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ARN Hit 96.7 FM

The leading Malayalam FM station in the UAE, Hit 96.7 was launched in 2004 to entertain and inform the largest expatriate community in the Gulf – the Malayalees. Spoken by about 37 million people, Malayalam is the predominant language in the state of Kerala, southern India. About 1.8 million Malayalam speakers now live in the UAE and targeting this population made Hit 96.7 a resounding success right from its inception. Living up to its name, the station quickly created a large and loyal listener base of about one million here in the UAE plus many more people around the world who tune in via the internet. As well as 24/7 broadcast, Hit 96.7 also goes all out to organise blockbuster events its listeners will never forget, from the annual Gulf Malayalam Music Awards launched in 2006 to flying 96 listeners to Kerala for the station’s third birthday celebrations in June 2007. To its listeners, Hit 96.7 is more than just a station, it’s their community, an extension of their family and a connection to their homeland. It’s also a friend that makes life more fun through humour, great music, the latest in news and sports, nostalgia, chaos and lots of love. A bit of everything, that’s what Hit 96.7 is about. Launching an online station to specifically target the Malayalam community in the UAE was the brainchild of Arab Media Group CEO Abdullatif Al Sayegh and Arab Radio Network Programming Director Chetan Fernandes. It was a success waiting to happen. The Malayalees are the largest expatriate community in the Gulf, numbering about 1.8 million people and covering every level of society from the labouring classes to the highest corporate executive yet no one was catering to this audience. Recognising the huge potential of this gap in the market, Al Sayegh and Fernandes traveled to Kerala to recruit and headhunt for the new station. They cherry-picked the cream of Malayalee talent from all corners of the media, brought them back to Dubai and, in June 2004, Hit 96.7 was born. The exciting, young station changed the face of radio in the UAE, setting trends and smashing records such as when 5000 people gathered in a stadium to watch the first anniversary celebrations of the station in 2005. Making an immediate impact, the Hit team shook up the local media, bringing an energy, youth and attitude that had been missing