It began with a discussion between Edison Research colleague Larry Rosin and his Amazon Echo.
He asked Alexa to play “Lite FM.”
She said, “Playing ‘Lite FM’ on TuneIn.”
And this is the station she gave him.
Light FM Beirut began, I now know from the station site, as a hobbyist station in 1989. “Throughout the years, more and more listeners started tuning in to forget their everyday stress.” This in a market where everyday stress had meant more than just traffic jams.
I reached out to managing partner Karim Mansour to ask if he’d noticed more listening from the U.S. recently. He said, “We’ve been getting increased streaming traffic from all over the world.”
As a student of radio everywhere, I’m happy when audio tourism finds me an enjoyable AC option from far away. For most broadcasters, however, the surge of interest in smart speakers means that being found on the Infinite Dial has just become an even bigger issue. Larry, at my behest, tried a handful of other well-known stations and very few of the commands got him the station that most U.S. broadcasters would think of as their first reference.
Like a lot of Mainstream ACs outside North America, Light FM has a significant presence of current/recent music. You can see the presence of AC mainstays from not just North America, but also the U.K., and even France. And Light FM plays a few songs that you might think of as edgy for a station called “Light.” Then again, so do some of America’s “Lite FMs” now.
Here’s Light FM, just after 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, 2017:
Julia Michaels, “Issues”
Hozier, “Someone New”
Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”
Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
Hooverphonic, “Mad About You”
Lana Del Rey, “Love”
Thomas Rhett, “Die A Happy Man”
Wang Chung, “Dance Hall Days”
Ed Sheeran, “Dirrty” (acoustic cover of Christina Aguilera song)
Janet Jackson, “No Sleep”
Jack Savoretti, “Only You”
Zaz, “On Ira” (French-language hits also have a regular presence on the station)
Dean Martin, “Mambo Italiano” (after a yesterday-and-today stager)
Pet Shop Boys, “Suburbia”
Maroon 5, “Cold” (the 3:00 ID song)