There have been many, many changes this year – but with social distancing measures in place, it’s made it nearly impossible for festivals, clubs and bars to operate. Dubai’s nightlife scene has grown to become one of the most talked-about in the world, with some amazing festivals, clubs, DJs, parties and promoters.
And we’ve missed dancing and 3am chats at the post-club shawarma joint.
But thankfully, there’s a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is Ibiza Global Radio UAE which launched last month.
We caught up with founder Theo to find out more about the launch, who the next big DJ in Dubai is going to be and how to tune in.
Ibiza Global Radio UAE interview
Congratulations on the new launch! Thanks. Lots of hard work, blood sweat and tears go into launching any business.
How long did the process take from the start to the first show going out live? I have been going to Ibiza for the last 15 years and became a big fan of the station on those trips. After I sold out from my previous station Dance FM in 2018, I knew I wanted to create a station that was more cutting-edge and underground and Ibiza Global was the perfect fit. Serious conversations began with the Ibiza Global team in early 2019 and we were officially on air by October 2020. It could have been sooner but Covid delayed the process a bit. This is their first licencing deal outside of Ibiza so it was a big step for them to take and we wanted to make sure everything was done right.
Obviously, so much has changed this year – but hugely so in the dance music world. Has launching the new station felt like a bit of hope and good news for the electronic scene in Dubai and for yourself? Dance floors have been closed the world over for much of this year but that doesn’t stop people listening and enjoying electronic music. A big part of what we do is involve local artists. We have most of the top DJs from top venues of them on the station now. At a time where they have been badly impacted, we hope that this provides a good news feel for them and the community as a whole.
This isn’t your first venture into the radio world – what lessons did you learn from your last radio adventure? That’s correct. I started Dance FM in 2015 and sold out to my business partners in 2018. Unfortunately, the station only lasted until 2020 and couldn’t survive the hit from Covid. Aside from learning the top to bottom of the technicalities of running a radio station and managing the cash flow of a new business. The biggest lesson I learnt was to hire and work with a team that is passionate and really understand the product.
You’ve got a great blend of local DJs and big-name international stars – we’ve had a few DJs break out of Dubai, who would you tip to be the next? Haha, I can’t do favourites, unfortunately. We have got a really good stable of local artists, most of which are producing their own music. We showcase a lot of their original material through the station. Dubai DJs have so many of the right ingredients to break out. Many of them get to play with big international stars on a regular basis. Local DJ fees are generally better than other countries so they can make DJing and producing a full-time focus. I genuinely feel like the missing link has been a credible radio station that can showcase what they do and reflect the electronic music culture here. The number of new venues set to open in Dubai over the next few years will further establish the region as a serious clubbing destination.
If readers only listened to one show, which one would it be and why? Our new morning show. We have been lucky to find a fresh new talented presenter Georgina B. With Georgina B in the morning and Clint Maxximus in the drive time afternoon slot, we really feel like we have the best presenters in the region that match the vibe of the station. We don’t do news or traffic updates so it is just a nice unobtrusive way to start your day.
With the world a very different place from when radio first started, why do you still think radio has a certain magic to it, what makes it still work? We strive to give listeners the experience of hearing a track for the first time and selecting artists and music they otherwise wouldn’t have the time to do themselves. Presenters add the extra dimension of it being a live spontaneous experience.
The fact that people can access radio content from anywhere means that it’s not just restricted to being in the car or maybe at home. Our new app launches in early December which means we really will be accessible from wherever you are 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week,
What plans have you got for the station and events once things – hopefully! – return to something near normal next year and beyond? We would love to be in a position to grow the station across the Middle East. Many people travel to Ibiza and are aware of the station but to be able to provide a platform for local electronic DJs and producers across the region would be fantastic.