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February 7 2000
Aden Radio Station:  Round the Clock Pretty Hard Work
Jamal Al-Awadhi,
Yemen Times
The first radio transmission in Yemen was from Aden during the World War II in 1940. The British Authority used it to broadcast news beamed to the Yemenis on the British military victories and the allied states over Germany and its allies. However, the transmission was so short that it did not exceed half an hour. The transmission continued like this till the end of the war and then it stopped till Aden radio station was opened in 1954.
Ever since, Aden radio station lived through the different stages in the life of the Yemeni people and expressed views of the successive authorities that came to power throughout that period. It was used as information medium for the colonization authority and governments of the then Southern Arab Union until the unification and the separation plot and after. 
Mr. Gamil Mohammed Ahmad came to hold the position of chairman of Aden station. He is a well-known eminent media personality who was coeval with different stages of development of Aden radio station. He has a working knowledge and great ambitions to improve conditions of Aden radio station. Jamal Al-Awadi of Yemen Times launched a field survey and paid a visit to the radio station where he filed the following interview with him:
Q: Will you brief us on the different stages that Aden radio station has passed through since its establishment?
A: We can say that Aden radio station has passed through three different stages; the first stage extended from August 7, 1954 to November 29, 1967. This is the period before the independence of the then Southern part of Yemen. This period represents certain independent characteristics the station has acquired as it was then a media organ of the colonialist authority and governments of the Southern Arab Union. We cannot, nevertheless, belittle the informative and enlightening role the Aden radio station played at this stage. The second stage was from November 30, 1967 to May 22nd, 1990, during which the radio station presented views and beliefs of the then Southern regime. The third stage started from the time of declaring the unity on May 22, 1990 during which Aden radio station acquired its new features and characteristics embodying one of the main media organizations based upon democracy and plurality.
Q: When the secession was declared on radio, what changes were made inside the station?
A: When the secession was announced from the station, the old name was re-used ” The station of The People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen”. During this period the radio expressed views and presented some programs that call for separation and disunity. Transmission period was extended to 18 hours daily. However, when the separatists were defeated on July 7, 1994, they destroyed the radio station in Haswah Al-Sha’ab town. The damage and losses had led to stop transmission outside the city of Aden. Besides, the radio station buildings Tawahi were plundered and destroyed by the separatists. However, by the sincerity and commitment of some workers and engineers and under directives given by the president the transmission was restored 2kw. On July 7, 1994 conditions to the radio administration were re-organized and Mr. Alawi Al-Saqqaf, who was advisor at the Ministry of Information, was assigned to supervise work in Aden radio as well as TV stations. I was assigned to carry out the duties of chairman of the radio station 2nd program besides my work in program managing. Mr Ahmed Fadaak was also appointed to hold the position of director-general of the news department of the station. In 1995, Mr. Abdul Ghani Al-Shamiri was assigned to hold the position of chairman of the branch of the General Establishment for Radio and TV in Aden. Ever since, Aden radio station has become one of the branches of the establishment. The the medium wave of the radio station was rebuilt and reconstructed with frequency of 750 kw and the other two medium waves with 200kw
beginning from 1989.
Q: How did the station play its role to strengthen the importance of Yemen as a unified country?
A: After the unification the radio station of Aden sought to accomplish the tasks set up for it as being major goals for the Yemeni State Establishment of Broadcasting and Television based on the Yemen republic constitution and information policy precepts of the unified state. Some of these goals were the following:
1)It should cement the idea of the national unity of the people and raise the public awareness to the importance of protecting it by means of working to overcome the consequences of economic, social, political, and media disunity.
2) It had to play effective role to muster popular support and interaction to carry out missions aimed at enhancing pillars of the unity by investing various radio programs to meet this goal.
3) One of the objectives was also to raise the public awareness of their great history, heritage and strenuous struggle of our ancestors to achieve this unity.
4)It had to work for deepening the supreme values and principles of democracy through encouraging the correct democratic practices in the society and uncovering the wrong acts.
5)Its role was also to seek the satisfaction of the people’s needs by keeping them informed on all political events and developments at local, Arab and international levels in an objective, practical way matching developments of the reality.
Q: In this era of tremendous development in communication and the revolution in information, what does the station broadcast to the people as it is considered to be the voice of the Free Zone and the commercial capital?
A: We hold great ambitions and hopes and entertain a good attention by the Ministry of Information represented by Mr. Abdul Rahman Al-Akwa’a. In this year we are going to conduct renovation of all the studios and offices of the radio station, besides improving news services, especially as Saba Agency has already computerized its news services. Regarding transmission the radio station of Aden, as mentioned above, had been destroyed entirely by the separatists however, from 1995 we could make progressive strides towards improving conditions and extending transmission starting from 2kw to 750kw, for now we are able to cover so many areas of Eastern Africa and the neighboring countries such as the Arab peninsula and the Gulf countries. We have also become in daily communication with Yemeni expatriots. We could also make another step to extend broadcasting by means of joining the transmission system to the Yemen Satellite Channel and as a result Aden radio station is now being heard through the two satellites; Arabsat and Intelsat. Therefore, we could gain support of different sections of the Arab recipients. There are new projects for the Ministry of Information and new steps to extend the transmission so that we could match the new technical developments in terms of using the digital system which has become the solution for many problems as well as overcoming obstacles used to facing the transmission.
Q: What are the outstanding subjects that Aden radio station focus on?
A: Aden radio station is distinguished for being interested in development and environment issues in its programs. It also focuses on daily social problems. In this regard we have allocated a good space in the programs agenda to live programs. This is considered actually as a bridge for communicating with the people both inside and outside Yemen.
Q: What did Aden radio station present during the month of Ramadhan?
A: Programs in this month were distinguished for being very intensified and different in a way that they met many of spiritual needs of the Yemeni listener from various segments and ages of the people. These programs were pertaining to culture, entertainment, history, religion, etc. They were much applauded by the people. One of these successful programs is ” Evening On Air” in which we used to host a singer from different governorates of the Republic. The program also focused on some singers who were not given much attention. This has actually given singers a push and inspired them with some hopes after the state of stagnation that has dominated the literary area. Therefore, whenever we accomplish something we aspire for more and more. The objective we are always seeking is the people’s satisfaction and if we achieve that we reach the high point of our satisfaction.
Q: What are the programs on your station new plan?
A: We are getting ready for the new plan of programs which lasts for four months, from May to August, 2000. In this plan we coincide to have our unity festivals, that is the tenth anniversary of the unity and the sixth anniversary of re-strengthening the unity on July 7, 1994. We are creating some programs that will be presented in these festivals. We wish that we would be given the support from the Ministry of Information and the General Yemeni Establishment for Radio and TV. We also pin great hopes on that Aden radio station for 2000 will be given all the facilities needed to change it to a forum that will meet all interests of the listeners of different cultures. To achieve such an aim, we have well qualified staff both in the English as well as French languages. Hence, it is of crucial importance that we make others aware of our deep- rooted civilization and great heritage.