RFE/RL's Georgian Service
, known locally as Radio Tavisupleba
, expanded its broadcasts to 18 hours today, via FM transmitters leased from Radio Green Wave, the Service's longtime broadcast affiliate in Georgia. RFE/RL executives say the expansion on Green Wave's nationwide network of 16 transmitters will dramatically increase the reach and impact of its programming in this vital Caucasus market.
RFE/RL Editor-in-Chief Nenad Pejic hailed the expansion of programming, calling it "an ideal opportunity to mobilize the strengths of both RFE/RL and our partners at the Voice of America to offer the people of Georgia a diversity of balanced, credible news and analysis found nowhere else on the country's airwaves."
Pejic noted that the mix of programming allows RFE/RL to address the informational needs not only of ethnic Georgians, but also of Georgia's largest ethnic and linguistic minority groups.
Following an offer by Radio Green Wave in late 2013, RFE/RL worked with VOA's Georgian Service
to program the 8:00am-2:00am stream with content from Radio Tavisupleba and its Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza
("Echo of the Caucasus") unit, as well as RFE/RL's Russian Service
, Armenian Service
, and Azerbaijani Service
. VOA's Learning English
and Music Mix services are also part of the programming, and a live newscast runs at the top and bottom of each hour.
Radio Tavisupleba, which has broadcast since 1953, is a trusted source of balanced journalism in a country where much of the press openly supports, both editorially and through the selection of news, either the government or opposition parties. The Service's programs target educated, 20-40 year old professionals and opinion leaders frustrated with the country's polarized media market who seek independent information and perspectives. The Service's Russian-language Ekho Kavkaza seeks to use impartial reporting to overcome mistrust between the peoples of Georgia and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.