Shems FM was another one of the first private radio stations to hit the Tunisian airwaves. It went live in September 2010, making it the fourth one to do so since the relaxation of legislation in relation to private ownership in 2003.
Unlike some rival stations, Shems FM is only broadcast in Arabic. It only broadcasts to Nabeul, Greater Tunis, Sousse, Monastir, Gafsa, Kairouan and Bizerte, although it does have an online stream meaning that the majority of the country have access to it.
The story behind Shems FM
Like several other radio stations in the country, the story behind Shems FM isn’t simple, and is at times political.
One of the reasons why a lot of attention was placed on this station in the early days was because of its ownership.
It is owned by Cyrine Ben Ali Mabrouk – who happens to be the daughter of the former president of Tunisia, as well as the wife of a major businessman called Marouen Mabrouk.
However, it was her links to Zine El Abidine Ben Ali which make this story. During the 2011 revolution, a lot of attention was placed on the president as the country decided to turn against his regime due to corruption and other reasons.
It resulted in him being ousted from the presidency and being forced to flee the country. Having first being rejected from entering France, he turned to Saudi Arabia who permitted him to live there in exile under the provision that he keeps out of politics.
Unfortunately, his daughter’s fate wasn’t as “comfortable”. A lot of the family attempted to flee and while the military at the time may have permitted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to do so, this was not granted to other members.
This resulted in most of them, including his daughter, being arrested. As such, she no longer has any influence on Shems FM – but this hasn’t had a significant effect on the content of the station as we’ll soon find out.
The content of Shems FM
With over thirty different hosts, it goes without saying that the content on Shems FM certainly covers a lot of genres.
There are a total of 23 different programs that are currently broadcast across the station, with these varying between general, music, sport and games shows. Additionally, the station broadcasts a news bulletin every hour.