Arab-language radio for Iraq - made in Berlin

30th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 June 2004 , BERLIN - A radio programme in the Arabic language for Iraq and produced in Berlin will start up on 10 July in a six-week pilot project supported by the German Foreign Ministry.

30 June 2004

BERLIN - A radio programme in the Arabic language for Iraq and produced in Berlin will start up on 10 July in a six-week pilot project supported by the German Foreign Ministry.

The programme is to be called "Telephone FM", said Klaas Glenewinkel and Anja Wollenberg, the project initiators.

They said three Iraqis, two men and a woman, will moderate the 90-minute daily programme, which will be transmitted to Baghdad via the internet for local transmission.

The show is to be broadcast by the private station "Hot FM" which at the moment can only be heard in Baghdad.

The three moderators have been in Berlin the past two weeks, but have asked not to be shown on television or to be photographed for their own security, Glenewinkel said.

In Iraq itself, a freelancer is to stay in mobile phone contact with the Berlin studio and conduct interviews with local residents - explaining the name of the programme, "Telephone FM".

The Foreign Ministry is providing EUR 83,000 to help support the six-week project.

"In Iraq there are only two kinds of radio broadcasters," Glenewinkel commented, speaking of his experiences when he visited a friend in Baghdad in the summer of 2003.

Either they are foreign radio such as BBC World, or they are a myriad of local stations driven by political or religious groups pushing ideologies which don't reach Iraqi youth, he said about current radio programming in Iraq.

Telephone FM will be targeted at the youth market. The music will be a mixture of Arabic music with Western mainstream. Iraqi heavy- metal bands and disc jockeys will also be featured.

A further program will be called "Baghdad Searches for a Superstar", with listeners being able to vote via Internet for the best songs of the day or the week, the initiators said.

Glenewinkel said it was not clear at the moment whether the Foreign Ministry would provide further funding beyond the initial six-week period. A further backer of the project is the political foundation Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.

"We hope Iraq will be a better place with this radio programme than without it," Glenewinkel said, conceding that for security reasons there was no way to consider producing it in Baghdad at the moment.

"Over the medium term we want to build up a local station," Anja Wollenberg said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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