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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Meet podcasters impacting the world with their voices


Emirati Ahmad Al Marzooqi has loved one thing since the age of six – Bollywood. The movie buff now runs his own podcast called “Chai with Ahmed”; the name was inspired by the hit Hindi reality TV show Koffee with Karan.

Ahmed is part of a new-age media savviness tapping into an underrated channel — podcasting.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the annual Dubai Pod Festival, which kicks off in Dubai today, Ahmad said he had a special mission. “My podcast is a symbol of love and gratitude for the Indians and Asians who built this country with us,” he said. “People have forgotten the deep connection between India and the UAE, and I am working hard to restore that connection.”

For Ahmed, the growth of his podcast has been organic. “I’ve been hosting the show for about two or three years,” he said. “The following has grown slowly but organically, and I’ve managed to build a beautiful community around me. Surprisingly, over 50% of my listeners are from Korea and Japan.”

The third edition of Pod Fest Dubai brings together some of the best podcasters, audio content creators and leading organizations in the industry.

According to Ahmed, such events are critical to further supporting the thriving podcasting community. “We have a lot of big names,” he said. “We learn from their mistakes and the way they dealt with them. It’s important for smaller podcasts to learn and grow. It should be done every year so the industry can grow bigger and stronger.”

tell his story

An opportunity to tell his story is what drew Muhammad Islam to the podcast world. Mohamed, host of the Mo Show Podcast, the first English-language podcast in Saudi Arabia, said it was a great opportunity for him to paint the outside world about the true culture of Saudi Arabia and the region. “For too long we have had people tell us who we are on our behalf,” he said. “But we live in a time where we can have narratives. We can say how things are, who we are.”

Mohamed, regularly named one of the top podcasters in the region, says he’s living his dream. “I met people from all walks of life and heard their stories,” he said. “In the process, I started to do something for my country. It’s my dream job. I’m grateful that God showed me the way to it.”

According to Mohamed, the podcast industry is growing. “We have more people listening to it,” he said. “It’s encouraging that we have more of our marketing budget allocated to podcasting. New people are coming in and the bar is rising.”

a platform

For media professional and university professor Maya Hojeij, podcasting is a platform for her to tell the stories she wants to tell. “My show features women entrepreneurs and their success stories,” she said. “It’s been over five years and I’ve really enjoyed myself. It’s really special to be able to have guests sit in a chair in front of you and share their stories with you.”

However, podcasts also face some challenges. According to Tauhee, an entrepreneur who runs a podcast called Chat Me Up, one of them is how to monetize their work.

“It’s one of my passion projects,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for over two years and I’ve been lucky to have some great guests. However, it’s been hard to monetize it. Further development.”

Copyright © 2022 Khaleej Times. all rights reserved. Supplied by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndicate Information).


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