Rotana nabs Saudi private radio license

Rotana has landed one of four new private radio licenses being awarded in Saudi Arabia after paying $18 million for the rights to broadcast in the country.

The win follows last year’s decision by the country’s Ministry of Information and Culture to open up the kingdom’s radio market to private competition, bringing to an end MBC’s 15-year monopoly on private radio in Saudi Arabia. The MBC Group’s MBC FM and Panorama FM had previously been the only two private stations in the kingdom.

Nine companies are understood to have bid for the license won by Rotana, including the Saudi Specialized Publishing Co, ART and the Al-Jazirah Newspaper alliance.

Two of the four new private radio licenses have already been won – the first going to Alf Alf alliance and the second to Ghaya Innovation Holding Co earlier this year.

The Saudi government’s initial request for proposal to create four additional FM stations last year was met by 30 applications.

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