(Washington, DC--June 22, 2005) Russian-language programs of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), known locally as Radio Svoboda, will be broadcast 18 hours daily on Radio 1 Center, a local UKV ("Eastern-Band FM," 66 to 74 MHz) station in Moscow, Russia, beginning July 1, 2005.
This unprecedented expansion of U.S.-sponsored radio programming in Russia's largest media market comes as the result of an agreement signed today in Moscow by D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, a member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, and by Natalya Mikhailovna Kozyreva, the Director of Radio 1 Center. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, through the Gorbachev Foundation, is a co-owner of Radio 1 Center. The agreement is part of RFE/RL's effort to expand audiences in Russia through a revamped national schedule that includes new live and interactive programming and improved local distribution.
The programs will be available from 0600 to 0000 local time on 68.3 MHz UKV throughout the greater Moscow region, with a population of more than 10.3 million. Until now, RFE/RL Russian Service programs have been available in the Moscow metropolitan area only on the AM frequency band, at 1044 KHz. Research shows that Russians prefer FM and UKV radio for news and information, while AM is less popular. RFE/RL broadcasts on UKV in St. Petersburg and for a limited number of hours daily on AM, FM and UKV in 22 other Russian cities.
"I am pleased to be able to sign this agreement, which will put Radio Svoboda broadcasts onto the UKV dial in the Russian capital," said Hirschberg. "Given the recent revamping of Radio Svoboda programming, I am pleased that we and our partners at Radio 1 Center are able to make this exciting new programming even more available to our Moscow audience. I am delighted that this particular channel has decided to partner with us."
RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine added that "today, the RFE/RL Russian Service has met the challenge of reaching new audiences beyond the AM band. I am convinced that, by making Radio Svoboda available on UKV, many new listeners will be able to enjoy our informative and thought provoking programs."
RFE/RL's Russian Service broadcasts are on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with programs produced in Prague and the service's Moscow, St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg Bureaus and transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM, FM and UKV signals provided by local affiliate stations in Russia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine. Russian Service programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's website www.svoboda.org
and at www.rferl.org
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a nine-member, presidentially-appointed body which supervises all U.S. government-supported international broadcasting, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Al Hurra Television and Radio Sawa), and Radio Farda. The services broadcast in 55 languages to over 140 million people around the world. Current governors include Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Chairman; Joaquin F. Blaya; Blanquita Walsh Cullum; D. Jeffrey Hirschberg; Edward E. Kaufman; Norman J. Pattiz; Steven J. Simmons; and Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, who serves as an ex officio member.