Dubai Filipina wins fully-furnished one-year free accommodation

Tag Radio winner (SUPPLIED)

A new radio station targeting the most tech-savvy Filipino community in the UAE is engaging its target aggressively through smartphones, Facebook, text messaging and other social networking tools, offering more freebies including free houses to winners and emotional support in times of break-ups and relationship failures.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Steve Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Arabian Radio Network (ARN), said the Filipino community in the UAE has responded overwhelmingly to the first major campaign, Mahal Ko, Bagong Bahay Ko ( I Love my New House!), carried out through TAG 91.1, the three-month-old Filipino community radio in Tagalog.

ARN’s Dubai Eye used to run a Filipino community radio earlier, and now a full-time radio station in Tagalog is added in view of the community response.

Ruby Anne Tejero, a regular listener of the Tagalog radio started texting to the radio station to participate in the Mahal Ko, Bagong Bahay Ko three days before the final and she was lucky to get a one-bedroom apartment for free for one year and the three-member family of the office secretary is getting ready to move from a sharing accommodation.

“I am happy to get a one-bedroom apartment for one year because I can save Dh45,000 rent that we currently pay for a sharing accommodation. We are waiting for the contract and will move soon with my son Lance Tajera and husband Larry Tejero. All my friends are surprised about me winning a house through a radio programme,” Anne told this website.

She listens to the Filipino radio when she is going office with her telecom engineer husband and she continues to text for other competitions. “It is good that we have the first full-time Filipino radio station because we can get updated about the latest songs and news from our country,” Anne said.

Every Filipinos dream is to own a home back home, but Anne is happy to get one here for one year. The campaign which ran from June 2 lasted for two weeks and at the end of the promotion, Ruby Anne Tejero, won a one bedroom fully furnished hotel apartment from a leading hotel group.

“The promotion ran from June 2 until June 15. The concept of the promotion was to give one lucky listener a chance to win a fully-furnished one-bedroom hotel apartment from Time Hotels for the entire year. All they had to do was to listen out for the sound of the ‘Doorbell’ and SMS 4003 and register,” Steve said. “The promotion resulted in over 27,000 entries and 50 finalists were shortlisted to attend the Live event, of which 10 were qualified for the final draw. The lucky winner was announced from the list of 10 finalists.”

He added: “For 100 people, there are 198 smartphone users in the UAE. The Filipino community is one of the largest users of smartphones, because it is part of their lifestyle.” ARN is a platform for seven radio stations and claims a daily listenership of 3.2 million.

“I regularly listen to Tag 91.1 programmes about relationships in which people share their good, bad and bitter experiences. When there is a break-up of friendships or ditching by girlfriend or boyfriend, the RJs at Tag 91.1 will listen to their grievances and give tips and emotional support. Sometimes these stories are aired through the radio and many other Filipino listeners come forward with their suggestions and opinions. The radio is helpful because many of the Filipinos are lonely, especially the housemaids. They call up to air their grievances and the RJs give them proper advice,” said Rubiciana Michael, a Filipino supervisor working in Dubai.

“I listen to the radio through my mobile phone. More than 90 per cent of the community is listening to a radio through their mobile phones. Once the RJs called me when I sent my story to them,” he added. That’s Love is a music programme airing the most romantic English love songs.

“The Filipino community is the most tech-savvy community in the UAE and they are largely using smartphones, texting, social networking and within three months of launching the new station, we have 31,000 Facebook likes and more than 20,000 smartphone app downloads. Many of the Filipino listeners hear their favourite music using smartphones,” said Steve.

Naturally, advertisers are equally enthused about the station and within three months, the radio station claims to have 12 long-term sponsors. “Since the launch of Tag 91.1 on March 25, 2013, the station has seen huge demand from advertisers and listeners alike,” he said.

Steve says the most popular programme aired by Tag 91.1 is its breakfast club, which starts early morning. “This community wakes up and starts its day early. Our breakfast programme is the most popular programme, as is visible from their SMS and other feedback,” he said, adding that the radio stations which were not much affected by recession are coming back to a boom period.

“The radio was used as an economical means of advertising during recession and many advertisers switched from expensive television and print advertisement to radio advertisement. Therefore, the radio stations did not face much problem, but now we have returned to the boom period,” said the ARN chief, who oversees operations at 9 radio stations under ARN.
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