A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for the ‘radio’ Category

window-shopping the want ads

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 21, 2009

Most days I love my current job – just like I love each and every pair of shoes in my closet. But just like with my beloved shoes, I’m always on the lookout for a new pair of heels – er, job – to love.

Hence I eagerly scroll through the job postings that AME Info sends my way. I’ve never seen a job that I would actually 1) qualify for and 2) be interested in, but I do love reading the descriptions.

The latest featured position – that of general manager of a Saudi Arabian radio station – caught my eye at once:

Our Client in KSA is urgently looking for a General Manager for their radio station. The general manager would be reporting directly to the CEO of the Media Group. Salary will not be a bar for the right candidate.

“Salary will not be a bar for the right candidate”? Since when did radio become such a lucrative field?

At least with that job, the applicant knows the industry. Here’s a more mysterious want ad:

Location : Kabul – Afghanistan
Salary:  $100,000 – $150,000 per year
Applicants should have over 15 years experience and be prepared to be based in Afghanistan. This is a challenging yet rewarding role for a senior candidate.

“Challenging yet rewarding” – I bet. Challenge number one: identifying just what you will be the CEO of.

Finally, I took a peek at all the jobs currently listed with a “Lebanon” location. There were three:

Finance Analyst – Dubai

Senior Business Planning Analyst – Dubai

Human Resources Manager – Lebanon.

Um. Just to recap: I chose the “narrow by location” option and selected “Lebanon”. Guess the sour economy hasn’t soured the Lebanese on the Emirati exodus.


Posted in advertising, Afghanistan, Arab world, Dubai, economics, Lebanon, radio | Leave a Comment »

when “international opportunity” knocks …

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 2, 2009

One of the nice things about having nice friends in a bad economy is their willingness to email around news of any forthcoming job opportunity. I am (happily!) still gainfully employed, but I appreciate each opportunity to be part of a chain of virtue – passing job postings on to those who might be looking.

So for those of you who might be in the market for a real fixer-upper of a job, and are eager to spend a bit more time in Dubai, this job might be for you. (And if you aren’t familiar with MBN, scroll down to see what semi-popular radio station and total-disaster television channel you would be responsible for resurrecting before you ready your resume :).)

International Opportunity

Television Center Management

Director, Dubai Production Center

The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN) is seeking an experienced television professional to serve as Center Director of our broadcasting facility in Dubai U.A.E. This is a non-editorial position.

The Dubai Production Center Director has overall responsibility for the management of television and radio production operations at MBN’s Dubai Production Center and is MBN’s representative in the UAE. This individual will manage all aspects of the Center’s television and radio production operations to meet MBN’s programming requirements including:

· Oversee daily technical operations as well as the implementation of approved technical projects, upgrades, and equipment installations.

· Lead the Dubai Center staff; ensure compliance with MBN practices, production standards, and procedures.

· Manage operational plans, work flows and resource requirements. Manage spending for Center operations within prescribed budgets.

· Communicate changes in local conditions that affect operations to senior management.

· Represent MBN to visiting officials and dignitaries.

· Work with the Branch Manager to ensure administrative operations adequately meet Center requirements, developing budgets, staff plans, and organizational structures.

· Assist with on-site management of human resource and other administrative management issues.

The Center Director is responsible for building and maintaining positive business relationships, including liaison with the US Embassy in the U.A.E and Consulate in Dubai and must be able to negotiate and manage in a multi-cultural environment.

This is an exciting opportunity for a television broadcast professional with production or business operations experience.

The successful candidate will have a 4 year college degree and have strong strategic, analytical and general management skills honed through at least 10 years of experience in television business or production operations.

If you are a leader with a proven ability to provide structure and oversight with experience integrating new technology into operations, we invite you apply!

MBN is a Washington, DC. based international multi-media broadcasting corporation broadcasting television and FM /AM radio news and information in Arabic to the 22+ Arabic speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa as well as to Arabic speakers across Europe.

MBN offers a challenging work environment, competitive pay and excellent benefits. The selected candidate must be able to pass background check. MBN is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. Please visit our television website at www.alhurra.com and the radio website at www.radiosawa.com.

