Monthly Archives: June 2011

Quarter of a Million Hits! You’re Kidding Me!





(Image taken from this blog which saw their 250,000th view in March of this year.)

Wow! Just realized this blog has had more than 250,000 views (not including mine!) which is really hard to believe. That’s 1/4 of a million views!  Thanks again to all the folks who take the time to check out what’s new in Oman and in my own personal world from time to time!  A special thanks to fellow Oman bloggers, Riyadh or “Blue-Chi“, Maurizio and Sythe at Muscat Mutterings (whose blogs I follow and are top notch guys to boot!) who send a few people each day to my blog through links/updates.  I’m currently on a 61 day vacation in the Philippines with my gorgeous wife and adorable son.  Enjoy the summer, everyone!  🙂

The Joy of Life

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

Merge 104.8 FM, Oman – 3rd Day for New Station – “So Far, So GREAT!”

The big news of the week in Muscat is the launch of Oman’s newest radio station, Merge 104.8, currently on their 3rd day on-air.  “The capital’s newest, coolest, baddest radio station has just landed. The best hip-hop, R’n’B, house, rock, lounge and pop with fresh local flavour.” Merge 104.8’s radio presenters: Chris, Rumaitha, Sami and Sayeh.

The welcoming desk at the press conference on June 6th announcing the June 7th launch.  I guess your name has to start with “M” to be at this desk: Maurizio, Mariam and Mohsin.  (I wonder if they arranged that for “M“erge.  🙂 )

Sami and Chris entertained the room while waiting for the press conference to begin.

The General Manager of SABCO Media, Eihab Abutaha, giving the Welcome Speech.  “Our concept is simple; we are all inspired by the diversity of cultures and richness in our society and Merge 104.8 embraces the demographic mix that forms our nation.  This has allowed us to create a unique offering that we believe is a major differentiating factor in Omani radio today.  Our aim is to achieve the highest penetration figures and listenership to become the leading FM station in the Sultanate.”

Nadim Attieh, the station manager, gave an interesting speech about the development of the station. “The programming has been carefully developed, taking into account the varying and evolving tastes of our listeners and advertisers.  Merge 104.8’s mix of Omani and expatriate presenters, and behind the scenes team has been specially selected to offer our audience a myriad of programming styles-an important factor when retaining and creating loyalty among listeners-while valuing diversity and remaining respectful of Omani cultures and customs.”

Feroz Khan, Director of Sales and Marketing explained how businesses can use Merge 104.8’s radio advertising as a platform to reach a large audience of listeners.

The whole Merge team at the end of the press conference on June 6th at Radisson Blu

Welcomed by models!  🙂

Rumaitha, Sayeh and Chris at their office which is conveniently in the same building as the station.  I’m sure they’ve been working quite hard as the launch date approached.  It looks like all their hardwork paid off.  Good reviews from many people not only across Muscat but around the world which is obvious from the comments on their facebook page.

Chris Fisher has probably been busier than most as he is not only the morning Presenter during weekdays 6-10am (“Chris Fisher in the Morning”), but he’s also the Programme Director.  I appreciate the full tour he gave me of the studio!

Here Mr. Fisher demonstrates the “microphone distance” that a presenter should be within to be clearly heard over the airwaves.

It was fascinating to hear about Chris’ experience as he transitioned years ago from “old school radio” to the more sophisticated type of programs that he had to become acquainted with in running a modern radio station.  It’s obvious to anyone who might get the chance to be shown around by Chris that he is extremely passionate about radio.

This might give an idea of different genres of music they play at Merge.  They are what is known in radio lingo as “Hot A/C” which stands for Hot Adult Contemporary.  95% Western Music and 5% Fushion.

Contact info if you’re interested.  During give-aways, you can text in answers (and sometimes through email I noticed)  For example, I listened carefully during the 1st Movie Mess-Up quiz on Chris’ first morning and guessed the quote to “Jaws” winning 2 tickets to the cinema! YIPPEE!  🙂  If I can win, folks, ANYONE CAN WIN!  They have a lot of trivia type games where listeners can text-in, call or email answers – I think that kind of stuff is a real blast!

Rumaitha is doing a great job on The Lunch Break. She’s a cool, young Omani lady with a lot of potential.  Great voice and a lot of fun.  I’ve heard a few people say that “she needs to get more confidence” but she sounds plenty confident to me.  She’s a great representative of the new, hip, educated Omani youth that is paving the way forward for the Sultanate!

Sayeh Stone is one quirky, animated lady!  Like a talking female Mr. Bean high on energy drinks.  She uses expressions like “cool beans” and “Yabadaba do” and I find myself listening in to see what funny expression she’s going to come up with next, ha!ha!  Keep it going, Sayeh!

It’s not all work and toil at the station.  I think this would be a pretty fun place to work, don’t you?  🙂  By the way, don’t let Chris Fisher hear you refer to these folks as “DJs” or “RJs”, as he kept telling me over and over again, “It’s Radio Presenters, Andy!”  I’ll try to remember that, Chris.  Whatever you call them, the people at Merge 104.8 are a lot of fun to spend time with.  Tune in at 104.8 MHz in the Muscat area or on the internet anywhere in the world at and listen for yourself why I’m so pumped about the radio for the first time in years!

(*Just for the record, NO, I have not received one dime (or Omani rial, ha!ha!) for promoting this fabulous radio station.  The banners you see at the top and on the right of the blog will be up for their 1st 3 months to let people know about the new station.  I am unashamedly plugging this station for the simply fact that I love it myself so why not tell others about it?!  🙂 )  Tune into the Mix!

Farewell, Pastor Jack & Linda! Greetings, Pastor Andre & Marnell!

Bowling Bonanza!!!

I LOVE bowling! Yes, I’m a real bowling geek.  I used to bowl all the time in South Korea but I rarely find the time here in Muscat.  (Now, just to clarify.  I was never a “real bowling nerd“, like the type who joins a bowling club, ha!ha!)  I suddenly got back in the mood and I’ve bowled 6 games this week at Al Masa Mall.  My right forearm was in some pain after all that action! (That line just didn’t sound right…but there it is.)  If you’ve never been to Al Masa Mall, let me take you on a little tour.

For North Americans, no need to worry about complicated foreign overseas shoe sizes!  They’re in “American size” (size 10 for me, for example)

16 lanes in total at Al Masa, so there’s always plenty of room! (Good form, Joji!)

OUCH! 92!!!  That’s got to be one of my lowest all time scores! Anything below 100 and you might as well go shoot yourself!  My friend, Joji, scored a 133.  Not only is that an amazing score, it’s all the more amazing when you consider that it was his first time bowling EVER IN HIS LIFE! WOW! (Good thing there were no wagers on that game!)

Yeah, STRIKE! That’s what I need!“, I’d tell myself as I looked at the front glass window.

Now that’s much better.  152!!! I think that’s the highest score I’ve ever bowled.  3 strikes in a row, peeps! That’s what we call a “Wild Turkey“! Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Al Masa Bowling Alley! What a blast!  Open Hours: 9:30am-1:00am  (Tel: +968 2469 3991)

There are a total of 3 vouchers for Al Masa Bowling Alley in Entertainer Oman 2011: 1 game + 1 free game, 2 games + 2 free games, and 3 games + 3 free games.  I used all 3 coupons this week. Each game costs 2 rials (including shoe rental) so I saved a total of 12 Omani rials!  🙂