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VOA Launches 102 FM in Dakar

VOA correspondent Idrissa Fall alongside U.S. Ambassador James P. Zumwalt and BBG Director of Strategy and Development Bruce Sherman.

Washington, DC – On March 3, the Voice of America launched a new FM transmitter in Dakar, Senegal, bringing VOA’s French-language programming to that city and its suburbs.

“Nearly 20 percent of Senegalese live in Dakar,” said VOA French to Africa Service Chief Jeremy Groce. “So 102 FM gives VOA a big boost in terms of reaching this important audience.”

Programming on the new transmitter includes news, feature programming, English teaching, public service announcements, and other short elements.

The new 102 FM is one of a series of FM stations already established by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, VOA’s parent agency, in Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Central African Republic, and Cote d’Ivoire, with more planned in the region and throughout the African continent.

“In launching our new station, we join a very robust, professional media environment in Dakar. Indeed, Dakar is a longstanding regional media hub and a center for journalism excellence and training,” said BBG Director of Strategy and Development Bruce Sherman. “We already have a news bureau in Dakar. We are increasingly reporting from here for the region, both for our own FM network and our many radio and TV affiliate partners.”

U.S. Ambassador James P. Zumwalt, representing the United States at the event, said, “Senegal’s free press continues to play a vital role in building this country’s democracy, and continues to contribute to an ‘Emerging Senegal.’… 102 FM will allow us to deepen the solid relationship between the people of Senegal and the people of the United States.”

The 102 FM launch attracted coverage from Radio Television Senegal, the state broadcaster in Senegal, along with about 30 other TV and radio outlets.

VOA’s French to Africa Service was established in 1960. It produces a broad mix of news and educational programming for radio, television, and the Internet. The new 102 FM is one of several FM transmitters in key capitals across Francophone Africa.