|Ritesh Jeswani, a 22-year-old resident of Dubai, who recently graduated from Manipal University, recognized an intangible problem amongst the student community in Dubai. He decided to do something about it. The answer relies in his bedroom, where he records his radio shows.Campus radio is a non-profit student online radio station aiming to change the perception of youth about youth, and to create a larger and more connected student community, starting from Dubai and targeting the global student community. It started broadcasting on 9thof April, 2010 from the bedroom of one of its co-founders.
The initial idea came to Ritesh’s mind back when he was a university student in 2007. He started searching the idea further,but found out that an actual radio station would be too expensive and required a lot that he could not offer. He decided that an online radio station is more realistic. He shared his idea with his friend, Muhammed Ali Jamadar, now the other co-founder of Campus radio, who was very welcoming and offered great help.By January 2010, the pair first presented their idea during Geek Fest in Dubai. Their presentation was very successful and during Q&A they were asked when they are launching. Unprepared, and without any previous discussion or planning, they said April first. They set themselves a deadline.Their first airing was on April 9th,2010.They only had 18 listeners in the first week; the pair bought themselves celebratory dinner. Now the radio has regular listeners, which add up to 3800 in the UAE alone. According to Ritesh, the radio also has a great listeners’ population outside the UAE.Their target listeners are high school and university students between the ages of 18-23.“We haven’t spent a penny on any advertisement.We only used social media and word of mouth methods to get popular.” Said Ritesh, “The team members of Campus radio promote it amongst their friends and social circles.”
“We had many people who loved the idea of working with us. Even though they were passionate about it, but they did notput the required effort and commitment needed. We had many people come in and out of our team, but now we settled with a team of 19 devoted members.” He added.
Mena Zuberi, whose radio name is Zubeerry; isone of the radio’s staff team. She hosts “Happy Hours”, a lighthearted program which discusses the latest gossip from the celebrity world, as well as playing the latest hits.
Mena is also a freshman at the American University in Sharjah. She is doing her Bachelors’ degree in journalism. Sheknew about Campus Radio through twitter and had to undergo voice auditions,which she passed. She joined the team a week after their launch.
“Campus Radio is amazing. I recommend every student who is looking for an internship and who likes the radio to join.Ritesh is a great person. He is so much fun but he knows how to get to you so you get your work done.” Mena said.
|“It is relaxing to have such a young, fun boss.Very different and much better than a corporate environment.” She added.Ziad Jawad, a regular listener of Campus Radio said, “I like the idea of Campus Radio. I know there are many other university radios out there. But the fact that this one is based in Dubai, and that it is an online radio station helps its listeners relate more to it.”“I listen to it whenever I am at home, and Itry not to miss on “the Curfew”, which is my favorite show, because it discusses many issues I can relate to with a fun twist added to it. And it is streamed at a convenient time for me, 11pm-1am.” Ziad added.The radio’s programs are recorded in Dubai. The live shows are broadcasted from Ritesh’s bedroom. Ritesh still lives with his parents. He records and does many live programs from his bedroom, but he is not the only host for the radio. He invited other programs’ hosts to his house aswell to record their shows. Therefore the program timings on the radio are sometimes based on his parents napping hours.The streaming of all these programs is from Canada, through “Stream the World”, a service provider company which also streams for “Radio1” and “Virgin Radio”. Ritesh and Muhammed Ali pay all the fees for this service.The Campus radio team involves people from different nationalities. Indian, Pakistani, British, Local, Syrian, Argentinean,and Saudi young people make up the team and contribute to the increasing success of campus radio.They can be working on content research, production, design, or even simply sending their own recorded shows to be broadcasted on the radio. They all work and collaborate as a team, regardless of their backgrounds and lifestyles.
Campus radio is a non profit organization;everything so far has been paid for by the co-founders. It is not planning onturning into a profitable organization any time soon; hence all the teammembers working on it are dedicated volunteers that do not receive any income in exchange to their contribution.
According to Ritesh, the radio will only be sellinga certain amount of radio space for companies wishing to advertise on it.Campus radio is determined not to turn into a tool for communicating companies products to its listeners. They just want the listeners to enjoy the music and the programs.
As Ritesh kept repeating, the main objective behind Campus radio is to connect the youth and help them understand that their dreams can be achieved. According to him, many students still got their ambitions, but are slowly losing their determination and patience. Campus radiois another tool to help them communicate and see each others achievements tolearn from them.
According to Ritesh, The content presented in Campus radio is 65% serious, and 35% entertainment. They have a variety of programs ranging from hard news programs such as “Student Wire”, to very light content programs such as “Curfew” and “Happy Hours”.
The radio discusses different topics from different regions of the world. It also plays different genre of music, whichis very different from most of the Dubai radio station which tend to mostly play commercial music.
Campus radio has a lot of variety, but it is all framed into what its target audience wants to hear. It is their by the audience, for the audience.
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