Review: English language radio Moscow FM 105 2

My first reviews of Moscow’s newest English language radio station weren’t all that kind. Debuting on 12 November last year, the successor to what had previously been “Next FM” was, well, not ready to be next.

The lead announcer, bartender of a Moscow night club, had grown up on the USA East Coast and never spent a day on the radio before. It showed. Quoted as planning to keep his day job at the bar, I couldn’t have agreed more. In a short time however DJ Pete Cato has matured and become an important part of the station.

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin appeared on air.
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin appeared on air at Moscow FM 105 2.

The station bills itself as entertainment and news in English so naturally I was interested in the news coverage. The first newscast I heard was begun by a girl who not only wasn’t a journalist but had never been on radio before. She stumbled over the first story and then asked the announcer if she could be excused. He complied and aired the traffic jingle–but there was no traffic report either, so the DJ transitioned back into music.

The station is owned by the city of Moscow and signed on the air on 12 November 2012, just days after the Russian government forced off the very professional U.S. Congress-funded Radio Liberty. Radio Liberty had been on the air for almost 60 years but a new law prohibits foreign ownership of radio stations.

105 2 FM DJ Pete Cato and US Ambassador Michael McFaul.
105 2 FM DJ Pete Cato and US Ambassador Michael McFaul.

What a difference time makes. This morning I turned on the “Dan & Vera” morning show and actually enjoyed listening. There were glitches but nothing like the embarrassment of last year.

Today the station sounds more focused and professional. News is provided by Russia’s RT (Russia Today) and adds a professional feel to the reporting and one cannot argue with the quality news resources available via the relationship with RT.

The music is more more eclectic than I’d recommend but if it works for them, great. This morning the selections included Green Day, Skyfall by Adele, Tony Joe White’s “You’re Gonna Look Good in Blues” and Lana Del Ray’s Summertime Sadness. Hey, who wouldn’t enjoy singing along to the lyrics “I Got my red dress on tonight….”

Moscow FM 105 2 main studio.
Moscow FM 105 2 main studio.

The station is aimed at English speaking listeners of all age demographics and that is still a problem in my opinion as the programming either assumes that all English speakers in Moscow are under the age of 40 or else the DJs are free to play their own tunes, a problem they need to fix no matter the reason.

These days however I’m hearing sponsors, contests, and really good jingles. I LOVE radio jingles and these are really good. So kudos for springing for good jingles cause those are definitely not cheap.

She is not a singing jingle, just sayin'.
The 105 2 girl is not a singing jingle, just sayin’.

Russia is anything but politically correct so the station has the Moscow FM girl. She makes up for some of the occasional glitches.

The city of Moscow owns several media outlets via Moscow Media, the city’s media and publications group. The group includes television channels Moskva 24 and Moskva Doveriye, radio station Govorit Moskva, Internet portal M24.ru, and now the English speaking radio Moscow FM 105 2.

Try it out for yourself at this link: http://mosfm.com/eng/radio.html and let us know what you think.

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