Category Archives: broadcast

Zan Azlee on BFM Radio’s Ticket to Ride talking about Afghanistan

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I was invited to be on BFM Radio’s travel programme called ‘Ticket to Ride‘ with Azura Rahman to talk about my trip to Afghanistan. It was a special episode for World Press Freedom Day. [Click on the image above to listen]

Want to buy my book ‘Adventures of a KL-ite in Afghanistan? It’s really cool!! Come on… you know you want to!

How important is online video news content?


I’m a multimedia guy. I think every single media platform serves a purpose when it comes to telling a story. Text, video, audio and photos all play a part depending on the story.

And I just read an interesting article on about the Wall Street Journal’s online video efforts in contributing towards the whole organisation’s content plan.

They now have a team of 40 people producing 40 original videos a day for their website. And they get more than 6 million views a month and advertiser demand for videos is strong.

They also push their videos out on every available platform, from YouTube, AOL, Facebook, Vine, Twitter to even Apple TV. They aren’t fussy about it being only on their platform (as oppose to many traditional TV news organisations trying to go digital!).

So, if you’re a journalist are not too familiar with video, especially for the Internet, start thinking about it. Oh… and here’s a video by the BBC about producing compelling video news content. Real good stuff!


Limited photo print sale from Zan Azlee’s Afghanistan collection

As most would probably know (or maybe not!), I had gone to Afghanistan in 2011 and embedded myself with the Malaysian military stationed in the mountains of Bamiyan.

I was shooting my documentary ‘Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite‘ and writing my book ‘Adventures of a KL-ite in Afghanistan‘. Also, I was shooting a photo essay for Esquire magazine and providing news features for Astro AWANI and The Malaysian Insider.

Major Dr. Mohd Arshil Moideen leading the team in prayers before heading out.
Major Dr. Mohd Arshil Moideen leading the team in prayers before heading out on patrol in Yadkawlang, Afghanistan (2011).

I would like to humbly offer some of my still photography for limited sale for a few weeks (one photo each week) to anyone who would like to buy it and support solo-journalism.

The photo above would look beautiful on your wall all nicely printed and framed (21cm x 30cm) for RM90. I’ll even throw in my signature at the back of the print. Only 5 prints are available.

And for some context to the photo, here is a video story from the documentary I shot and it explains why the Malaysian military are in Afghanistan.


If you would like to have the photo for your wall, just add it to the shopping cart.

If you are in Malaysia, you can also purchase by transferring RM110.00 (includes RM20 for postage and handling) to Maybank account 1141 2365 9174 via Maybank2U or ATM. Please make sure to e-mail (
1. Name of item purchased
2. Transaction date/time and reference number
3. Your full name
4. Shipping address

Or if you prefer more bang for your buck, there is also THE ADVENTURES OF A KL-ITE IN AFGHANISTAN SUPER FAN PACK!! You will get the photo, an official t-shirt and the book for only RM120!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support!

Digital radio and podcasts: Is FM radio dead?

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It seems that aside from television going all digital and being overtaken by online platforms, radio has also been slowly going down that highway. The popularity of podcasts has been rising, especially in the United States, and we know that what happens there will usually catch on in Malaysia as well (albeit a little late!).

Recently, an article on Gizmodo highlighted that a faraway fairy land called Norway will be the first country to turn off FM radio in 2017. Their Ministry of Culture announced this as they are fast preparing to transition towards digital radio.

In Southeast Asia, countries like Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and, of course, Malaysia have already been testing digital radio (Digital Audio Broadcasting – DAB). But there are no clear indications as to when FM would be totally turned off.

In the meantime, podcasts are MY favourite audio platform and I’ve been a big fan of a few which I think all of you need to listen to. I repeat… NEED TO LISTEN TO! They’re all non-fiction storytelling-centric…. my cup of tea!

1. This American Life – This American radio show has been around for years but is now available for the whole world to listen to now.

2. Radiolab – Freaking awesome audio design complementing great storytelling!

3. The Moth – Simple straight-up people just orally telling stories that have happened in their lives.

4. Risk! – It’s kind of like The Moth… but on really dangerous narcotics!!

5. Freakonomics – Not at all boring like their books!

6. WTF with Marc Maron – Failed comedian who started a podcast which is now one of the leading interview-based podcasts in America.

Oh… and I don’t download these podcasts. I use the Stitcher app on my smart phone.

And if you want to listen to the podcasts that my brother, Aizyl Azlee and I do, go lah (we host two… one on media and socio-politics called THE FAT BIDIN PODCAST and another on films called THE FAT BIDIN FILM CLUB)!!

TV news and content needs social media to survive

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More people go online than they watch TV for news and content. I challenge you to prove me wrong. Come on! Prove me wrong! And if you do, I’ll give you a signed copy of my latest book, a t-shirt and a framed photo I took in Afghanistan.

Yet, the old farts involved in TV still think they are DA BOMB. Sure, let them stay in the bubble they love so much and watch it start getting smaller and smaller.

Look, I’m not saying that TV will die. It won’t. It just won’t be the number one destination anymore for news and content. And I’ve been saying this over and over again but nobody wants to listen here in Malaysia.

Dale Blasingame wrote on PBS’ Mediashift blog:

– The latest numbers from Nielsen show TV viewership amongst 25-34 year olds (you know, the demo) is down 24 percent from 2010. That percentage continues to grow every quarter.
– The University of Florida released data in February 2015 that show 83.4 percent of young people consider their primary news source as either an online-only news site, the website of a traditional news organization, Facebook, Twitter, or some other social network. Broadcast TV came in at 4.5 percent.
– What’s even more troubling for TV newsrooms? Ask young people how many of them still pay for cable or satellite. Then ask how many consume a majority of their media on mobile platforms (see the MediaShift special on cord cutting here). The answers aren’t good for the status quo in TV news.


And then when it comes to content on the Internet, I have also been convinced that websites and portals are no longer relevant. There is no one place to collate all your content for people to come and consume.

Stories (articles, videos, photos, or whatever) will now sole exist in the realm of social media. And it will cease to exist once the people who consume it say so. People will like and share good content while bad ones just die in obscurity.

So it doesn’t matter where your content is consumed, The important thing is that it just gets consumed. It can be on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or whatever (much less on a single portal!), and it doesn’t matter.

You see, putting something on a single portal and making sure that everyone comes to it for all your content makes it easy to track and it just means that you’re too lazy to think of other ways to evaluate and track your content that exists independently online.

Blasingame goes on to say:

We want news. We want content. But how we consume it, when we consume it and, most important, where we consume it is fundamentally different – and many TV newsrooms either don’t get that or refuse to accept it.

The idea that people still wait for news to be delivered to them on their televisions at 5, 6, or 10 p.m. is beyond outdated. We want content now – in some sort or fashion.

TV newsrooms can’t hide behind the “second screen” excuse anymore. They need to understand the TV may be the second screen when it comes to their content – and that situation will only increase as time goes on.


Also, the fact that TV news and content is so fixed in their ways isn’t helping at all. Just because they have been doing stories a certain way (eg: voice-over, cutaways, stand-uppers, blah blah blah) doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other ways to do it.

See! It’s an old fashion mentality that just isn’t open to new ideas and ways of storytelling and distributing those stories.

Blasingame again:

TV newsrooms have to get out of the box that tells them packages, VOs, and VOSOTs are the only way to tell stories.

Okay. Now that a Mat Salleh has said it, are you going to believe him and ignore the fact that i have been predicting this for years previously? But then again, don’t take my word for it. Go read the blog entry here: How TV newsrooms should use Facebook (and why).