|VOA Director David Ensor announces the official launch of new 102 FM transmitter in Bamako, Mali.|
BAMAKO, MALI - Residents in Mali's capital city, Bamako, can now listen to the Voice of America 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 102 FM, a new transmitter that was officially inaugurated this week.
VOA Director David Ensor, in Mali to take part in the launch ceremony, hailed the addition of the new frequency. "This new FM transmitter and the Bambara language program we debuted Monday build on the innovative efforts VOA has made to provide the people of Mali with reliable and objective news and information during a very uncertain time," Ensor said.
The new FM transmitter will carry the latest regional and international developments from VOA's French to Africa Service and a network of local reporters around the country. It will also air popular VOA African music programs.
During his visit, Ensor also took part in a town hall style meeting at the University of Mali and met with Malian officials and media representatives, including the managers of the VOA affiliate station Radio Kledu.
Monday, VOA introduced a new half-hour news program in Bambara, a local language that is widely spoken in Mali. One local reporter in Bamako said the initial program was "a real hit" because it had a segment on power outages, which happened to air during an actual power outage.
In February, VOA began broadcasting on mobile phones in the Songhai language, which is common in the north of Mali, where Islamic extremists continue to resist efforts to oust them from their strongholds.
VOA's French to Africa Service has also added a new 15-minute French-language program called Sahel Plus that focuses on the vast region of Africa stretching from Mauritania in the West, to Sudan and Djibouti in the East.
All of the programs provide analysis of the growing threat of violent extremism in the region, and offer opportunities for listeners to share their stories.
VOA's Mali 1 mobile service was added last year to take advantage of the large and growing number of mobile phone users, and as a way to get news to regions where extremists have shut down independent media.
In addition to mobile, VOA programs are broadcast on shortwave, medium wave and the Internet.
La Voix de la Amerique.