BBG Renews Contract With Private Station in Armenia; RFE/RL Armenian Service Still Off Public Radio

Washington, DC–August 1, 2007, The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has renewed a contract to carry the programs of Radio Liberty’s Armenian language service on a private radio network based in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

The contract with AR Radio Intercontinental runs from August 15, 2007 until September 14, 2008. The network has 23 transmitters, which cover Yerevan and a number of outlying districts.

“We are pleased that many Armenian listeners will be able to continue to hear our programming on AR Radio Intercontinental,” said Jeffrey Gedmin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL, Inc.).

However, Gedmin noted that efforts to renew a contract with Armenian Public Radio, which has transmitters covering the entire country, have so far proven unsuccessful.

“We remain deeply committed to nationwide coverage of Armenia. Hundreds of thousands of listeners rely on Radio Liberty’s Armenian Service and depend on us for accurate, comprehensive news,” said Gedmin, noting that the latest national surveys indicate 15 percent of Armenians tune in each week.

Armenian Public Radio announced in mid-July that it would stop carrying Radio Liberty broadcasts on August 9, 2007 on the 80 transmitters in the network.

“We have worked diligently to settle any legal and contractual issues, and believe there is no reason the broadcasts shouldn’t continue,” said Gedmin.

RFE/RL Armenian programs have been aired on Armenian Public Radio — Armenia’s top radio network — since 1998. Three days of contract discussions in Yerevan in mid-July ended without resolution.

James K. Glassman, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said at the time, “We value our relationship with Armenian Public Radio, and certainly want it to continue.”

RFE/RL’s Armenian Service has been on the air since 1953 and produces more than three and one half hours of Armenian-language programming daily in Prague and its Yerevan Bureau. Armenian Service programming is available via satellite, local affiliates and the Internet, at the service’s website www.azatutyun.am and at www.rferl.org; English-language news about events in Armenia can be found on the RFE/RL website, at www.rferl.org.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors 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); the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa); Radio Free Asia (RFA); and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Mart

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