Please forward your cover letter, resume, and salary expectations to mbnjobs@alhurra.com. Please include the job title of the position in the email subject line.

Posted in advertising, Americans, Arab world, Arabic, media, radio, television | Leave a Comment »


Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 18, 2007

Yesterday marked the end of a project I’ve been working on for a very long time.


Posted in academia, family, media, photography, radio, research, Seattle, time, words | 2 Comments »

public piety ii: mornings with God

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 29, 2007

This morning at the gym I dressed to the sounds of an instrumental rendition of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”.

Its one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I do like the idea of Christmas in July, but as I hummed along I wondered how many other gym-goers recognized the piece, and what they thought of hearing such an explicitly religious Christian piece in a public setting.

When it comes to praising God with voice and instrument, Lebanon is an interesting place. On the one hand, church bells and the call to prayer ring out several times each day, and anyone wanting to catch a church service or mosque prayers can do so by turning on the television.

On the other hand, I have noticed that I never hear Quranic recitations during the daytime – not in taxis, shops, passing cars or any other common contributor to the aural picture of Beirut.

I have many memories of walking into shops and restaurants in Damascus, Amman and the Gulf, or of getting into a taxi and hearing the Quran recited on cassette, CD or the radio. For the most part, its not an off-putting experience, and I’ve seen no correlation between the sounds of Quranic recitation and the warmth or friendliness of the shopkeeper, waitstaff or driver.

Beirut by daylight is a fairly tajweed-free space. But I’m an early riser, and in that first hour after dawn I hear a different world.

The sounds of the Quran come from the snack shop that usually plays Arabic pop music as well as from the hospital doctor’s sporty red coupe. The snack shop is staffed by eighteen year old boys and the doctor in question is a beautifully coiffed woman in early middle age; and none of them seem to find their listening choice incongruous.

I love cities in the early mornings – I love watching the ways they come to life. But I also like seeing them in their just-waking-up state because they show such different faces to the world.

In this case, the face is an aural one, and it adds a note of quiet piety to the city – one that disappears by the time the morning heat sets in.

Posted in Arab world, Arabic, art, Beirut, Islam, Lebanon, music, radio, religion, time, words | Leave a Comment »

a little night blindness

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 4, 2007

I don’t think you should go out this evening, G said to me. You can’t see and there’s a war.

Right on both counts, it seems. Thanks to an eye exam in the afternoon, my eyes are big glassy pools of dilation. (I’m typing this post tap by tap, squinting at the screen through one eye.)

And thanks to an as yet unknown perpetrator, the days of quiet have been replaced by another bomb – this one set in an empty passenger bus on the eastern fringe of town.

Don’t worry, I replied. I’m not going anywhere.

I imagined myself wandering through the city night with these eyes. Pardon me, I would say, but could I feel your chin? I can’t see anything, and I just want to be certain there aren’t militants about.

Not the most efficient system, nor the most efficacious. On the whole, I’m glad to have stayed in.

Posted in Americans, Beirut, curfew, explosion, health, home, Lebanon, news, politics, radio, words | Leave a Comment »

the sound of music in Lebanon (ii): sweating to the oldies

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 4, 2007

I realized that my previous post on music in Lebanon had neglected a key musical phenomenon, one that extends around the region.


I am referring, of course, to the strange and persistent popularity of the Eagles’ 1976 hit, “Hotel California”.




My own introduction to the song came when I was eleven and joined the synchronized swimming team at our family’s country club.

For some reason, “Hotel California” was selected for the grand finale of our summer performance. How a song about drugs and rock and roll came to be considered appropriate for a group of 10 to 15 year old girls remains a mystery, but … it was.

It has somehow also become the go-to song for restaurants, mobile phones, muzak, and … gyms here in the region, as this morning’s workout reminded me. I filled my water bottle to the sounds of “she’s got a lot of pretty, pretty boys that she calls friends”, which was followed by Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” (which I remember first hearing as a small child via the Chipmunks’ version), and a … Sinatra ballad.

Working out to Sinatra is much like working out to Fairouz: deeply unsatisfying. The songs are beautiful, true; but their elegiac pace slows a run into a relaxed, meditative stroll.

