Dance FM in the UAE

Theo Makris and Kristian Valdini on the UAE’s newest radio station Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

If you’re fed up of the commercial tracks that get played on loop on the radio, you’re in luck. Dance FM, the Middle East’s first and only radio station dedicated exclusively to dance music, 24/7, recently launched on 97.8 FM.

“We started working on it two years back at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” explains managing partner Theo Makris. “We were challenged to create a non-pop-driven radio station. Many people told us it couldn’t be done, but we truly believed that there was a real demand from people (like us) who didn’t just want to listen to pop music.” The station’s non-executive director Kristian Valdini says, “The biggest incentive was being told that what we were trying to do wouldn’t work.”

Dance FM first hit the airwaves in October last year, and it plays everything from David Guetta (pictured) to local artists such as Charl Chaka and Sam Farsio. Makris explains that although it was just in soft launch back then, the response has so far been “amazing”. The station’s shows are still being finalised, but the team will soon be announcing the DJs who will be covering the breakfast and drive-time shows, on which you can, Valdini says, “expect to hear
less talking and more music”.

As for the music, Dance FM plays every kind of electronic beats, from commercial dance remixes to more underground tunes, with tracks from international artists including David Guetta and Roger Sanchez, as well as up-and-coming DJs based in the UAE. “We have a huge focus on local talent,” says Makris, “with more than 50 percent of the scheduled shows dedicated to giving them a platform. We see our station as the voice of the UAE’s dance music scene. The local DJ talent of today can quickly become the international talent of tomorrow, as we’ve seen with Raxon. He was a staple on the UAE scene and can now be found DJing across the globe.”

Valdini explains that Dance FM will encourage people to submit their demos. “At best you may land a show, at worst the team can provide some constructive feedback on how to improve your sound and move towards the next level,” he says.

The whole team at Dance FM will play a part in creating the playlist. “Everyone has a role in unearthing new music,” says Makris. Both he and Valdini want to guarantee that they’re representing dance across the entire spectrum, from deep house to trance and everything else in between.

And they hope that Dance FM is the next step in the rise of the UAE’s dance music scene, which they say has grown exponentially year on year, “from the quality of the local talent to the top quality international DJs coming to the region on a weekly basis”.

Ultimately, the aim of Dance FM is to “help local music be heard by a far wider audience, whenever they want it,” Makris says. So, what you waiting for? Tune in and chill out.
Listen on your radio at 97.8FM, on the TuneIN app or online at www.dancefm.com.

By Dominic Beesley
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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