US embassy cable - 05DJIBOUTI288

DORALE RADIO PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION, CREATES REQUEST FOR SOMALI LANGUAGE PROGRAMMING SUPPORT

Identifier: 05DJIBOUTI288
Wikileaks: View 05DJIBOUTI288 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Djibouti
Created: 2005-03-22 08:50:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PREL MARR MOPS ASEC KPAO KPAO DJ BBG
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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 000288 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
RABAT/CASABLANCA PASS TO IBB/DAVID STRAWMAN, DARREL 
DUCKWORTH IN TANGIER; STATE PASS TO AF/E, AF/EX, AF/PD; 
SECSTATE PASS TO BBG TARIQ FAROOQI, JOHN BOWEN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, ASEC, KPAO, KPAO, DJ, BBG 
SUBJECT: DORALE RADIO PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION, CREATES 
REQUEST FOR SOMALI LANGUAGE PROGRAMMING SUPPORT 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: This is an action request, see paragraph 
8. The International Board of Broadcasting's three 
year, $1.2 million renovation of Radio Television 
Djibouti's Dorale transmitting station is nearing 
completion. The renovations give RTD expanded 
broadcasting capability, allowing its signals to reach 
well into the Ethiopian and Somalia interiors and as 
far as Sudan. The renovation, which has included 
installation of three transmitters, is part of a 
bilateral agreement between the Government of Djibouti 
(RTD) and IBB for the long-term lease and licensing of 
the PK-12 site used for Radio Sawa broadcasting. END 
SUMMARY 
 
2. (U) The bilateral agreement to lease land for a Radio 
Sawa transmitting station included a $1.2 million 
renovation project for the state-owned Radio 
Television Djibouti's dilapidated transmitting station 
at Dorale. Due to funding concerns, it was decided 
that RTD would award a facility upgrade contract 
locally.  IBB would install and commission the three 
transmitters and upgrade the existing short wave 
antenna system using its own technical resources. An 
agreement to this effect was signed in June 2004. 
 
3. (U) In June 2004, IBB provided RTD with money and 
drawings for facility cleanup and upgrade.  Work 
included demolition, cleanup and removal of old 
equipment, painting (walls and towers), roof and 
ceiling replacement, air-conditioning, plumbing and 
bath room refurbishment, switchgear refurbishment, 
wiring and lighting upgrade, and installation of the 
building grounding system. 
 
4. (U) In late October 2004, the RTD and IBB commissioned 
the first medium wave (1539 kHz) transmitter.  The 
second MW transmitter was retuned to 1116 kHz. In 
January 2005, a second medium wave (1116 kHz) 
transmitter and a short wave transmitter were 
installed. IBB support crews from Morocco and Germany 
performed the transmitter installation work. The 
second medium wave transmitter was placed in service 
in early February. 
 
5. (U) The short wave transmitter installation and 
refurbishment of the short wave antenna system were 
completed in early March and the antenna was tested 
and placed in service. This transmitter gives RTD the 
capability to broadcast as far as Sudan and well into 
the Ethiopian and Somalia interiors. 
 
6. (U) Some small equipment adjustments are still 
pending. IBB expects the complete renovation to be 
finished in May. Meanwhile, IBB remains under a 5-year 
contract with RTD for maintenance and warranty of the 
Dorale equipment. IBB expects continued technical 
support and advice will be provided by Moroccan FSNs 
on temporary duty assignments to the PK-12 site. An 
inauguration ceremony for the renovated station is 
planned for early April. 
 
7. (U) RTD has expressed extreme satisfaction with the 
quality of the renovations and the support provided by 
IBB Washington and Morocco. Kudos are due to the 
excellent teamwork of IBB engineers David Despain and 
Gerhard Straub, and Moroccan Station Director David 
Strawman. Special thanks for the tireless dedication 
and excellent service provided to both RTD and Post by 
Darrel Duckworth and FSN technical crews from Morocco. 
 
8. (SBU) IBB has discussed pursuing Congressional 
approval of a Somali-language service similar to Radio 
Sawa and Voice of America, though on a much smaller 
scale. RTD has already agreed, unofficially, to 
promote any Somali language programming which the USG 
can provide and assist IBB in getting maximum possible 
signal distribution and coverage for such programming 
through use of the new transmitters at Dorale. Post 
believes this would be an extreme advantage in the 
Global War on Terrorism by bolstering Public Diplomacy 
efforts in the region. Post requests Department of 
State support for IBB's efforts in Washington. IBB 
contacts are Walter Borys, wborys@ibb.gov (unclass) 
202-619-2035; and John Bowen, jbowen@ibb.gov 
(unclass)202-619-1553. 
 
RAGSDALE 

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