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Monday, March 17, 2008

How a Station Tries to Calm Mideast’s Rage

The old saying, "Music to calm the masses" comes to mind in the article below concerning a new radio station who's aim is to bring understanding. I'm listening to it right now as I'm posting and there is good news on it!

You can tune in and listen to this channel streaming HERE

What is really interesting is that this channel airs from Ramallah, from an article dated February 27,2007:

RAM FM received a license from the Palestinian Authority in December 2005. They do not have a license to operate in Israel so the show will be transmitted from Ramallah. The broadcasters told CTV News that it was easier to apply for a licence in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority rather than go through Israeli bureaucracy.

That same article also states:

The radio content will be mostly pop music until people become aware of the station. Then the format will change to talk radio with news bulletins and call-in shows.

Palestinian reporters for the station will work out of a Ramallah, West Bank studio while Israeli anchors will sign on from West Jerusalem starting next week.

"Each person just has their own narrative and they don't interact. It's important to understand the other," said Palestinian reporter Ashira Ramadan.

But with the two studios divided by checkpoints and Israel's security barrier, travel restrictions mean most of the staff in the West Bank will never meet their Israeli counterparts face-to-face.

How a Station Tries to Calm Mideast’s Rage

Published: March 17, 2008

Amid the latest flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence, there are plenty of raised voices on either side. A new ad campaign suggests a different way to address the divide: speak, or even sing, to both sides at once.

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Bob Marley, or likeness thereof, in an ad for 93.6 RAM FM.

The campaign is for a radio station, 93.6 RAM FM, which broadcasts from Jerusalem and Ramallah, reaching Israelis and Palestinians in English, rather than Hebrew or Arabic.

The station was set up last year by Issie Kirsh, a South African Jew. The idea came from a similar station, Radio 702, that he set up in the apartheid era, allowing South African blacks and whites to speak on the same call-in and talk shows.

The station underlines its impartiality by avoiding Israeli or Arab songs and featuring the music of American, British and other English-speaking artists.

Some of them, including the Beatles and Bob Marley, are prominent in the ad campaign, which has started to appear on billboards, in newspapers and magazines, and on buses. The portraits are rendered through a kind of pointillist technique that uses the stamps applied to passports at border crossings to reinforce the idea that music can surmount such barriers.

Unusual for an ad campaign in the region, the same images were used in Israeli and in Palestinian areas.

Guy Bar, creative director of Gitam BBDO, the Tel Aviv agency that created the campaign, said, “The station views music as being a universal language that can cross all borders and reach all people, all nations and all religions.”

A spokeswoman for the station said it was spending about $400,000 on the campaign. So far, she said, it has attracted only small audiences, but it hopes those will grow so it can start selling ads, too.


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