US embassy cable - 02AMMAN2329

IBB's Radio Sawa an initial hit among the youth in Jordan

Identifier: 02AMMAN2329
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN2329 at
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-05-12 13:42:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT:  IBB's Radio Sawa an initial hit among the 
youth in Jordan 
1.   (Summary) The experimental broadcast of IBB's 
Radio Sawa, which offers an attractive mix of Arabic 
and American music, became an instant hit among 
Jordan's young, who are the main target audience and 
the majority of the population.  Whether this 
popularity will continue now that Radio Sawa has 
started news and feature broadcasting remains to be 
seen.  There is a widespread misconception that 
Radio Sawa is a private enterprise and not a U.S. 
government broadcast. (End summary) 
Music attracts youth 
2.   As early as the experimental broadcasting 
stage, the attractive mix of Arabic and American 
music broadcast on IBB's Radio Sawa became an 
instant hit among Jordan's youth who are the 
majority of the population in this country.  The 
diversity of Radio Sawa's audience appears to 
transcend wealth and education barriers, since the 
radio can be heard in modest taxicabs and 
barbershops, fast food establishments such as Burger 
King, as well as plush health fitness clubs. 
Whether Radio Sawa's popularity will continue now 
that more extensive news coverage will be aired on 
the station remains to be seen. 
Not to be too sanguine 
3.   The success of the experimental broadcast 
should not be confused with support for the U.S. 
The conviction that U.S. Middle East policy is 
biased against the Arabs remains strong in Jordan 
and it gives rise to strong feelings of injustice 
and anger.  A PA contact said that a shop which he 
frequents was playing Radio Sawa not realizing that 
it was an American station.  When this was explained 
to him he immediately changed to another station. 
Cynicism regarding news broadcasts 
4.   Centrist, influential among the elite, the 
English daily Jordan Times reported on April 30 that 
the "public is prepared for bias" in the news 
broadcasts of Radio Sawa and the proposed U.S. 
satellite channel.  In the article, Dr. Nabil Al- 
Sharif, Chief Editor of center-left, influential 
Arabic daily Al-Dustour suggested that Arab 
negativity to the U.S. is a reaction to U.S. policy, 
not its packaging.  He said: "The U.S. must exercise 
fair-handedness in the Middle East in order to prove 
itself."  This sentiment has been echoed in opinion 
columns in Jordan's Arabic papers.   GNEHM 

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