Harris donates replacement transmitter to Iraqi women’s radio station
The new Harris transmitter, which has been installed this month, will transmit within a 60-90 mile radius of the station’s Baghdad location and will reach people in approximately half of the 18 provinces.
Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division Radio Business Unit has donated its Platinum Series Z5, 5kw, solid-state, FM transmitter to the first independent Iraqi women’s radio station, Radio Al-Mahaba. The new Harris transmitter, which has been installed this month, will transmit within a 60-90 mile radius of the station’s Baghdad location and will reach people in approximately half of the 18 provinces.
The station’s original 5kw transmitter was destroyed by an explosion near the station in October of last year, and its subsequent 3kw rental unit failed. The station was operating with a rented 1kw unit, which drastically reduced the station’s ability to reach its audience and garner the advertising revenue it needed to remain on air.
“It’s difficult to describe the significance of this 5kw transmitter to the continued success of our radio station,” says Bushra Jamil, the spokeswoman of Radio Al-Mahaba. “It means we’ll be able to reach the small towns and rural villages where women remain extremely isolated from news and education. The illiteracy rate for Iraqi women is now at approximately 75%, so this makes our radio broadcasts even more vital. After the bombing that destroyed our first transmitter, we had to reduce our staff’s salaries by half. With this new transmitter, we can become financially self-sufficient through increased advertising revenues.”
The non-religious, non-governmental station for women encourages audience members to call in and talk to one another, and features commentators and guests that educate them about their rights.
The urgent needs of Radio Al-Mahaba have been a frequent topic since this spring on the daily US broadcasts of the Satellite Sisters radio programme, syndicated nationally by the ABC Radio Networks. Station personnel are often interviewed on the show and the station is featured prominently on the programme web site. This summer, the Satellite Sisters launched a campaign to raise US $100,000 to “Keep Radio Al-Mahaba Talking.” The new transmitter, plus the nearly US $40,000 raised to date, will help ensure that the voice of Iraqi women will continue to be heard.
“We are thrilled to have a hand in restoring transmission for this
pioneering Iraqi station,” says Debra Huttenburg, vice president and general manager of the Radio Broadcast Systems business unit of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division. “Communication is vital to the people of Iraq, and Radio Al-Mahaba operates daily under the harshest conditions imaginable. We see this outreach as an extension of Harris’s involvement in the region, specifically with regard to our re-build of the studio infrastructure for the Iraqi Media Network (IMN).”
Through its government communications systems division, Harris rebuilt AM/FM and television infrastructure for the entire country of Iraq. Radio and television studio infrastructure and transmission equipment, along with a satellite delivery system, were essential parts of the re-build. The IMN programme included equipment, operation, training, and provisioning of programming for an integrated media network that includes two national radio channels, two national television channels, and a national newspaper, Al Sabah.