Haitham Obaid works on the assumption that if he is happy, his listeners are happy. It’s an assumption that works pretty well – until he expresses an opinion on their football team!
1.Please introduce yourself to our readers:
I’m Haitham Obaid. I am Omani, born and raised in UAE. Currently, I’m the Radio Presenter of Daily Show Xtra Sports on Star FM.
My motto is to be passionate about what you do in life. For me, sport is a lifestyle; a way of life.
2.Tell us about your education:
I graduated in Media and Mass Communication from Oman University.
3.What was your motivation behind learning French?
Dalida and Alain Delon! When I was younger, I would listen to all their songs; I was so influenced by the French culture, it seemed really interesting. The music was so soft, romantic and dreamy, very unlike the English kind. When I graduated from university, I was chosen to study French at Cavilam University in France. I spent around three months there and I was able to learn French.
4.Who or what inspired you to get into presenting sports on the radio?
Football is my passion along with my love for sports media. I was only 12 when I covered a football match! I was in secondary school and it was the Gulf Championship in Abu Dhabi. Before that, we used to watch all football games on all TV channels but now it’s the opposite; we only have one channel exclusively covering one championship.
As I watched a lot of football at an early age, I was able to learn from various experts; from their opinions and analysis. They all inspired me. I was actively learning while watching them. I learnt that entertainment can be presented professionally and whatever it is that you love, can be presented. At university, I studied TV, Radio and PR. Soon after, I started in Oman Radio as a trainee. I created my own show idea and submitted it with script, prize ideas, commercial ideas etc. They loved it! Not many know this, but I started on AM frequency and not FM like today. Thanks to God, I am now so happy doing my daily show. I have done it for nine years covering all sports aspects as a lifestyle.
5.Which sports do your personally enjoy?
Swimming. I used to play football but unfortunately had to stop because of a knee injury.
6.What is the most challenging part of presenting sports on the radio?
The most challenging part is that once you criticize or express your opinion on a team/game, a lot of people will get upset with you. The Arab audience especially, gets really angry when you criticize their team. Some even go on to assume that you side with the other team. I always like to be neutral in my opinions. I prefer to speak without being attached to any team. Other people are obsessed and very harsh. They translate every word I say into me being against their team. This, so far, has been the biggest challenge in presenting, football especially.
7.What has made your show successful and different from the rest?
The interviews with celebrities that people love! I have met many of these and I feel so happy to have helped take their message to their fans. My audience loves these inspirational and motivational messages. I have heard many celebs like Cristiano Ronaldo, Dwight Yorke (the star of Manchester United), Peter Schmeichel (the goal keeper at Manchester United), Patrick Vieira (the French star of Arsenal and Manchester City). Also WWE. I have met many famous names, people who love presenting sports.
In Formula One, I met Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. I love asking them questions, advice and inspiration to motivate my audience. They give out wonderful messages showing dedication and passion, taking sports as a way of life for positivity and success.
8.You have also been very successful on TV with your show ‘Howa’. Do you prefer radio or TV?
Both, I really enjoy both! It’s a difficult choice to make!
9.What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
The most important aspect is to be happy doing what you are doing, and to do it enthusiastically. This fact, that I love what I do, gives me immense satisfaction and happiness; in turn reflecting on my work, making people who listen to me happy.
10.What are your future plans and what’s coming up next from you?
I’m working now on a new TV show, the details of which will be shared very soon.
11.What are some of your other hobbies?
Cooking. I also love listening to music and I love to travel.
12.What is the best advice you have ever received and who was it from?
A friend of mine once told me that I should always have my own plans – like a plan A, B or C – because if I did not have one, I would always be part of someone else’s plan. It is always important to have a goal; a plan that you work towards so that you measure and are motivated to achieve it.
13.Can you share with us the biggest blunder that happened live on radio and how you overcame it?
One time a famous sports personality who presents football games promised to come for an interview on my show. He even went ahead and recorded an ad promo in his own voice telling listeners to join the show with me, Haitham Obaid, at the proper show timings and date. Last minute, as I was live on air, he did not show up! I still remember all the lovely messages I received from my audience telling me not to be sad and upset; that they wanted to listen to me and not the sports personality. I was really touched! It was one of the best feelings.
14.What’s your favourite food?
I love healthy food that is also delicious. I am a huge fan of seafood and generally Italian cuisine.
15.A phrase that you use far too often is…
Sport is a way of a life.
16.The most surprising thing that’s ever happened to you is…
At the beginning of my career, Ahmad Hussam Mido was a well-known Arabic player who played in the Italian team. He has played against teams like Real Madrid, Roma and Manchester. Anyway, the very first time I met him, he expressed his amazement at my knowledge of sports. I was glad and told him about my show the next morning. He was so nice and told me that he would come to my studio the next morning. It was a surprise and a good one at that!
17.In a nutshell, your philosophy is…
Happy wife, happy life!
18.What would be your advice to someone who wants to make it into sports presenting?
He or she should be passionate about sports. More than taking it as a job, it should be their love and dedication. Particularly in the case of sports presenting, it should be fun and you should love what you do. It has to be entertaining for fans and listeners but it also needs you to be professional at the same time. It should reflect your enthusiasm as you enjoy talking about an activity or sport that you love. It should be nothing but happiness!
19.Your message for your fans and our readers in Kuwait:
I will be seeing all of you soon, for sure!
20.Your message for us at CP magazine:
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.