The company debuted Gagl, unveiled BRIC-Link III and took home an SBE award
Morocco’s Hit Radio is proving a hit with Africa’s youth beyond the country’s borders. Launched in 2006, the station has continually grown to the point it now commands 3.2 million daily listeners in Morocco, a significant portion of whom are under the age of 35. “We are delighted to have been able to forge such a strong bond with our listeners over the past 15 years. Thanks to them, we are now the third-largest radio station in the country, the first private radio station and the first one aimed at young people,” says a delighted Younes Boumehdi, Hit Radio’s founder and CEO.
Parity, Citizenship and Employability
The entrepreneur’s recipe for gaining the trust and loyalty of young Moroccan listeners is surprisingly simple: listen to them and put them at the heart of the station’s development. “I don’t come from the world of radio, but I was an avid listener from a very young age. I regretted that, compared to other countries, Morocco’s radio offering for young people lacked both interactivity and musical diversity. So, we simply built the radio station I dreamed of as a teenager,” he recalls.
Another reason for the station’s success with young people lies in its founding vision to promote local music – 40% of its content is by young local musical talents. “From the beginning, we wanted to open our microphones to young people and their artistic expression, but also their citizenship, in Morocco as well as in the world,” says Boumehdi. The station regularly conducts events throughout the country to meet its listeners. These events aim to raise awareness of values and national causes important to the youth, such as gender diversity, the fight against isolation, the environment, and employability.
But that genuine investment in engaging with listeners now extends to the youth of 11 other African countries.
Reaching the Youth Beyond Africa Into Europe
Since 2013, Hit Radio has gradually extended its reach further into Africa. It obtained its first ex-Moroccan frequency in 2013 in the Central African Republic. After that, the Hit Radio brand gradually expanded in the west of the continent into Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Chad, Gabon, Togo, Burundi, Mali and Comores. “Whatever the country, we keep the same requirement of social mix and integration, but also of highlighting local talent,” says Boumehdi. Unlike in Morocco, Hit Radio cannot calculate the audience of the hundred or so FM frequencies it uses to serve these countries – an estimated potential 13 million listeners. There is, however, one indicator of the station’s reach: Hit Radio Afrique receives 8 million digital connections each month.
Regardless of the country, we keep the same requirement for social mixing and integrationYounes Boumehdi
The station has enjoyed a digital presence since 2009, and it is through this medium it aims to continue its breakthrough to outside of Africa. “We also want to address the Moroccan diaspora in Europe,” says, Boumehdi. “We broadcast temporarily in Spain, after which we obtained a frequency in Namur, Belgium. So why not in France?”
Azawan, a “Little Sister” Already Grown Up
Encouraged by the way the Hit Radio brand thrives in each country it services, the Hit Radio group developed a new offering in 2019: Azawan Radio. Broadcast only in Morocco, this station targets a slightly older audience: mainly 25–40-year-olds and specializes in highlighting the culture and heritage of a specific part of the country – the southern basins. This newcomer already broadcasts on 41 frequencies, from Dakhla to Ouarzazate via Agadir, reaching 5 million potential listeners. Partnering with cultural events throughout the year, Azawan has also chartered a caravan that relentlessly travels the region in search of new talent.