Internet radio is slowly but surely growing in popularity in Egypt. With over 150 registered internet radio stations in the country, more and more people are starting to tune in for their information and entertainment. Capitol Club Radio is one of Cairo’s internet based radio stations that boasts diverse programming in both English and Arabic.
Capital Club Radio started in the beginning of 2011 and was the brainchild of Ahmed Mohsen, the director of the radio station. Aiming to provide the listeners with information, entertainment and music to listen to that could not easily be found elsewhere, Capital Club Radio has amassed a group of presenters that produce live radio shows every day from 10am to 3am. Playlists fill the rest of the hours for those working at night or unable to sleep. Shows have well defined identities and have each garnered a loyal following since the station first went into the ether.
Like many internet radio stations, part of Capital Club Radio’s programming targets their immediate surroundings. Situated in the heart of Heliopolis, Capital Club Radio airs several shows filled with information and soft news about what is going on in the upscale neighbourhood of Cairo. Capital Club Radio has become part of the neighbourhood, when local businesses struggled to survive after the revolution the radio station aired free ads to support the community.
Besides shows with a local focus, Capital Club Radio is committed to featuring musical genres that do not get a lot of attention on the more commercial frequency-based radio stations. With shows like World Beat, playing only world music, Mosh Pit Maniacs, completely dedicated to metal music and The Vibe Zone, featuring funky jazz, acid jazz, old school R&B, soul and funk, Capital Club Radio attracts listeners interested in more than the Top 40.
“I started my show, The Vibe Zone, because the music I listen to is seldom heard on the radio,” Shehab Kasseb, the show’s host told The Daily News Egypt. “Originally the show was one hour long, but the listener feedback has been great and the show has built a solid listener base and so the show has become two and a half hours long.” Kasseb’s show goes on air on Monday nights at 12.30 and attracts listeners from both Egypt and abroad. “My first show drew 10 listeners,” Kasseb laughed, “but as time passed the show became more popular.” The late hour of the show does not stop people from tuning in, and listeners can use the chat feature on the website to interact live with the host.
Kasseb spices up his shows with recurring features and interviews with local musicians. “There is a segment, ‘What’s on my iPod’ where I play the songs that I am currently listening to and from next month recordings of the show will be available online on the website and my Facebook page,” he explained. “I have done interviews with Noha Fekry, the female singer of the Riff Band, where we talked about jazz music and with Ousso when his band Eftekaset was celebrating its tenth anniversary,” Kasseb said. “At the station, we are committed to supporting underground music in Egypt and we have a few new CD launches lined up in the near future.”
Being a radio host is not Kasseb’s full time job; he is a singer/songwriter who performs regularly fronting several bands and he has just preformed several shows with Fathy Salama. His understanding of music and passion for the genre help him in programming his shows and his success is clear judging by the enthusiasm of his listeners who stay up late to hear his show.