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Radio Sawa and Alhurra. Run-Up to Radio Sawa. VOA’s first Arabic broadcast, January 1950 from New York studios Broadcast hours increased steadily based on events in the Arab world VOA audience always small vis-à-vis the BBC and Radio Monte Carlo Middle East

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Presentation Transcript
run up to radio sawa
Run-Up to Radio Sawa
  • VOA’s first Arabic broadcast, January 1950 from New York studios
  • Broadcast hours increased steadily based on events in the Arab world
  • VOA audience always small vis-à-vis the BBC and Radio Monte Carlo Middle East
  • Limited medium wave and FM coverage, limited hours, and “U.S. Government” Broadcasts
radio sawa s together creation
Radio Sawa’s “Together” Creation
  • Planning for Radio Sawa started 8 months before 9/11
  • Money from VOA program elimination
  • Norm Pattiz: Westwood One founder and former BEA board member appointed to BBG by Clinton
  • Pattiz became Radio Sawa driving force re programming, transmission, and distrubution
  • First broadcast: March 23, 2002
radio sawa s format
Radio Sawa’s Format
  • Top-40 Music and News—Designed for an under-30 audience
  • News at :15 and :45
  • Music: Western, mostly a U.S. song followed by an Arabic song
  • Some commentary/features
reaction to radio sawa
Reaction to Radio Sawa
  • Generally favorable in the U.S.
  • Promoted heavily by Norm Pattiz
  • Initial positive listener response
  • Copycat local Arab stations
  • Continuing positive listener response
radio sawa s limitations
Radio Sawa’s Limitations
  • Some language difficulties
  • Some news difficulties
  • Medium-wave distribution for an FM-oriented service
  • Lack of coverage in important Arab states: Saudi Arabia and Egypt
radio sawa in 2006
Radio Sawa in 2006
  • Mature radio station
  • “Popular” in some countries: Jordan, Kuwait, and Morocco
  • Serves more listeners than the old VOA Arabic service
  • Seen by U.S. Administration as important aspect of U.S.-Middle East public diplomacy
alhurra the free one
Alhurra, “The Free One”
  • 24-hour BBG DTH Arabic television service
  • Modern studios in Springfield, VA, outside Washington, D.C.
  • Seen by the U.S. Administration as important part of U.S.-Arab World public diplomacy
  • Funded by BBG, operated by Middle East Television Network
alhurra programming staff
Alhurra Programming & Staff
  • Pattiz: “People are loyal to radio stations, and loyal to television programs”
  • Block news, information, features, entertainment programming
  • Staff hired from the Arab world
alhurra s impact
Alhurra’s Impact
  • Measuring the Alhurra audience
  • Problem: A lack of standards for measuring international media audiences
    • BBG-funded 2005 7-country study showed 25 percent had tuned in once per week
    • Zogby 2004 International found 0.2 percent tuned in
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