After four years of working with Qatar Media Corporation (QMC) in establishing 37 TV and developing FM 107 Urdu Radio, Shadab Khan returns to Red Dot Films energized and full of ideas to grow the company. The Red Dot website team interviewed Khan to explain the role he has given to the TV and radio channels and clarify his endeavors in the Red Dot after these years.
Khan took over the responsibility for studying the establishment of 37 TV in 2018 directly from the Management of the QMC, considering that Qatar urgently needs a television channel representing the state in English. Khan clarified, “the channel was closed in 2014 in order to turn it into a satellite channel, but the approach that it was taking is dated, so I had to start from scratch as if the channel did not exist in the first place.”
Khan immediately appointed a team to carry the responsibility with him. To illustrate the strategy, he gathered various experiences from different countries, from the Arab world, Europe, Asia, and others, focusing on who can carry out the programming, planning, production, creative, and presenting tasks. Additionally, He hired teams to determine the needed equipment for the studios and outdoor shooting and others related to broadcast engineering, as the number of employees that Khan appointed was “65 people.” he said.
Khan developed about 30 programs of various genres, including reality shows, documentaries, talk shows, and magazine shows, as ready-made formats that future management can use for years. For each, he produced about 3 or 4 pilot episodes for approval by the CEO of QMC. Khan stated, “My task was limited to preparing the channel for those who would come to manage it. When Ali Alkuwari was appointed as Acting Director of the channel in January 2019, it was almost ready to launch.”
“Upon completing the establishment of 37 TV, the CEO’s office appointed me to manage and renew the Urdu Radio. I explained to them that I had no experience in managing radio channels, but they insisted that I handle it for at least six months until they find a replacement. Unfortunately, Qatar, a week after I started went into Covid related lockdown. I became socially and ethically obligated to invest all my energy to the channel.”
During the pandemic, people were imprisoned in their homes, and media platforms were responsible for compensating those quarantined by the various available cultural, educational, and entertainment means. Since most of Qatar’s residents are Hindi and Urdu speakers, the responsibility of Urdu Radio has become more significant than others.
Khan said, “The channel was using the classical Urdu language, and almost sixty per cent of what was broadcast was Islamic, so I had to soften the wording to suit the public and the youth generation, and accordingly, raise the level of entertainment. I also produced many songs that include awareness and educational information in a fun way so the listeners would receive it and remember it for a long time.”
The popularity that Urdu Radio had gained can be seen through social media. At the beginning of 2020, the Facebook account was followed by 5,000 people, and a month ago, it reached 110,000 people with an engagement of 4 million. In addition to having an account on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Khan, who has extensive experience in operating film cameras and lights, could not leave his experience on the shelf but utilized his energy to produce interactive videos, educational video clips, and interviews with movie stars.
Smartly, Khan did not terminate the contracts with any old employees. He said, “These old people who were associated with the Radio for as long as 40 years, were a legacy and they could not be done away with. They underwent extensive training, and after a while, they were reintroduced,” and added, “It was necessary to hire a new group of presenters, producers, program head, creative head, journalists, and a video team.”
Working for the state’s media channels comes with its own challenges. Their main goal is soft propaganda, so Khan believed, “it is time for Red Dot to have its own platform, whether television or radio, a place for people to have a voice, providing the fun and entertainment that the public wants.” It seems that with these last words, Khan summed up what he seeks to do in the coming days.