NEWTON, MA | March 24, 2010
Sudan Radio Service (SRS), the first independent radio news service in Africa’s largest nation, has begun construction on a new radio station in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan. Founded and supported with assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SRS is currently based out of its studios in Nairobi, Kenya, with news bureaus in Sudan. SRS’s new radio station in Juba will provide daily news, information, and entertainment programming on FM 98.6.
The studios and transmitter being built in Juba will allow SRS to reach a larger listening audience and increase its current daily broadcasting from 6 to 15 hours a day. While there are several other FM stations in Juba, SRS will be the first to carry such varied programming in 12 languages, including English, Arabic, and 10 Sudanese languages.
Established in 2003 by Education Development Center (EDC), SRS is modeled after National Public Radio in the United States and provides independent, nonpartisan news and information throughout Sudan. SRS’s staff of 31 Sudanese technicians, producers, and reporters develop daily programs and newscasts at its Nairobi studios. These programs are then built into audio files that are sent electronically to shortwave transmitters in the United Arab Emirates and on Ascension Island for broadcast to Sudan.
“In the larger cities of Sudan, FM is becoming more popular, and the signal is clearer than shortwave,” said EDC’s Jon Newstrom, who manages SRS. “The new station will bring news, information, and programs about peace and development to the air on FM, and will reach all of Juba, the largest city in southern Sudan, where much of the region’s leadership resides.”
The FM station’s transmitter and studios were built in New Jersey and shipped in containers to Juba, where they are currently in storage. Once the cement foundation is completed, the 120-foot radio tower will be constructed, with offices, generators, water and fuel tanks, and a dining hall to follow. In early May, the studios will be assembled and broadcast testing will begin with repeats of SRS’s shortwave broadcast each morning and evening. Full-time FM broadcasting is expected to start in June.
Audience research is difficult in Sudan, but EDC roughly estimates its current shortwave audience to be 1.1 million listeners, based on four independent audience studies and recent government census data.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that addresses some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages 350 projects in 35 countries. Visit edc.org.