To mark its 77th anniversary, BBC Arabic is launching a new radio schedule, and new programmes to be broadcast from Cairo and London.
The new programmes will showcase the BBC’s commitment to distinctive and original journalism that matters to its diverse Arabic speaking audiences across the world. They will offer listeners a modern BBC platform with a dynamic pace, less formal presentation style and strong audience participation via mobile phones and online at bbcarabic.com. BBC Arabic is also re-launching its YouTube channel.
To celebrate the anniversary, BBC Arabic will host a concert of classical Arabic music on Saturday 31 January at Broadcasting House in London, the building that saw the launch of BBC broadcasts in Arabic in 1938.
BBC Arabic has established a deep-rooted relationship with its Arabic speaking audiences by providing objective, impartial and trusted news, world-class documentaries and investigative programmes. The numerous awards for BBC Arabic output include two prestigious prizes at the Association of International Broadcasting awards in 2014: the Investigative Radio Documentary award for Forbidden Love, about interfaith marriages in Egypt, and the TV International Investigative Documentary for Saudi’s Secret Uprising.
Recent audience research (2014) shows BBC Arabic’s overall audience reach has risen by more than 11 per cent to 36.2 million adults weekly - up from 32.5 million in 2012 to 2013. Since the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2010, BBC Arabic’s weekly audience has risen from 21.6 to 36.2 million - an increase of 68 per cent.
On 27 January, BBC Arabic radio launched new-style news programmes and four new strands:
- Sport News: A daily half-hour radio round-up of regional and world sports.
- Women Today: A daily half-hour news and current affairs radio programme that focuses on women in the news in the Middle East and across the world. The programme offers a mix of reports, interviews and interactive debate.
- Midnight Talk: A daily 50-minute programme for younger listeners. The programme provides a platform to freely investigate and debate social and political issues most relevant to young people in the Middle East. The programme has a chatty, informal tone and offers live interviews, music and a stage for talented young people.
- Radio Archive: A weekly 27-minute strand, the Programme, draws on more than 70 years of BBC Arabic Radio archive with rare and exclusive material. The programme also will offer current interviews with relevant people on some of the issues which have been raised in the past and still resonate today.
Tarik Kafala, the Head of BBC Arabic says: “This is a very exciting time for BBC Arabic. We are reaching our biggest audiences in our 77 years and developing in ways that will make us more relevant and essential than ever, on all platforms. Today, we’re celebrating radio, the medium on which our reputation is built. The investment in new programmes and a new schedule shows our deep commitment to radio and our listeners, the heart and foundation of BBC Arabic.”