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 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 audiences tune in to the radio programs via shortwave, satellite, and medium wave, in addition to digital and mobile platforms. The 60-minute 1800 UTC Amharic radio program can also be heard live on FM via VOA’s Ahadu Radio affiliate in Ethiopia. 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 2018 survey commissioned by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, VOA is the leading international broadcaster in Ethiopia with a weekly audience of more than seven million adults, with the largest audience among those aged 15 to 34 years. The survey results also indicate that ninety-eight percent of those surveyed said they “trust VOA’s news and information.”
Established: Amharic, September 1982
Target area: Amharic and Afan Oromo: Ethiopia and the diaspora in east Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Weekly Audience: 7.5 million, or 12.3% 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 Eutelsat. The Monday through Friday half-hour Gabina VOA youth show is also available on mw and Facebook Live. From 1800-1900 UTC (Mon.-Fri.), VOA Amharic airs on Ahadu Radio 94.3 FM in Ethiopia.
Programs and Features
Amharic (seven days a week, from 1800 to 1900 UTC)
Call-In: A bi-weekly (Saturday), 20-minute program featuring newsmakers and experts answering audience questions on topics of interest to Ethiopians.
Democracy in Action: A weekly (Wednesday) seven-minute feature on issues of democracy and governance, social and economic development, the rule of law and human rights.
Crossfire: A weekly (Friday) seven-minute program in which two guests offer differing views in a lively debate about issues that matter to Ethiopians.
Cultural Mosaic: A weekly (Thursday) seven-minute 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 (Wednesday) seven-minute program that features stories about Ethiopians living in U.S. diaspora communities.
Gabina VOA: a 30-minute, fast-paced radio show aimed at young people in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The program, which airs Monday through Friday at 1700 UTC, along with recap programs on Saturdays and Sundays, 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: migrants, health, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, local governance, music, and life in America. Gabina VOA is also re-broadcast on medium wave at 1500 UTC and 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 eight-minute weekly (Tuesday) program, Did You Know This about Oromos?
Tigrigna (Monday – Friday, from 1900 to 1930 UTC)
VOA Tigrigna airs news and features of particular interest to the Tigrigna-speaking listeners in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. In addition to presenting features on a full range of topics, Tigrigna also offers a popular weekly (Wednesday) 10-minute program called People to People, in which Tigrigna-speaking Ethiopians and Eritreans discuss issues of mutual interest or concern. Other programs include the bi-weekly (Tuesday) seven-minute Eritreans in America, which looks at the lives of Eritreans living in the United States and the bi-weekly (Tuesday) seven-minute Life in America feature.