Every week, ILQ features a different startup in our ‘Startup of the Week’ segment. Qatar has some of the most creative, unique, and impactful startups in the region, and we cover them all across a variety of industries in Doha, from fashion and beauty to food and dining, health, education, and more!
This week, we're tuning in to Qabayan 94.3 FM - the first and only Filipino radio station in Qatar! The name "Qabayan" is a stylized spelling of the Tagalog term which means “countrymen”, and the initials “QA” which stand for Qatar.
Qabayan Radio has been officially on the air now for seven months, having started its inaugural broadcast on April 1 of this year, with RJ Chloe being the first-ever official voice that marked this important date in the company’s history.
The idea behind Qabayan Radio came about after decades of clamor by the ever-growing population of the Filipino community in the country. A group of Filipinos and a Qatari partner dared to launch the first Filipino radio station in Qatar after much pencil-pushing and a whole month of test broadcast online, as shared by Meech, Head of Events, Sales and Marketing.
What's amazing is that Qabayan Radio brings Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) closer to home through music, entertainment, sports, and events. They also engage "Qabayans" in conversation on topics that are interestingly nostalgic, and reminiscent of the good old days in the Philippines. "Sometimes, all it takes is a “friend” (RJ) who cares to listen or chat, and that can immediately brighten up the day", Meech said.
However, the station not only targets Filipino listeners but also non-Filipino speakers and all music lovers here in Qatar. "By broadcasting both in Filipino and English, we are able to cater to the Filipino community and the English-speaking demographic", Meech added. They also aim to promote both Filipino, and Qatar cultures as well as embrace cultural diversity in the country.
As a "pop station", Qabayan plays current and recurrent music, OPM, American Top 40, as well as Throwback music from the 70s, 80, and 90s as novelty – a broad music spectrum that’s designed to cater to the millennials, and the age group between 25-45, quite prevalent in the working class in Qatar. Meech quipped, "We strive to maintain a “balanced programming” or infotainment: Music + RJ content (news, segments, features, topics, games, etc.)."
They pointed out specifically that Qatar's fast internet speed has been a driving factor in the station's success.
Qatar offers one of the world’s fastest internet connections, making digital accessibility a major factor in driving radio engagement. Aside from being on the FM band locally, Qabayan Radio is also heard via live streaming on www.qabayanfm.com and can be viewed via Facebook Live on occasion of special shows, and event coverages. We also make it our mission to help promote promotional and awareness campaigns by our clients, stakeholders, gov’t and community partners.
Since then, the response has been incredible, propelling the radio station to its current 23,000 social media listeners and 7 million website visits at the time of writing. Qabayan Radio has this to say about their listeners:
We are blessed to have listeners who not only openly share their heartfelt appreciation of having Qabayan on air, and the work we do, but also share a sense of responsibility in helping us shape a better radio for all.
Although there are already numerous radio stations here in Doha, Qabayan Radio vows to "bring the same level of excellence in a radio broadcast as it is in the Philippines – balanced programming, music, entertainment, relevant information, and responsible journalism by its broadcasters – are some of the items in our winning formula."
And here's their small nugget of wisdom for aspiring radio jockeys:
Listen intently. Watch observantly. Speak responsibly. Never stop learning
If you're a listener, Qabayan invites you to visit every Thursday from 5 pm to 8 pm!
To learn more about Qabayan Radio, check out their website and social media links below!
Contact number: +974 4499 4944
Location: Building 44, Street 893, Zone 38, Room 311, 3F Al Difaaf Street, Al Sadd, Doha
Before you go, have you seen our Pandesal tutorial video with Qabayan Radio and Mama Baba Ganoush, if not, click here!
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