All we hear is Radio Dirco

2012-05-26 17:49

It is often blamed for quiet diplomacy, but the Department of International Relations and Co-operation will soon have its own radio station to broadcast South Africa’s foreign policy to the world.

Radio Dirco, as the station is provisionally called, is set to launch in September.

It is modelled on the Voice of America (VOA), which is funded by the US State Department.

But Radio Dirco will be the budget version of the VOA model, with no full-time paid staff and no licensing fees, because it will be broadcast over the internet.

The “all talk” station will be based in the Dirco headquarters at the OR Tambo building in Pretoria, where a fully-equipped radio studio has already been built on the top floor.

It will be run by Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela, a former SABC journalist who was also a show host for Limpopo-based Capricorn FM.

Dirco officials have been asked to undergo voice training, as the shows will be hosted by in-house officials.
Monyela says the station will cover various aspects of foreign policy.

Journalists and analysts will be invited to discuss the news of the day as it relates to international issues, he says.

People will be able to call in and have their say, too.

Senior Dirco officials will have regular slots where they will be expected to explain and popularise foreign policy.

Radio Dirco will be funded by sponsorships and advertising.

Its main audience will be South African missions all over the world – so that South African diplomats can keep up to date with decisions taken at the headquarters, much like the former struggle station Radio Freedom, which was run from Lusaka by the ANC in exile.

Dirco’s communications unit was heavily criticised following the crisis in Libya and is under pressure to improve the country’s image following these controversies.

The radio station hopes to initially attract 10 000 listeners, Monyela said.

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