A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Happy Birthday RadioZamaneh!

It's the birthday of our happy radiostation Radio Zamaneh! Woohoo! 2 years young and still going strong. I'm very proud to have been involved with this station since it's conception.

Ooh wait, the Beatles whant to say something:

And now I give the floor to Kamran Ashtary, head of Public Relations:

Radio Zamaneh Celebrates its Second Anniversary

Radio Zamaneh

Amsterdam September 10, 2008

Radio Zamaneh, a Persian-language media outlet headquartered in Amsterdam, is a participatory platform that encourages citizen journalism. During the past two years, it has published reports from professional journalists and authors, bloggers, and citizens. Within that short span of time, it has risen into the top 5000 sites out of 55 million ranked by Technorati (http://technorati.com/blogs/radiozamaaneh.com?reactions). According to the same source, radiozamaaneh.com currently has more than 36,000 blog reactions, more than any other Persian media located outside Iran. Its website is a top source of information, ranking first in link-sharing among Iranian bloggers according to the independent Didish Report (http://didish.kamangir.net/report/03mar08/sites.php).

In the last two years since the inauguration of Radio Zamaneh (Sep 11, 2006), a radio station with a multi-media website, it has actively worked to promote press freedoms and report on human rights. In March 2008 it was awarded "Best multi-media Persian website" by a leading group in Iran that presents annual awards for the best of the Persian language web: Haft Sang (http://www.topmedia.ir/).

In two short years, Radio Zamaneh has gained a strong following with an average of 4 million page impressions per month and more than 130,000 monthly visits from unique IP addresses. The absolute number of unique visitors during 2007 was 1,250,000.

In the first six months of 2008 alone, in addition to daily news on the situation in Iran, Radio Zamaneh presented more than 500 reports and interviews focusing on human rights and women in society.

Our Listeners

Everywhere you go in Iran, people discuss the day's issues. From breakfast with the family to the shared taxi ride to the butcher shop to the workplace to the park to the teahouses, everyone is talking and sharing information.

Every piece of information is examined, dissected, passed on. One access point, one person with a computer, or one person with a satellite connection can pass on information to thirty or more people either by sharing files or through conversation. In order to understand the impact of Radio Zamaneh, it is important to first understand how the information is shared. It is important to look beyond what the numbers of unique visitors to the website or Internet can tell us and imagine the many paths that information takes from one single access point.

Here is what one of our listeners, Mohammad, tells us. "We usually save the Audio-Books & Audio-Stories on the flash memories or cell phones, and we listen to them while having fun in a cafĂ© or park, or while wasting time in the traffic, or on journeys. This happens several times a week. I sometimes capture RZ Satellite Radio and distribute it between my friends; for I'm the only person who uses DVB cards (I don't know what you call it… I mean an onboard satellite receiver that lets me record almost everything very easily and save them on the computer)."

Mohammad, a twenty-something translator in Esfahan who is also a blogger and often translates Radio Zamaneh pieces into English for his own English-language blog, continues:

Politics aside, from a cultural point of view, I feel passionate about RZ. It is doing a good business, reconciling some of the youth with Iran's and Farsi's rich cultural heritage. I'm to an extent a religious person; but I have come to believe that there is a need for a secular (or 'not that religious' or 'not regime-driven' or at least 'not politically affiliated with the regime/conservative parties') source propagating Iran's culture. That is because many of the youth resist the cultural food provided by regime-driven sources, thanks to negative political feelings some people possess toward the regime. And RZ is doing a good business in this case.

Another listener, Javid is a 43-year-old healthcare worker who has been living in Holland for the last 13 years contacted Radio Zamaneh to express his support for the programming. Here is what he had to say:

Radio Zamaneh is very positive about Iranians all over the world. They are not just interested in Muslims or other religions. They don't have just one idea or force their opinions on you. This is what I like about Radio Zamaneh.

I am Ba'hai myself, and I like that there are many ideas and no affiliations. When I first started listening to Radio Zamaneh, I thought it was like the other stations. Those stations force one idea of Iran and Iranians on you. They have a definite affiliation.

It seems that the other stations only want to talk to you if you say what they want you to say. This is not true for Radio Zamaneh. I like Radio Zamaneh now because it doesn't announce its affiliations on every page. Everybody may contribute their own ideas and make programs for Radio Zamaneh and this makes it different from the others.

About Radio Zamaneh

Since its inception, Press Now (http://www.pressnow.nl/) has helped raise funds, provided for the recruitment and selection of a director, and supported programming and organizational development with training and consulting. Radio Zamaneh was made possible because of funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a unanimous vote in parliament supporting media plurality in Iran.

Radio Zamaneh is a participatory platform that encourages citizen journalism. In addition to reports from professional journalists and authors, Zamaneh publishes reports from non-professionals. It offers training and support for home recording and invites written contributions from bloggers and others.

In the past two years, we have covered conferences and interviews with hundreds individuals including political experts, economic and social analysts, professors from all over the world, filmmakers and sports celebrities, political personalities and musicians. We have spoken to representatives of minority communities, covered stories ignored by others, and sparked debate in Iran.

Since the start of Zamaneh's broadcasts in August 2006, the audience has grown rapidly (growth rate was an estimated 30% in the first seven months). The growth rate among listeners and readers within Iran was unexpectedly quick given the fact that there has been no opportunity to advertise inside Iran.

For more information, contact Kamran Ashtary at (+31 6) 586 3399.

Email: kamran.ashtary@radiozamaneh.com


Wait, wait! There's a voice coming from beyond:

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