Washington, D.C., December 26, 2006 – The Voice of America (VOA) will add an additional half-hour morning radio news program in Amharic to cover the crisis in Somalia.
The program will be heard via shortwave radio in Ethiopia and the region, beginning Thursday, Dec. 28 at 6:00 a.m. local time, with a repeat at 7:00 a.m. local time. It will be broadcast from VOA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters at 0300 UTC.
“We know VOA’s broadcasts are vital to our audience in Ethiopia,” said Gwen Dillard, Director of VOA’s Africa Division. “They rely on our trustworthy and objective news to get the straight story on the mounting crisis there.”
VOA has reported extensively on the fighting that intensified in Somalia on December 19. After months of rising tension the Union of Islamic Courts took over much of the country's center and south and declared a holy war on Ethiopia, which supports Somalia's weak-but-internationally-recognized interim government.
VOA’s Horn of Africa Service broadcasts 12 hours a week, in the Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrina languages. News and information in Amharic is currently broadcast seven days a week via shortwave on 9320, 9860, 11675, 11905, 13870 kHz from 1800-1900 UTC and will be on 13815 and 15610 kHz from 0300-0330 UTC with a repeat at 0400-0430 UTC. Programs are also available online at www.voanews.com/horn/amharic_audio.cfm.
Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, a country with an estimated population of 70 million people. According to recent surveys, VOA Amharic attracts 18% of the adult population on a weekly basis.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.