Dubai’s Coast FM lays off all its DJs
February 23rd, 2009 - 14:09 UTC
Dubai radio station Coast FM laid off all its DJs at a meeting yesterday. The station’s presenters have not been on air or been paid since early January but had hoped their jobs would be saved. Neil Petch, the managing director of Parent company, ENG, broke the grim news at a meeting at the Al Attar Business Tower yesterday afternoon.
However, he said ENG would pay the DJs up to the end of February. The popular station has been struggling with transmission problems and the global slump in media advertising. It has been playing music non-stop since early January after telling DJs not to show up for work. ENG spokeswoman Gemma McKeown confirmed that all the station’s presenters were laid off yesterday. She said management would try to absorb Coast’s remaining staff into ENG’s other divisions, which include publishing and outdoor advertising.
“It’s very sad for everyone involved,” she said. The DJs were warned of the likely outcome of the meeting but had hoped that management might have good news. The layoffs came just as ENG sold Coast to Ajman Independent Studios which broadcasts Channel 4. One source said it was buying the Coast FM name and is likely to try a new format for the station. One of Coast’s most popular DJs, Chris Fisher, said he could not comment on the details of the meeting.
He said he was concerned about paying his bills like everyone else caught in the economic downturn. Fisher said he would devote six months to finding a new job in Dubai and would then have to consider moving abroad. Coast has been caught in a legal tussle in recent months with a Fujairah-based media company that owns the station’s transmitter.
Coast blamed transmitter problems for a series of broadcast breakdowns. Meanwhile, Dubai’s City 7 TV is also struggling with the global slump in advertising revenue. Some staff members said they have not been paid since early January.