Radio in KSA: Effective Results, Powerful Impact
Posted on 2022 Dec,21  | By Fouad Debouk

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Fouad Debouk, Head of Radio Sales, MBC Media Solutions, KSA Office, elaborates on radio as a powerful way for companies and brands to engage with consumers and how it remains a vital part of the media mix.


All we hear about in today’s day and age is digital marketing and what the future holds for the industry in the metaverse.  Seldom do we talk about media channels that have historically, and till this day, effectively reached the masses and achieved desired marketing goals, like radio.

Radio is built on the emotions generated by the music, the radio jockeys, and the overall programs that reverberate with the audience.

It’s high reach, and ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level, makes it an effective marketing choice that can help brands build trust with their audiences.

This is particularly true when it comes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where brands have realized the power of radio in building long-term brand loyalty and advocacy.

We’ve seen this with MBC Group’s MBC FM and Panorama FM, which have 9.5 million listeners in KSA tuning in every week to listen to the group’s premium audio content.


Local content

MBC FM, Saudi’s first commercial radio station, launched 30 years ago, caters to the country’s predominantly Saudi population, with Saudi radio hosts who exclusively play GCC music.


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Localizing content in this way means that listeners have content that they can relate to and feel familiar with. This opens opportunities for brands, especially local brands to reach their target audience.

We’ve been noticing an increase of media spending amongst local brands compared to their international counterparts across MBC Group’s ecosystem.  

This is most certainly credited to the extraordinary developments and transformation put forth by the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 and reforms, which are encouraging the growth of local SMEs.

When it comes to Arab expats living in Saudi Arabia, Panorama FM is by far their number one choice. The channel caters to the country’s expats, with dynamic and engaging jockeys who come from various Arab nationalities and play music from all over the Arab world.  

These radio jockeys have become an integral part of listener’s daily lives and contribute, along with the premium content on offer, to why radio remains a part of the daily media consumption habits of consumers.  

We see this with Silvia, the host of Panorama FM’s morning show ‘Ahla Sabah’, and the hosts of MBC FM’s ‘Sabahkom Saudi’ Ahmed Al Hashem and Sultan Al Rashid who have become influential household names.


Tailored targeting

Both channels offer tailored messaging that caters to each audience, giving advertisers the opportunity to target their message to specific demographics and communities, geographic areas, etc.

To achieve further audience targeting, MBC Media Solutions (MMS), MBC Group’s commercial arm, has deployed a technology that allows brands to customize targeting per region.

This means a listener in Riyadh would listen to a completely different ad than a person tuning in from Jeddah – at the same time, during live shows.

We are the first in KSA to offer this solution, allowing clients to get the most out of every riyal spent by targeting specific regions where their target audience may reside.


Enhancing Campaign Results

Brands advertising on TV, also find an added benefit of complementing their marketing campaigns with radio ads, which have proven to increase reach, brand awareness, and return on investment.

A recent study from Nielsen found that those who heard a radio ad were 35% more aware of the corresponding TV ad of a campaign than those who only saw the TV ad.

Radio advertising in particular has the potential of boosting TV campaign effectiveness, be it through branded tailormade content that sits within programming airtime, advertorials, live interviews with subject matter experts, on-air, social and digital competitions/giveaways and on-ground community-based activations, to name a few.


“Radio has advanced along with the digital evolution that we’re all witnessing. Many stations, including MBC FM & Panorama FM have diversified their offering by going digital through apps, podcasts, and social media platforms.”


Tuning into the digital era

Radio has always been an “anywhere, anytime” medium but in this day and age, listeners have an even greater amount of choice, from the type of shows they want to listen to, to the platform they choose to listen from.

Radio has advanced along with the digital evolution that we’re all witnessing. Many stations, including MBC FM & Panorama FM have diversified their offering by going digital through apps, podcasts, and social media platforms.

Going digital allows audiences to interact with shows in real time by sending text messages, photos and voice notes.

In addition to radio and the MBC Mood app, listeners can also tune into MBC Group content through internet enabled car dashboards, apps, smart watches, social media platforms smart TV’s and smart speakers.

This means a full-fledged offering for advertisers who can leverage rich radio content across audio, digital, podcast and social media to name a few.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years we will tune into our favorite radio stations in the metaverse!