Izelan Basar has only been CEO of TV AlHijrah for four months and yet in that short time, he has proven to be a master of teambuilding.
With his distinct management style, Izelan not only won the hearts of his staff, but some of his plans are already producing fast results.
This new boss of the religious TV station made sure his team is on the same page as him where his vision is concerned. He set out to revolutionise many things and made some critical changes since he took over last April.
“My focus is to make sure TV AlHijrah remains a competitive platform and at the same time attract viewers. With all the experience behind me, I can’t fail TV AlHijrah viewers. I am expected to perform and that’s what I am doing now, albeit at a faster pace,” said this former TV presenter who was interviewed during the launch of the religious programme Labbaikallah, which gives comprehensive coverage of Malaysian pilgrimage in the holy land during this coming Haj.
Among his aggressive expansion plans include the setting up of AlHijrah Big Studios (ABS) in Cyberjaya recently, strengthening the AlHijrah Media portal, setting up a radio station and introducing 30 new religious programmes with three signature shows.
TV AlHijrah will also launch four new channels – Muslim Lifestyle, Hijrah Kids (educating kids about Islam and its tenets), Hijrah Docu (research-based) and Hijrah Ilmu (religious sermons, Al-Quran and hadith) soon.
Izelan’s treatment for Labbaikallah, which has entered its sixth season this year, is different and more interactive. The word “Labbaikallah” is actually the chantings by pilgrims when they visit the Kaaba for Haj and Umrah.
“Our survey showed that 70% of our viewers are housewives and women. So the whole outlook and the feel of the programme have to change.
“We have included new segments like the interaction and communication slot, which will be handled by the host, the popular Ustaz Don Daniyal Don Biyajid. We also know that viewers like to be rewarded; hence we are offering a Proton Saga, three Modenas Motorbikes and six Umrah packages for the lucky winners,” said Izelan, 57.
Labbaikallah, which offers daily reports on the happenings and development during this Haj season, will have a mixed format, which is partly recorded, live from the studio, video talk via Skype and Q&A session with the viewers.
A team of five TV crew left for Mecca and Madinah on July 28 to film the Haj operations and to broadcast live coverage.
“Among all the five pillars of Islam, the performance of Haj during the month of Zulhijjah is very significant. Surely we have to make it big. We will have a series of programmes to support Labbaikallah in building up the show,” he said.
The 17-episode Labbaikallah started broadcast on Aug 29 and will air until Sept 14 (TV AlHijrah is available on Astro Ch 114 and HyppTV Ch 114).
Since viewership for the religious programme has increased and the subscribers to its portal alhijrahmedia.com has reached almost half a million, Izelan said he has to think of how to position TV AlHijrah globally.
“We have 30 producers in TV AlHijrah and they have been given the task of churning out one programme each for the station. That means we will have 30 new shows soon.”
Izelan says his first 100 days in office have been challenging where he focused on the operations, budgeting, content and marketing.
“The second half of the 100 days in office is even more crucial. I’m trying to get the right balance between moving too slow or too fast. I can’t help but feel like Alex Ferguson coaching a team of footballers.
“I have to develop the talents, make good decisions, take some risks and help them score goals in order to win the ‘game’.
“My main task is to give a clear direction and building a high performing team.”