Pak’s only Sports FM set to shutdown days before World Cup

The last day of its operation will be on May 31

Hamza Khan May 20, 2024
UNFORTUNATE: Pakistan’s only Sports FM 94 is shutting down just after two years. Photo: AFP/ file


In a shocking move, Sports FM 94 – the only sports radio channel in Pakistan, is shutting down just days before the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. The last day of its transmission will be on May 31st.

The order of its closure was tendered by Director General Radio Pakistan Saeed Ahmed Sheikh.

The channel, which was launched on October 20, 2022, will be replaced by a health channel, leaving sports fans and listeners in a state of disbelief.

The sudden decision has sparked widespread outrage, with many taking to social media to express their disappointment and anger. The channel's RJs (Radio Jockeys) are also facing an uncertain future, with many fearing unemployment.

They requested not to be named in the article as it would affect their future.

One of them, who has been associated with the channel since its inception, expressed his disappointment saying that they worked tirelessly for almost two years in building a loyal listener base and creating engaging content.

“It's devastating to see our hard work go down the drain."

Another long-time host added: "We've become like a family, and this decision feels like a betrayal. We've poured our hearts and souls into this channel, and it's heartbreaking to see it shut down without any consideration for our dedication and passion."

"We've built a community of sports enthusiasts, and this channel was a platform for us to share our love for sports. Now, it's all being taken away, and we're left with nothing but uncertainty and disappointment," said a popular prime-time host.

Another frustrated RJ said that they were planning transmissions and shows on the eve of upcoming sporting events including the ICC T20 World Cup and Euro 2024.

"It's ironic that many channels start new shows and transmissions on the eve of big sporting events, but Sports FM 94 is being shut down. What kind of non-professional attitude is this? You're not only disappointing your loyal listeners but also undermining the importance of sports in Pakistan."

One of them suggested converting the existing English Channel (broadcasting on frequency 87.5) into a health channel.

It used to operate 12 hours daily from 10 am to 10 pm with four-hour slots each from Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Most importantly, for a short duration it had been operated 24 hours as well, a source inside Radio Pakistan confirmed to Express Tribune.

"Why not convert the inactive English Channel (broadcasting on frequency 87.5) into a health channel? This way, a new health channel can be introduced without sacrificing the only sports radio channel in Pakistan."

Moreover, sports and health are intricately linked, and sports enthusiasts argue that promoting sports and physical activity is essential for good health.

"By shutting down Sports FM 94, you're not only silencing the voices of sports enthusiasts but also undermining the importance of sports in maintaining good health," said a fan.

A long-time listener said that it was disappointing to hear the news about its closure.

“I used to listen to the radio often while commuting back. It's disappointing that we won’t be able to listen to analysis during the ICC T20 World Cup.” 

The channel was also popular among women, who say that it had helped them understand many sports.

Apart from that, sports journalists also registered their protest and questioned the move.

"Heartbreaking! Director General Radio Pakistan, your decision to shut down Sports FM 94 on May 31st is a devastating blow to Pakistani sports fans. Just as the T20 World Cup is about to begin on June 1st, you're taking away the only Pakistani sports channel,” said Shahzaib Ali, renowned sports host and analyst.

"Unbelievable! Director General Radio Pakistan, are you kidding me? Shutting down Sports FM 94, the only radio sports channel in Pakistan, on May 31st? The day before the T20 World Cup? You're ripping the heart out of Pakistani sports fans,” sports journalist Imran Siddiqui wrote on X.

Critics are questioning the logic behind shutting down a popular and dedicated sports channel, especially during a major sporting event like the T20 World Cup.

The move has been termed a "backward step" for sports broadcasting in Pakistan, and fans are demanding a reversal of the decision.


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