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2015 was a difficult and challenging time for radio, not just in Pattaya but the whole of Thailand. As the Kingdom made adjustments to cope with the political situation, radio just like the rest of the media had to conform to a new ethos.

But out of the silence came a new dawn for the airwaves and in 2016 an exciting new world had come to Pattaya in terms of radio. To understand the progress that has been made in the world of FM in Pattaya we first have to look at the formative days of the early pioneers.

" Pattaya People Radio – 96FM was the first professional English language radio station in Pattaya and started as a mainstream music radio with local and international news. Immediately after its launch it became a success especially among the huge expats community in Pattaya."

" People now value the power of radio advertising with the increased number of cars and traffic jams in the streets of Pattaya, but also because of the fact that radio advertising has such an impact on the sub conscious mind and people create their own "visual" to the audio advertising and as such engage the sub conscious mind to a maximum, making radio advertising the probably most rewarding advertising media platform."

We asked Tommy Dee from  Fabulous 103 about his recollections about the early days and he quoted;

“When Fab FM launched nearly 4 years ago in Pattaya it was the baby of radio in the city. Kicked off thanks to a handful of junk PC's, a mixer and a studio where every time it rained we had buckets to catch the water, but it was home for a long time.”

“Since then we have moved into the new state of the art studios in Soi Chayapruk 2 and changed the station creating something for locals and expats and of course listeners away from the city. The station now has daily shows with presenters such as Rosko, Gary King, Pat Sharp, David Hamilton and Drive Time Dave giving us daily support, ideas and tips.”

So now the airways are crackling again who is championing the cause of good old FM in Pattaya?. There are three main English speaking stations forging ahead lead by KISS 91.75, Pattaya People Radio 96 and Fabulous 103 all with different formats and aimed at different sections of the market.

KISS 91.75 is the brand leader of offering live DJs to a format designed specifically for the 25 plus listener. The music policy is international Top 40 tunes with featured shows at weekend specialising in dance, house and R&B hosted by internationally famous DJs.

Pattaya People Radio 96 & Fabulous 103 cater for a more mature audience and tend to favour old school favourities with the ever popular Barry Upton and his famous Breakfast Show leading the way.

Since the big Turn On it feels very much like Pattaya has been reconnected, and the fractured city has once again become whole. Pattaya was a very different place during the void and it seemed like a familiar old friend has come back.

Local events, news, traffic and tit bit's that affect us all living here in Pattaya are once more freely available. Joni Mitchell once said, “Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone...” How true those words were, when the radio went off the air something that was common to us all was gone also.

It made me reflect just how important radio is to the whole community, and one of the biggest benefits is that it is absolutely free. No need for a computer, internet, phone, stereo system or wi-fi. Just take a ride in a car or bus, walk into a shopping mall or visit a local hairdresser and the radio will be broadcasting for everybody to hear.

I caught up with Steve Johnston the station manager of KISS FM who is instrumental in transforming the station into the success it is today. Steve obviously cares about his mission and told me, “Radio is my passion, it is the strongest medium there is.” He then went on to engage me in conversation about the very subject that I had previously commented on.

“Radio is your friend, it will never die!” I mused at what he said, I had come to the very same conclusion when everything went off air. The fact that sometimes people are not even aware that they are listening to the radio is part of it's brilliance. It is just there, a companion playing the tunes that you love and imparting local chit chat about current happenings.

Steve told me of another fact that he was amazed at when he worked in the Middle East as a station manager. Local residents were tuning into his international show because they loved the music and they were also learning English from the DJ's. It was also bought to his attention that many local companies considered radio as the best form of advertising. It was relatively cheap, coverage extensive but most importantly it was bang up to date.

This is true, radio is one of the most effective forms of getting any message across and advertising is no exception. It can pin point advertising not just to a day but also to a particular time. For instance, selling breakfast cereal is easier at 8am in the morning than 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. And getting punters into your nightclub on a Saturday night will be easier if you remind them the previous evening.

Whatever the future holds and whatever technology throws at us, radio still has a significant role to play. Nothing quite fills the role a well run radio station. Streaming channels and internet broadcasting has it's place but they are still not our old friend, and that is FM Radio.