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Sun 31 Jan 2010 08:01 AM

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Saudi awards its first private FM radio licence

Alf Alf wins $19.9m licence allowing it to broadcast in 30 areas across the country.

Saudi Arabia has issued its first private FM radio licence, local media reported on Sunday.

Alf Alf was awarded the licence that will allow it to broadcast in 30 areas in the country after it offered a bid for SR75m ($19.9m).

Abdul Aziz Khoja, Culture and Information Minister, said four more licences would be issued in the next eight weeks.

Companies that were shortlisted for the licence included Saudi Specialized Publishing Company, Rotana Audio Visual Co., owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and Arab Radio and Television Network, run by businessman Saleh Kamil. They will be able to bid for the remaining licences.

Khoja told Arab News the ministry had started issuing licenses to satellite broadcasters.

“Two days ago we licensed a satellite channel station,” he told the paper. “From now on, no Saudi channel can appear without the license of the Ministry of Culture and Information.”

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