Still, those two artists at least perform in the same register. But the Eagles? Why them – and why this song?

Sometimes I long for a bit of variety: a bit of “Dust in the Wind”, perhaps, or Don Henley’s “American Pie”. And sometimes I just long for an answer to the question of how this song got such a hold in the contemporary Middle East.

Posted in Americans, Beirut, Damascus, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, media, music, radio, Syria, travel, words | 2 Comments »

adding insult to injury: jund al-Sham and the Lebanese Army in Taamir

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 25, 2007

Having grown bored with both Radio Orient’s live coverage of the Paris III conference and the re-broadcast of Nasrallah’s post-strike speech on al-Nour (the two are in a neck-and-neck competition for longest on-air speech time), I have turned to Radio Sawa and its effervescent pop broadcasts.

Sawa’s carefully calibrated mixture of Arabic pop and American R&B must be inspiring – I’ve been working straight for the past three hours, which naturally means that a blogging break is over.

Pre-Nasrallah, Radio Nour was broadcasting live from Ain el-Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon. The camp is evidently such a morass of militias that foreigners have to receive special permission – and sign waivers – from the Lebanese government before going there.

The seemingly ubiquitous Jund al-Sham took up residence in Ain el-Hilweh some time ago, along with a number of equally unsavory paramilitary groups. When not organizing attacks on the US embassy in Damascus and other sensitive Syrian targets, the jund likes to go after the Lebanese army. Sometimes, as earlier this month, they do so under the pretext of preserving an “Islamic” morality:

Lebanese army, Islamic militants clash after soldiers search veiled school-girls

(from the International Herald Tribune, January 11, 2007)

SIDON, Lebanon: Armed Islamic militants and Lebanese troops clashed Thursday in south Lebanon, forcing hundreds of residents to flee for safety, security officials said.

Officials said two soldiers were injured in the exchange that was triggered when gunmen belonging to the Jund al-Sham militant group opened fire on the soldiers for searching a van full of veiled schoolgirls. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The clashes also were sparked by the army’s search of a wanted militant in the Taamir neighborhood of the southern city of Sidon, close to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, the officials said.

Several hundred residents fled the neighborhood, some taking refuge in nearby mosques.

The security officials said the schoolgirls’ van had stopped at an army checkpoint, and the girls were asked to lift their face veils during a security search.

Sometimes, like this morning, the jund’s attacks seem entirely opportunistic:

Militants fight Lebanese troops outside refugee camp in southern Lebanon

(from the International Herald Tribune, January 25, 2007)

SIDON, Lebanon: Islamic militants on Thursday fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at Lebanese troops as they deployed outside a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, forcing hundreds of civilians to flee, security officials said.

The soldiers fired back at the Jund al-Sham militants in an exchange that lasted about 10 minutes outside the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern port of Sidon, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

There was no immediate word of casualties.

It was not clear why the Jund al-Sham, an extremist Muslim group, opened fire. Two weeks previously there was a similar exchange between members of Jund al-Sham and the national army near Ein el-Hilweh in which two soldiers were wounded.

Who knows what they hope to accomplish. Their actions only mean more chaos for a country already subject to the whims of too many men with guns at their disposal.

The Radio Nour reporter was speaking over the sounds of gunfire and distressed civilians; it was quite sad to hear. Palestinians are largely un-loved in Lebanon (unlike in Syria, where support for the Palestinian cause is automatic but sincere), where they face not only discrimination but legal prohibitions on their employment in most private and public sector spheres.

Skirmishes like this do nothing to make the Lebanese more welcoming.

Posted in Americans, Beirut, Lebanon, media, music, news, Paris, politics, radio, religion | Leave a Comment »

following the money trail: Iranian investments in Syria

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 24, 2007

In honor of the presumed trifecta of shi3a interests in the region (Iran, Lebanon, Syria), I am typing away to the melodious sounds of al-Nour’s Ashura programming.

The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran’s official news agency, reported today that Iran’s 2006 investments in Syria totaled more than $400 million, making it far and away the largest investor in the country.

To put this in perspective, the article offers investment figures for several other countries:

India: $84 million

Germany: $24 million

Turkey: $18 million

South Korea: $3 million

Sweden: $1 million

Taken together, the European states invested $180 million – less than half Iran’s investment.

