station. It is now a great opportunity for us to hand over our successful radio legacy to a media network.”