Here is Cairo: Egyptian Radio celebrates 90th anniversary

Ahram Online , Friday 31 May 2024

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the Egyptian Radio which launched its very first broadcast from Cairo on 31 May 1934.

Egyptian Radio


This is Cairo (Houna Al-Qaahira) was the first and the only programme broadcast on the Radio.

In 1926, Egypt was the first Arab country to introduce radio broadcasts to a wide population. At first, Egypt had private short-wave broadcasting centres with limited emission range and coverage.

Most of those early radio stations were located between Cairo and Alexandria, with most programmes broadcast in Arabic and some in English, French and Italian, directed to foreigners living in Egypt.

With the launch of the official broadcast of Egyptian Radio on 31 May 1934, the first Arab voice to be heard was that of Sheikh Muhammad Rifaat (1882-1950), the Quran reciter.

Throughout its long history, Egyptian Radio has played a major role in improving the awareness of the Egyptian people in all aspects of life. 

“We provide a culture of entertainment and entertainment that educates," was a principle introduced by one of the pillars of Egyptian Radio and its pioneering broadcaster, Fahmy Omar.

The first decades of Egyptian Radio were marked by renowned broadcasters such as  Ahmed Said, Ahmed Salem, Mohamed Fathi, Mohamed Mahmoud Shaaban (known to children as Baba Sharo), Hosney El-Hadidy, Galal Moawwad, Safiyya El-Mohamdis, and Taher Abu Zeid.

In 1953, the second programme -- Voice of the Arabs (Sawt Al-Arab) Radio -- was launched.

The programme aimed to spread social, political, and cultural messages and had a wide following through the 1950s and 1960s as it significantly expanded its activities. 

Since its first launch on the frequency 621 AM (and the frequency 106.3 FM from within Cairo), Sawt Al Arab has reserved a distinguished position as the first and most famous Egyptian radio station that broadcasted to all countries of the Arab world in Arabic.

It was the main medium through which former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser spread his messages about Arab unity and opposing foreign colonialism in Arab countries. Sawt Al Arab was also the station that broadcasted the voice of the legendary singer Umm Kulthum.

It’s also worth adding that Mohamed Abdel-Qader Hatem was the first to develop the idea of Sawt Al Arab’s broadcast on Egyptian Radio. Hatem went on to become the Minister of Information.

The very first broadcasts took a small segment of the day, 2-3 hours, however with its powerful influence on the masses, the time of the broadcasts continued to extend, and by 1962, it reached 15 hours a day and then a 24-hour broadcast in the late 1960s. 

Furthermore, Egyptian Radio played a crucial role in popularizing many cultural activities, with radio theatre plays broadcasts, programmes for children, educational segments, and concerts for the most renowned names. Therefore, Egyptian radio reshaped the role of entertainment, which until the Radio’s launch was limited to local theatres and cafes.

Some 80 years later and despite all the advancements in technology, the radio still enchants millions of listeners.

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