Only the combined investments of the Arab states exceeded Iran’s: $600 million.

In total, Syria received $1.4 billion in investments, of which Iran – one country – contributed nearly 29%.

Answering a question that had been intriguing me since November, the Iranian company Aberaz was just approved to build and operate a natural gas-run power plant in Hassakeh in partnership with a private Syrian firm – a double first for Syria’s previously government-run electricity sector.

Meanwhile, SANA reports today on successful talks between Syrian Prime Minister Najji Otri and Iran’s Amiran Group about the latter’s anticipated investment in a wide range of projects, from tourism to transportation.

I’m not so taken with money related conspiracy theories: that, for example, Iran’s donations to Hizbullah give it control over the latter. I am curious, though. I understand why the Iranian government might wish to push investment in Syria, but why are these private companies so interested?

Do they see opportunities in Syria that others miss – or as Iranians is their investment money less welcome in other countries? Are they receiving Syria’s equivalent of tax incentives, happy beneficiaries of the two countries current warm relations? Does each investment come with an `umra to Sitt Zeinab?

My encounters with Iranians in Syria have always been wonderful; I have particularly fond memories of a little old mullah who recited his poems for me while we each waited to renew our visas. Plus, I think the Persian accent in Arabic is utterly charming – all those dark 3ayns and ghayn/qaff elision. So for me, the more Iranians, the merrier – but I do wonder why all this interest.

Posted in economics, Iran, news, politics, radio, research, Syria | 4 Comments »

all the news one can use: listening in on the strike

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 24, 2007

After Siniora spoke yesterday evening, the neighborhood behind mine erupted in volleys of gunfire.

The rat-tat-tats and deeper booms went on for nearly forty minutes, long enough for my forgotten supper to go from “lentil soup” to “cajun [blackened] lentil pate” while I stood in my garden and watched the tracers in the sky and the flashes lighting up the nearby high-rises.

My aunt Intlxpatr has said that she and my uncle lead not exciting lives but ordinary lives in exciting places. Yesterday was a bit too exciting for quiet me.

When not blithering on about my recent pleasure reading, I spent much of yesterday working to the sounds of local radio stations.

Lebanese news channels are not like those in the United States or Europe, where each channel attempts to present a holistic view of events. Here each party, each interest group, each religious faction has a television news channel (or, in the case of Michel Aoun and, most recently, the Future Party, wants one) to present their view of events.

Many also have radio stations. So to get the full, or at least a fuller, story, I spent the day alternating between Hizbullah’s al-Nour and the Future Party’s Radio Orient. My little system worked quite well, and I felt rather smugly ‘in-the-know’ all day.

Then the evening gunfire started, and I found myself abandoned by both stations just when I really needed to know what was going on.

Radio Orient was broadcasting a paean to Jacques Chirac, while al-Nour was ushering in Ashura with a retelling of the Karbala story.

On the one hand, it was good to know that nothing urgent was happening. On the other hand, … pfft. I wanted news.

In the end, the first news I had of the strike’s ending came from a totally unexpected source: the Bahrain News Agency. A tantalizing headline reporting Lebanese Opposition Strike Ends was posted at 9:21. I read it moments later, while talking on Skype with a friend in forbidden lands, and thought: silly Bahrainis, reporting on rumors as if they are news.

Happily, I was the silly one, as Reuters and Jazeera soon pointed out.

This morning was blissfully normal, and I am back to my usual ordinary routines: stocking up on chewing gum and tuna, and working away on my laptop, cup of tea at the ready.

No grey polluting the skies (I smiled when I saw last night that Cyberia had changed its Beirut forecast back from “smoky” to “clear” after news of the strike’s halt had spread) , no pursed lips on passersby in the streets, and no gunshots in the air. Oh, what a beautiful morning.

Sietske in Beiroet has posted a fascinating account of her day out and about in the striking city. I don’t know her personally, but I read her blog religiously. I adore the way her writing blends sharp wit with her keen affection for this place.

Posted in Americans, Arabic, Beirut, Lebanon, media, music, news, Paris, politics, radio, religion, time | 1 Comment »