Welcome! This is the third edition of our monthly newsletter
of all things podcasts across the Middle East.
This month's edition was written by Hebah Fisher of Kerning Cultures 
and Abdulrahman Alomran of تيار and Podcast Arabic.
  • Subscribe to the Arabic version of this newsletter
  • Who's Listening to Podcasts?
  • Podcast Spotlight: Startup Hustle
  • Out and About

Arabic Newsletter

Are you on it? We release this newsletter in Arabic, sign up for it here

Who's Listening to Podcasts?

Podcast Arabic ran a series of twitter surveys in December to get a better sense of who is listening to podcasts in the Arab world. Our dream is to have a full-blown report (message us if you're interested in helping us out), but in the meantime, here are some great data points. The full results are here, and below is a snapshot:

66% male
34% female
(456 votes)

10% are less than 18 years old
65% are between 18-25 years
21% are between 25-35 years
4% are older than 35
(428 votes)

56% listen to less than 2 hours of podcasts weekly
25% listen to between 2-4 hours of podcasts weekly
13% listen to between 4-8 hours of podcasts weekly
6% listen to more than 8 hours of podcasts weekly
(377 votes)

23% think the sweet spot for an episode length is less than 20 minutes
41% prefer an episode between 20-40 minutes in length
36% prefer an episode longer than 40 minutes
(428 votes)

53% listen to their podcasts in the car
35% listen at home
8% listen at work or school
(404 votes)

68% of listeners won't read the shownotes
32% of listeners will go on to read a podcasts' shownotes
(373 votes)

70% of listeners discover new podcasts through social media
13% discover new podcasts through their friends
13% discover new shows through podcast apps
(372 votes)

59% wouldn't financially support their favourite podcasts on a monthly basis
33% would pay USD 10/monthly or less to support
(323 votes)

80% listen to Arabic podcasts
20% listen to English or other language podcasts
(411 votes)

27% listen on Soundcloud
41% listen on Apple Podcasts
25% listen on a dedicated podcast app
7% stream their podcasts online
(403 votes)

Recording Gear Recommendations: Volume I

The inevitable decision we all make: what gear do I need? In this series, we'll sit down with podcasters and hear their recommendations. Today, we're getting schooled by Chirag Desai, founder of Amaeya FM, an independent podcast network, and Creative Director at AMAEYA Creative, where he designs original shows and ad creatives for brands.

Tell us about the mics you use. 
Personally, when it comes to versatile microphones, nothing comes close to the Audio Technica ATR2100 (of course they’re not a sponsor!). It’s a dynamic mic which means it’s not too sensitive in tougher environments, it’s compact and comes in at around $50 which makes the whole feature to price-point ratio fantastic. One of the best things about this microphone is how versatile it is as one of the few mainstream mics with both XLR and USB outputs, which means I can carry around the microphone whether I’m walking in with a proper recording rig, or just my smartphone. You can see a sample of what it sounds like (plugged into a Zoom recorder) at a comfortable distance (and a fairly quiet room) on this episode of Tales of the Trade. We did apply a compressor in post-processing but didn’t have to tinker with the audio too much. The microphone is available regionally at a couple of online retailers, but you’ll probably save a bit if you ship it yourself from the States.

For voiceovers, I generally use a condenser as I’m recording in a fairly quiet environment. My condenser of choice currently is the Audio Technica AT2020 which I chose because I wanted a USB-compatible microphone when starting out. In hindsight, an XLR recorder would have been more extensible, but I actually really like how I sound on this mic and have kept it since.

For more advice, holler at Chirag.

Podcast Spotlight: Startup Hustle Middle East


Startup Hustle is a podcast for the entrepreneurial. Hosts Siddharth and Mamta Varerkar share their journey building their startup,, and stories from entrepreneurs and investors across the Middle East. 

We asked Siddharth to tell us a bit more:

Why did you start Startup Hustle in July 2018? 
We consume a lot of content around startups, and we found the best way to learn was through podcasts. We believed this was a great way to collaborate with other founders and share our learnings from launching EjarCar. We try to include everything we wish we had known when we started our own business. Strategically, Startup Hustle gives us the opportunity to have conversations with some great entrepreneurs. Post recording, we often have insights for EjarCar. And, Startup Hustle has also had an impact on EjarCar's SEO and brand awareness. Sometimes an investor will even find about us, or we'll get customer traffic.

What's next for Startup Hustle in 2019?  
The plan is to continue interviewing thought-leaders with an impact on the startup ecosystem. Expect informal interviews from high profiles startup founders and VC's on the show soon. We know that some people just prefer video to audio, so we recently started our YouTube channel as well. Our goal is to offer content to people regardless of their preferred method of consumption. We don't have monetisation plans yet. Lastly, our show is hosted on Anchor which has a cool feature where listeners can leave us voice notes, so we want to incorporate some of that and have a Q&A section on the show in the future.

What can someone reading this newsletter offer you? What are you looking for?
We are constantly looking for people from the startup ecosystem that we can interview, be it founders, VCs, angels etc. We also want to start covering events like STEP conference or the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival, so if anyone in the network can help with this, that would be great!

Get in touch with the Startup Hustle team here:

Siddharth Varerkar
Mamta Varerkar

Out and About

What we're reading:

How the podcast industry is starting gather better analytics, from Techcrunch. 

Trends to watch in the podcast industry from NiemanLab, and another set of 2019 predictions from PRCA MENA.

Where we're going:

Quoz Arts Fest
25-26 January

Alf Kalimah Writers Meetup
25 January

Dubai Maker Faire
February 26-28

12-14 March


Sowt is looking for an Egyptian host for a new show. Probably needs to be a journalist and working regional or internationally, not just focused on Egypt. For more details, contact Ramsey

ME Podcast Forum is starting an open source studio / gear database. 
How many times have you tried to book an interview but struggled to find the right gear or a quiet place to record? We're on a mission to help make this easier! If you're looking to rent a recording studio or audio equipment around the region, this list can help. If you have gear or a studio, please add your information to the list! The more people add, the richer the list will be for everyone. 

If you have an opportunity or a request you want to include in next month's newsletter, let us know
Are you on the ME Podcast Forum Slack Channel? Join us here

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