Radio Farda – a new Persian-language radio station aimed at the broad mass of people under 30 in Iran – will begin broadcasting in December 2002, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has announced.
“We need to reach out to the young people of Iran, large numbers of whom share the American ideals of freedom and democracy,” said Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the BBG’s chairman. “We want to bring them accurate news and information about the United States and the world.”
Radio Farda, which means “Radio Tomorrow” in Persian, will be a joint effort of two BBG entities: The Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
Operated from Washington and Prague, Czech Republic, Radio Farda will broadcast news, features and other information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, it will broadcast a combination of popular Persian and Western music designed to appeal to a young audience.
Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the BBG’s Middle East Committee, which oversees the project, said Radio Farda “will target an audience that has not been targeted before by U.S. international broadcasting.” He noted that about 70 percent of Iran’s population is under 30 years old.
Pattiz, who also oversaw creation of the BBG’s highly successful Radio Sawa (www.radiosawa.com), an Arabic-language station that reaches the Middle East, said, “Because of Radio Sawa’s overwhelming success in attracting audiences and new listeners, the BBG believes a similarly formatted service in Persian directed at Iran is a high priority.”
Radio Farda will complement the VOA’s existing Farsi service on shortwave, which has a strong following in Iran. VOA also broadcasts two popular television shows to Iran: “Next Chapter,” a weekly, hour-long, youth-oriented show, and “Roundtable with You,” a news and public affairs show.
Radio Farda will be broadcast on medium wave (AM) as well as on shortwave, digital audio satellite and by the Internet.
The total budget is expected to be about $8 million, all of it from internal reallocations by the BBG. No new funding is required.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a nine-member, presidentially appointed body, which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including VOA, RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, and WORLDNET Television. Current governors include Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Edward E. Kaufman, Norman J. Pattiz, Robert M. Ledbetter, Jr., Joaquin Blaya, Blanquita W. Cullum, D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, Steven Simmons and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who serves a an ex officio member.