Radio Sawa Launches "Sawa Chat," New Interactive Program for Listeners in the Middle East; Radio Sawa’s News Credibility Grows

Washington, D.C., November 15, 2002 — Radio Sawa (www.radiosawa.com) has launched a new hourly, interactive feature, “Sawa Chat,” which allows listeners across the Middle East to express opinions on a variety of social issues.

“It’s part of the ‘You listen to us, we listen to you’ promise we made when we created Radio Sawa,” said Norman J. Pattiz, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees the highly successful Arabic-language station. “Our mission is to promote freedom and democracy by encouraging open discussion and an exchange of views with our listeners,” he said, noting that many listeners communicate with Radio Sawa by e-mail.

“Sawa Chat” is a man-on-the-street format in which young people across the Middle East comment on questions of interest to their generation. Radio Sawa poses one question each day. Montages of responses are presented each hour, 24 hours a day.

“Sawa Chat” reinforces Radio Sawa’s new “Open Mind” Public Service Campaign, which encourages independent thinking and free discussion. The main theme of the campaign is: “Read, Listen, Then Decide.”

Meantime, new research from Amman, Jordan shows the credibility of Radio Sawa’s news is growing steadily.

When a scientific sample representing Radio Sawa’s target audience of 17-28 year old radio listeners was asked in a November 7, 2002 survey, “What station do you listen to most for news,” 41 percent answered Radio Sawa, which made the station #1 in the Jordanian capital. That compares with 21 percent for the Jordanian Government’s Amman FM; 16 percent for MBC-FM; 10 percent for for BBC-FM and 6 percent for Radio Monte Carlo and Amman AM, also owned by the Jordanian Government.

Asked: “What station has the most accurate and trustworthy news?” Radio Sawa again was #1 with 39 percent. Amman FM garnered 21 percent; MBC-FM, 13 percent; BBC-FM, 11 percent; Radio Monte Carlo and Amman AM, 5 percent.

Edison Media Research of Somerville, N.J., conducted the survey. Edison has been doing on-going research on Radio Sawa in Amman and other cities in the Middle East since the station went on the air on March 23, 2002. The research is designed to track audience attitudes towards news, music and overall station popularity.

Radio Sawa, a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week Arabic-language network, is unique in the Middle East. It broadcasts an upbeat mix of Western and Arabic pop music along with up-to-the minute news two times each hour, news analysis, interviews, opinion pieces, sports, and features on a wide variety of political and social issues. Radio Sawa originates its programming from Washington and is broadcast across the Middle East, using a combination of medium wave (AM) and FM transmitters, digital audio satellite and shortwave. It is available worldwide on the Internet at www.radiosawa.com.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a nine-member, presidentially appointed body, which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, VOA, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, and WORLDNET Television. Current governors include Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Norman J. Pattiz, Robert M. Ledbetter, Jr., Edward E. Kaufman, Cheryl Halpern, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who serves as an ex officio member.

For more information, contact: Joan Mower (202.260.0167 or 202.401.3736), jmower@ibb.gov, or go to www.bbg.gov.

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