RIYADH: A media training academy has been launched in Saudi Arabia to coincide with the Kingdom’s adoption of the latest digital radio broadcasting technology.
At a launch event on Monday, Minister of Media and Chairman of the Saudi Broadcasting Authority Salman Al-Dosari said the implementation of the projects signalled a new era for the country’s media sector.
Mohammed Al-Harthi, CEO of the SBA, told Arab News that the initiatives aimed to advance skills and boost the Kingdom’s digital transformation program.
He said the training academy would allow the authority to continue its role as a nurturing hub for talent and a platform for developing a new generation of media professionals.
The academy will offer a range of courses in journalism, television and radio production, digital media, cinema, and theater, all in line with international industry standards.
Work by the authority’s technical team on developing digital radio broadcasting services has placed Saudi Arabia among the frontrunners in implementing DAB+ technology to provide high-quality sound and superior reception while enhancing the overall listening experience for listeners.
Today, the digital environment holds sway over many aspects of communication, and the future may witness even more transformations.
Abdullah Al-Homoud, Head of the Missab Center for Research
Digitally transmitted sound offers a broader frequency spectrum, investment incentives, simplified regulations, and an increased reach through multiple radio channels. In addition, it speeds up data exchange, and reduces operational, electricity, and energy costs.
Former chairman of the authority, Abdulrahman Al-Hazza, said: “With radio audiences declining, it has become imperative for radio stations to fully embrace digital media to maintain effective communication with the public, utilizing mobile electronic devices to deliver content tailored to listeners’ preferences.”
He noted that by adopting digital broadcasting in the Kingdom, audiences would be able to experience radio in its purest form, anywhere, any time.
“It is anticipated that the radio audience reach will widen, and radio stations in the Kingdom will offer content that meets all their needs.
“We are now in the age of the internet and digital social communication, and this emphasizes the importance of digital media as an effective way to connect with the audience through various platforms,” he added.
Ahmed Al-Dehani, a correspondent for Radio Monte Carlo in Saudi Arabia, highlighted the challenges in keeping up with constant advances in communications and media technology.
He said delivering content that resonated with target audiences was crucial, while delivery methods could be diverse, and he predicted increased competition between government and private radio stations in the region.
Abdullah Al-Homoud, head of the Missab Center for Research, said: “Today, the digital environment holds sway over many aspects of communication, and the future may witness even more transformations.”
He pointed out that developments in areas such as augmented and virtual reality would progress the use of related technologies in journalism and other outlets, improving content.
Al-Homoud expected increased use of artificial intelligence and data analysis in the media and communications sector.
Analyzing big data, he added, would lead to a better understanding of audience behavior and interests, enabling personalized content and an improved user experience.
And he noted that the growth of 5G networks would present more opportunities for direct interaction and high-quality live streaming, supporting the transfer of video content, games, and other apps.
“We now see electronic gaming applications dominating as cultural and interactive media, surpassing mere entertainment,” Al-Hamoud said.
He pointed out that social media would continue to take center stage in the media landscape, with a greater emphasis on interaction and engagement, and expected new platforms to emerge that would blend media and social communication more seamlessly, allowing users to engage with content in innovative ways.
On the training academy launch, Al-Hamoud said it would hopefully become a hub for radio and television activities and a reference point for professionals in the Kingdom’s visual media industry.
Yahya Al-Salhabi, the former director of Riyadh Radio, said it was vital that traditional media embraced modern digital technologies and distribution methods to reach audiences, adding that the launch of DAB+ technology would be a progressive step toward enhancing radio content quality, clarity, ease of distribution, and coverage.