Several months ago, I was very excited to come across a new independent English radio station which played non-stop music. 93.6 RAM FM started out as a demo radio station, so there was no talking or commentary - just amazing back-to-back hits from all decades, and the best part of this radio station was that you could almost forget that you lived in a country where the pop music is nothing short of appalling.
Israel may be at the cutting edge of medical innovations, and we may have the largest number of start-ups in the world per capita, but our music is AWFUL. Don't-give-up-your-day-job awful. Ayal Golan and Shlomo Artzi are conceivably the worst rock pop singers of all time, so it was a great relief when I finally found some music that could actually be classified as "music."
In fact, the first time I discovered 93.6 RAM FM, I was on my way to somebody's house for a meeting, and I was enjoying the music so much that I drove round the block three times once I arrived at the person's house just so I could listen to "one more song." (Wouldn't that make a great TV commercial? A person is about to get out of their car and head into the office, but enjoys the radio station so much that he just keeps driving.)
Anyway, before you get caught up in the positivity that is exuding from this post, let me tell you that this story does not have a happy ending. Cinderella did not go to the ball. A month ago, the demo period ended, and 93.6 RAM FM was officially launched, with presenters, the news, the works.
They call themselves the "Middle East Peace Radio" - yup, I should have known that trouble was brewing just from the name - and claim to provide objective reporting, avoiding such potentially inflammatory words as "terrorist," "suicide bomb" or "martyr" and instead will say, "A Palestinian blew himself up this morning."
In the words of Andrew Bolton, the station's news editor, "We are committed to telling both sides of the story. We are apolitical and will not toe any political line, other than peace." Riiiiiiiiiight. Is that why I have never heard the word "Israel" leave their mouths? If they ever do have to refer to Israel, they dance around the "I" word and will opt instead for, "the Middle East."
For a radio station that claims to be “objective,” they’re doing a “wonderful job” of hiding their bias. Not. They have yet to present the news from the perspective of the Israelis. In case you think I am bitter, I have no problem with a radio station that is pro-Arab, but do me a favor and don’t pretend to be impartial. It’s just annoying.
As for their South African radio talk show host, John Berks, known as the “Legendary 702 deejay,” I have yet to hear him string together a sentence that makes sense. His jokes are dirty, racist, and totally unfunny, and his tendency to repeat himself o-o-over and o-o-over again - “baby, baby”, “you teasy-tease, you” - makes you question what the nature of his “legendary” status was in South Africa. He has absolutely zero - nada - knowledge of the Middle East, and had to consult with the radio manager to find out what “RAM” stood for in response to a caller’s question.
If only they would have just stuck to the music.