BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN (January 17, 2009) — Nari Radio broadcasts daily from Forward Operating Base Bostic and provides citizens in the surrounding four districts information to help them improve their daily lives as International Security Forces work with them to help rebuild Afghanistan.
“We have been operating for three and a half years,” Safarjan Rahmanzy, a broadcaster for Nari Radio, said, “and the people of the area seem to get a lot of information and entertainment from us.”
The radio station, located near the Pakistan border, reaches a large audience, including residents over the mountain boarder.
“We have about 200,000 listeners,” Rahmanzy said. “They listen from four different districts and in a part of Pakistan.”
The programming runs daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with short breaks throughout the day to allow the broadcast equipment the chance to cool down so it doesn’t overheat. The broadcasters provide the listeners with music, news and informational programs.
The international programming includes interviews with the sub-governor, police reports from the area, Afghan National Army information and a medical show.
“The commander will sometimes talk on the radio if something happens in the area so he can inform the people,” said Rahmanzy. “We also have local nationals come and speak about different things.”
The medical show consists of people of the surrounding area writing in to the station with their health concerns and problems. Capt. Amanda Cuda, a doctor with 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, who is from Kailua, Hawaii, answers the questions through an interpreter.
“The people in the area tell me that they wait all week for the medical show to come on,” Rahmanzy said. “They say it is very helpful and the most helpful program we have.”
The medical show is broadcast once a week and is one of the station’s most popular programs.
“In my perspective, I see the medical program as valuable because there aren’t many medical assets in the area,” Cuda said. “I’m not able to go out in the area as much as I’d like because of security, but people here have radios so we can reach them that way.”
This week’s medical show had questions about asthma, morning sickness and hormonal issues for women.
“They are the same kind of questions we hear in the United States,” Cuda said. “It just shows that we are not so different.”
The radio station also gets the local kids involved and tries to teach them a few things along the way.
“We have a quiz every week for the kids in the districts,” Rahmanzy said, “and we give them prizes for correct answers.
The station proposes four questions to the kids and they have a week to answer the questions and send in their answers. They receive more than 100 responses every week.
“We ask questions about politics, religion and about the radio station,” Rahmanzy said. “If they get all four questions correct we give them prizes.”
The prizes include things like Afghan flags and school supplies.
The radio station is also important because many of the people of the area can’t read and the broadcasts offer them information they can’t get in other ways.
“Many people in the area purchase radios at bazaars and the people who can’t afford them come to the post and we give them radios,” said Rahmanzy.
The radio station strives to reach the people of the area and inform them of news and information, but would like to expand to reach more people in the future.
“We would like a better building and better equipment so we can do better shows and give the people more information,” said Rahmanzy. “We are doing important work and want to keep doing this.”