Sunday, February 11, 2007

Voice of Russia and BBC to share FM frequency in Moscow

The Russian newspaper RBC Daily reports that the BBC Russian service and the Voice of Russia will jointly launch a new FM station in Moscow on 99.6 MHz. The project has the working title “The Big Radio” and test transmissions are due to start next month. The station will broadcast some locally produced material as well as carrying programming of the BBC Russian Service and the Voice of Russia’s service for expatriates.

The General Director of “The Big Radio” is Alexander Musalkin, who explains that the project is an attempt at dialogue between the two countries, and also gives the BBC the opportunity to return to the air on FM in Moscow. Earlier, the BBC had a cooperation agreement with private broadcaster Radio Arsenal, but in November that station ended its cooperation.

Industry experts are skeptical about the future of the project. The head of the Internews in Moscow, Ilya Kirija, draws attention to the highly competitive nature of “colloquial” radio in Moscow. And editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov points out the differences in concept of Russian and British broadcasting to foreign countries, and regards the sharing of of a frequency by the two radio stations as “a strange alliance”.
(Source: Lenta via Pavel Mikhaylov, Russian DX League and Kai Ludwig/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)