VOA Broadcasting to the Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa Service broadcasts to Ethiopia and Eritrea in three languages: Amharic, Afan Oromo, and Tigrigna. Amharic programming is meant for the more than 100 million people living in Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as diaspora communities throughout the world. Afan Oromo is directed at an estimated 37 percent of Ethiopians living in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, while Tigrigna is heard throughout the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia and in Eritrea. VOA listeners tune in to the radio programs via shortwave, satellite, and medium wave, in addition to digital and mobile platforms. The service broadcasts local, regional, U.S. and international news, as well as an array of programming about Ethiopian and American culture, politics, current affairs, economics, health, education, entertainment and more. According to a 2016 Gallup World Poll Survey, VOA is the leading international broadcaster in Ethiopia with a weekly audience of more than five million adults, of which 70 percent are aged 15 to 34. Survey results indicate that more than 90 percent of Horn of Africa Service listeners say the “station is reliable and trustworthy” and that it has “increased their understanding of current events.”
Established: Amharic, September 1982
Target area: Amharic and Afan Oromo: Ethiopia and the diaspora in east Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Weekly Audience: 5.2 million, or 8.6% of adult users
Radio Programming: Amharic - 9½ hours per week
In addition to SW, the service’s broadcasts are aired live and later repeated via Nilesat. The Monday through Friday half-hour Gabina VOA youth show is also available on Facebook Live.
Programs and Features
Amharic (seven days a week, from 1800 to 1900 UTC)
Call-In: A bi-weekly, 20-minute program featuring newsmakers and experts answering audience questions on a variety of topics of interest to Ethiopians.
Democracy in Action: A weekly feature on issues of democracy and governance, social and economic development, the rule of law and human rights.
Crossfire: A weekly program in which two guests offer differing views in a lively debate about issues that matter to Ethiopians.
Cultural Mosaic: A weekly program in which writers, artists, musicians and actors in Ethiopia and the diaspora discuss their lives and body of work.
Ethiopians in America: A weekly program that features interesting stories about Ethiopians living in diaspora communities throughout the United States.
Gabina VOA: a 30-minute, fast-paced Amharic-language radio show airing Monday through Friday at 1700 UTC, is meant for young people who comprise 70 percent of the population in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The program, explores a range of topics that impact the lives of young people in the region and gives them a forum for discussion and expressing their views. Among the range of topics: Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants, entrepreneurships, technology and innovation, local governance, health, music, and life in America. Gabina VOA is also re-broadcast on medium wave at 1600 UTC.
Afan Oromo (Monday – Friday, from 1730 to 1800 UTC)
Afan Oromo broadcasts regional and world news, as well as an array of features about democracy, health, development, agriculture, American stories and more. It also presents reports and interviews of special interest to Oromo populations in Ethiopia and the diaspora, including a popular weekly program, Did You Know This about Oromos?
Tigrigna (Monday – Friday, from 1900 to 1930 UTC)
VOA Tigrigna broadcasts news and features of particular interest to the Tigrigna-speaking listeners in northern Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea. In addition to presenting features on a full range of topics, Tigrigna also offers a popular weekly program called People to People, in which Tigrigna-speaking Ethiopians and Eritreans discuss issues of mutual interest or concern. Another program, Eritreans in America, looks at the lives of Eritreans living in the United States.