93.6 Ram FM takes to the air in the Middle East - in Ramallah and Jerusalem - in English, thanks to South African backing.
If anyone should know about creating peace in a potentially explosive situation, it is the South Africans.
Johannesburg entrepreneur Issie Kirsh of Primedia has launched a state-of-the-art FM radio station broadcasting 24 hours a day in English to audiences across Israel and Palestine in an attempt to get people in the Middle East talking to each other. “There is a need for a daily debate on the issues affecting both Israelis and Palestinians,” he says, “and this is the driving force behind 93.6 Ram FM. We are doing it in English, which will also soon open the broadcasts to international listeners via satellite."
93.6 RAM FM has studios in Ramallah and Jerusalem
93.6 Ram FM is licensed by the Palestinian Authority, with digital studios in Ramallah and Jerusalem.
Its 24-hour line-up includes interviews with high-profile newsmakers and audience phone-ins. The new service is based closely on the South African 702 Talk Radio format which set the pace for public debate on air during the volatile decade leading up to South Africa’s 1994 democratic elections.
John Berks, legendary 702 deejay hosts the morning show on 93.6 Ram FM
Legendary 702 deejay John Berks hosts his Breakfast show from the Jerusalem studio. He compares his new audience to the one he knew in South Africa when Nelson Mandela walked free and the world tuned in to witness the momentous social changes taking place.
Berks sees 93.6 Ram FM covering a similar transformation in its own communities. “That same global interest is now focused on the Middle East,” he says. “I'm neither Israeli nor Palestinian but I feel that same buzz in the street. The people know what they want to talk about and my job is to deliver what the audience wants.”
Other daytime presenters are award-winners from Australia and Europe, with hand-picked Israeli and Palestinian newcomers hosting shows from the Jerusalem and Ramallah studios.