Filled with information, tinged with entertainment and light-hearted chatter, it’s no surprise that podcasts have dominated the media landscape for quite some time. They also give listeners the ability to dive into topics without having to set aside time to read or watch a video and offer many other benefits, including brain-boosting ones. With so much educational, portable, energizing and seriously engaging audio content, it’s no surprise that Sabal Almadi chose the media avenue to spread his message. The Jordanian-American journalist, based in Saudi Arabia, hosts her podcast series Bedouin’s Coffee Corner to dispel some of the Western prejudices about the Middle East and Arab culture.
Founded by Almadi in May 2021 and now in its second season, the podcast with unique positioning in Arabia quickly amassed around 27,000 subscribers. In addition to showcasing changemakers in the region, Bedouin’s Coffee Corner shines a light on creative initiatives and progressive movements. Available on Apple Podcasts, the series is intended to make Arabs proud of their different cultures and heritage and encourage them to embrace their rich history. Additionally, the platform wants to show the West the other side of the Middle East that they don’t see in the long-established media. It is about showcasing the cultural diversity of the region and its beautiful ancient traditions while deactivating the most common assumptions around its culture. The podcast also serves as a showcase for local talent, including photographers, designers and makeup artists, to get noticed.
“My ultimate goal would be to get investors to turn this into a full network production, that would be a dream,” Almadi, who lives in Al Khobar, told AboutHer. “It’s something I’m working towards, the more attention the podcast gets, the more chance it has of turning into a show (video and audio) on a network, which means more stories/voices from the Arab world will be heard on a global scale.
Episodes include groundbreaking guests from across the Middle East. During the second season, Almadi had an impressive line-up, including Aya Barqawi. She spoke to the fashion designer, stylist and photographer who is setting the tone for the influencer scene in Jordan and how she got to where she is today. Young Almadi also spoke with Saudi Lama Alhamawi, a fellow journalist based in Riyadh, and the two discussed journalism, content creation and life. Meanwhile, Zeina Kilani, who has made a name for herself as a top stylist and has worked with major regional publications, actually kicked off the season. Dina, known as Dinas_version on TikTok, was another recent guest on the show. The conversation with her involved double standards, TikTok experiences, books and more.
While Almadi’s list of guests she would like to have on future episodes is long, Emirati entrepreneur and businessman Anas Bukhash is one of those who have risen to the top. “His positivity, resilience and overall vibe is amazing. He really inspires me,” Almadi says of the co-founder of Ahdaf Sports Club and founder of Bukhash Brothers Company. She also hopes to welcome the award-winning journalist, activist and motivational speaker Noor Tagouri. Tagouri is also the producer of the documentary series “The Trouble They’ve Seen: The Forest Haven Story” and the podcast series “Sold in America: Inside Our Nation’s Sex Trade”. Almadi simply describes the Liyban -American as “an icon.”
After working in media and public relations, Almadi realized that it wasn’t exactly the kind of job she felt at home with. She then decided to enroll in New York University’s online Master of Arts in American Journalism program, which offered a podcast course. The class asked students to pitch ideas for a podcast show. And Almadi, a podcast enthusiast who had once toyed with the idea of starting one, took advantage of the college project to dive into the world of audio content without having to worry about botching it all up.
Almadi, the only Arab in her program, found herself moaning to her mother that so many of the items she had found during her studies distorted the Arab world. And it was while discussing this over an early morning cup of coffee in the special coffee corner of their home that the idea for Bedouin’s Coffee Corner was born.
Almadi’s next step in his entrepreneurial journey is to find opportunities to monetize the podcast, whether through collaborations, investors or something else. “Currently, I am open to all possible opportunities. Also, I aim to take the next step as Sabal to become a moderator/speaker. Who knows, anything is possible,” she says.