NEWTON, MA | December 6, 2010
In the run-up to a key political referendum to decide whether the south splits from the north, a new locally based independent radio station has opened in Southern Sudan. Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the new station is operated by the nonpartisan Sudan Radio Service (SRS) and provides daily news and other programming in 12 languages.
A launch event is set for Tuesday, December 14, 2010, at the station in Juba, the southern capital. The launch will include a ceremony with dignitaries in the Government of Southern Sudan, officials of the U.S. Consulate in Juba, and representatives from USAID. An all-day open house will highlight the activities of USAID-supported NGOs in preparation for the upcoming referendum.
Assembled by hand over many months, the new FM station’s transmitter, studios, and 120-foot radio tower are now in place in Juba. These components were built in New Jersey and shipped in containers to Juba to become the production room, talk show studio, and on-air studio. Sitting on approximately two acres of land leased from the Sudanese government, the 1,200-square-foot station will also feature a newsroom and conference space, which will double as a classroom. A separate building will house administrative offices and a kitchen.
Although the radio service has already been on the air for several hours a day, broadcasts previously originated from studios in Nairobi, Kenya, using shortwave radio frequencies. The new station in Juba, broadcasting on 98.6 SRS FM, will provide a high quality FM signal for 15 hours a day to much of Central Equatoria.
“We have been covering the referendum, and we look forward to broadcasting the outcome in January,” said EDC’s Jon Newstrom. “It’s our job to make sure the voters of the largest country in Africa understand their choices and what the results will mean for Sudan.”
Established in 2003 by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), SRS was the first independent news source in Sudan. Modeled after National Public Radio in the United States, its staff includes about 40 journalists and producers based in Sudan and Nairobi. Existing SRS bureaus throughout Sudan, as well as special coverage of Darfur through a two-year U.S. Department of State grant, will continue to operate from both Juba and Nairobi.
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.