| 23 Sep 2023
Mathrubhoomi group's Club FM to expand in UAE

MUMBAI: Mathrubhoomi group's Club FM is one of the dominant names in Kerala, with three stations in cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kannur and at Thrissur. The group is going to expand their brand in UAE, which will also include Abu Dhabi, where there is no Malayalam Radio station.

Mathrubhumi director MV Shreyams Kumar said, "The license acquisition process is on and lot of things are not in our hands. We have to abide by regulations and have to go through a process and that takes time." Mostly the stations will be broadcasted in Malayalam.

UAE expansion will not hold the network from expanding in India when the phase III auction happens. He revealed that he wishes to expand in Calicut (and also rural Kerala) as it is the only city that it is not present in Kerala. "We plan to expand not only in Kerala but in other states of India but I cannot reveal further as it is very per-mature to talk. We are looking at the Phase III auction with lot of anticipation. The phase III plans have been going on for last couple of years," stressed Kumar.

Comparing the UAE and India market, he said, "UAE is a good market for FM stations with lot of competitions but it has lot of scope in terms of revenue and opportunities." He further added that regulations in India are "one-sided" which makes things difficult.

The network like many other stations in India had hiked their ad rates. "Hiking of ad rates are periodical and keep happening. This year also we had it and it is not a flat per cent age," Kumar said without disclosing the percentage rise.

This year could be a year of expansion for Club FM.

At present, there are four Malayalam FM stations in UAE, namely, Hit 96.7 (Arabian Radio Network), Gold FM 101.3 (Channel 4 network of Ajman), Super FM 94.7 (Radio Asia group) and Radio Me 100.3 FM. Along with FM, there are three AM radio stations-Radio Asia, Asianet and Voice of Kerala. The other Indian player present in UAE is ENIL's Radio Mirchi.