Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2002 – Radio Farda, a unique, Persian-language radio service designed to give Iranians additional news, information, public affairs and entertainment went on the air today, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) announced.
“Iran is a country where 70 percent of the population is under the age of 30, and many of those brave young people are leading the fight for democracy and freedom in their country,” said Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the BBG, which oversees all U.S. international, nonmilitary broadcasting.
“We created Radio Farda so we can serve these Iranians – in fact, all Iranians – better,” Tomlinson said. “Meanwhile, our popular Voice of America (VOA) Persian programs on radio, television and Internet will continue their excellent work in reaching the Iranian people.”
Radio Farda (www.radiofarda.com) will be broadcast round-the-clock on medium wave (AM 1593 and AM 1539), digital audio satellite and 21 hours a day on shortwave. (Check www.radiofarda.com for details.) Streaming audio on the Internet will begin shortly.
Norman J. Pattiz, a BBG member and chairman of the Middle East Committee, said Radio Farda expands the amount of news and information Iranians have been receiving from existing services. Pattiz said Iranians can listen to Radio Farda’s programming on AM frequencies, which are more popular than shortwave, and the new service will also provide more ways for them to interact with Americans by telephone and Internet.
“We’re modeling Radio Farda on the phenomenally successful Radio Sawa, the 24/7 Arabic service that we created early this year,” Pattiz said. Research surveys show Radio Sawa has become the top-ranked station in many cities in the Middle East among the target audience.
Radio Farda, which means “Radio Tomorrow” in Persian, will be a joint effort of two BBG entities: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and VOA. Radio Farda, which will have a total of 310 minutes of original news and substantive content daily, replaces RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi, which broadcast some 180 minutes a day of news.
Operated from Washington and Prague, Czech Republic, Radio Farda will produce fresh news and information at least twice an hour, with longer news programming in the morning and the evening. Additional news content will be increased as warranted. Radio Farda will also broadcast a combination of popular Persian and Western music designed to appeal to a young audience.
The total budget is expected to be about $8 million, including transmission. The money will come from internal reallocations by the BBG. No new funding is required.
The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Radio and TV Mart