About Al-Balad Radio/AmmanNet
In the fall of 2000, using the opportunities that the internet provided, award winning Arab journalist Daoud Kuttab launched the Arab world’s first internet radio. With funding from the Open Society Institute and UNESCO, the Director of UNESCO’s Amman office, Martin Hadlow and Nidal Al-Hadid, mayor of Amman, launched on November 15th, 2000 the new web-based station. AmmanNet began its first year under the patronage of UNESCO and the Greater Amman Municipality. AmmanNet began producing audio reports, news bulletins and a variety of programming all of which were posted on the Net. Rebroadcasts of the programs (especially from nearby Palestinian stations) were pursued so as to create a terrestrial home for all the audio content that was being posted on the internet. Large sectors of Jordanian society would thus have the opportunity to hear and follow radio programming created in their own country but being broadcast with the help of the internet.
AmmanNet (the Voice of the Community) as its sub heading stated has in reality become the voice of the community. It began broadcasting terrestrially on 92.4 FM in the Amman metropolitan area in the summer of 2005. According to the license, the content included general programming excluding politics and news. But in September of the same year, it became the first independent radio station to broadcast news.
Community Media Network
Early in January 2008, the name of AmmanNet radio was changed to Al-Balad radio; AmmanNet.net remained as a news website. The radio and the site are managed by the Community Media Network (CMN), which is a not-for profit organization, registered in March 19th, 2007 under number (156) with the goal to manage media and cultural projects throughout the Kingdom. CMN has a Board of Directors that supervises the radio and website. The current members of the board are Elias Farkouh, chairman, Rana Sabbagh, Salam Madanat and Mahmoud Zawawi, members. CMN has a branch in Palestine, registered under the name of PenMedia that produces the Palestinian Sesame Street program.
Key Staff of CMN
General Manager: Daoud Kuttab, firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial/Administrative Manager: Hussein Hindi
Managing Editor: Mohammad Ersan, email@example.com
AmmanNet Website Manager: Mohammad Fdilat, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sesame Project Manager: Layla Sayegh, email@example.com
Community radios are a successful means of stimulating the development of communication between citizens and the community with the aim to raise the level of cooperation within the same society. They rely on the principle of voluntary work, public service and focus on the area of concern in the local community. Although the Arab world lacks community radios, they had attracted the attention of the social and community development activists. We dedicate our website and airwaves to fill this need.
Al-Balad radio provides a panorama of programs starting with the review of the daily press to the morning show “tallet subuh”, sports review, the musical program “Fi Al-bal Ughniya” (song in mind), “street talk”, “haqi” (legal awareness), “school radio”, “youth on FM”, “techno life”, “sawa mniqdar” (young people achievements), “eye on the media” and the economic program “made in Jordan”.
AmmanNet # 1 News Website in Jordan
Our internet coverage www.ammannet.net has made us a leading source of information and interactivity with Jordanians in and outside the country and has raised our standing as the leading Jordanian visited web site according to the international standings. A research sponsored by the Washington-based IREX showed that AmmanNet website came as the # 1 local news website in Jordan in 2008.
About twenty-five staff members are working as journalists, administrators, technicians and project-managers in addition to dozens of volunteers. The radio opened its website (www.ammannet.net) to its employees to establish their own blogs.
A group of listeners took the initiative and founded in 2006 the Club of Listeners in cooperation with the radio administration. The club has an administrative body headed by Mohammad Abu Safiya and meets periodically and supports the radio station.
Summary of “Al-Balad Radio” Programs
Al-Balad radio broadcasts detailed local news bulletins at one thirty and five thirty pm, to monitor the latest local news reports and live interviews in addition to providing local news flashes every half hour throughout the day.
Tallet Subuh (a morning visit)
A morning all-purpose program that discusses issues of concern to the general public through daily field interviews, live interviews, and call-ins. The program includes a reading of the most important news in the local press and a review of a number of important articles.
Annashra Arriadia (Sport News)
A morning sports program that includes a presentation of the latest local, Arab and international sports news.
Ain al E’lam (Eye on the Media)
A critical look at the media scene in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Palestine; the program, which is broadcast and distributed to local editors, attempts to critique the level of adherence of journalists to media ethics and guidelines.
Haqi (my right)
A legal awareness program servicing the public and giving free advice to the queries of the citizens.
Nas Wa Nas (People and People)
It discusses social issues within the Jordanian society with a documentary report on the discussed case.
Techno Hayat (Techno life)
A science program specialized in the technology, environment and health sectors and hosts specialists in the field of information technology.
Kuluna Zay Ba’dh (We all are alike)
It deals with issues for people with special needs.
Huwa Hizbee (Political Parties)
A program focusing on political parties and legislation through hosting representatives of political parties.
A program focusing on different issues in the northern, middle and southern valleys in Jordan, it gives the citizens of these areas the opportunity to talk about their problems and discusses agriculture problems that young Jordanians face and women’s pioneer achievements.
Nissa’ Attaghyeer (Women under change)
A program focusing on the challenges and conditions of working women, and on the methods that help them to cope with in order to improve their working conditions.
An interactive talk show with the audience round the clock that discusses social and political issues dealt with in the Jordanian arena.
A musical program highlighting the most important British artists and music in addition to the most important artists of alternative music in Jordan.
Hiwar Watani (National Dialog)
The program focuses on issues and strategies for political and economic reform in Jordan, seeking to host political figures from all directions. It is supported by the Swiss Embassy in Amman and by Identity Center for Empowering Local Community.
Siyyara FM (FM car)
Program on issues of public transport and concerns of drivers.
Zahret Al-Aghwar (Jordan Valley)
A specialized program on women’s issues in the Jordan Valley, conveying their views of economic and social problems facing women in their communities and transmitting their voices to officials while giving them the opportunity to express their opinions.
Al-Balad radio creates a grid of variety of programs for every Ramadan with contests and concerts; the most popular one was, the “hidden mic”; the program creates a comical situation with an owner of a company or an ordinary citizen without knowing that what he says is recorded by a hidden microphone.
Citizens were successfully helped by Al-Balad radio
Over the course of several years, the program “Tallet Sabah” was successfully able to accomplish many objectives concerning citizens’ request that involve pending cases by allowing the voices of citizens to reach government officials, in order to find concluding solutions. Among these cases were:
Activities and Achievements: 2000-2010
From the news perspective you can hear, every hour, headline news and twice a day, the full newscasts (at the half hours). We focus almost entirely on local news in an independent and balanced manner. The 30-minute full newscasts at 1:30 and 5:30 pm provide listeners with in-depth look at the most important local issues. Live interviews with experts and officials are supported by feature reports and the latest reaction of the Jordanian street on the most important events of the day.
Our live broadcasts cover the most important topics of interest to Jordanians; from the session of the Jordanian parliament we are the first independent radio in the Arab world to broadcast live and unedited gavel-to-gavel coverage to the most important football games. We provide play-by-play of matches of Jordan’s national team as well the games of the leading clubs. Our live coverage also includes important social, artistic and cultural issues as well as live shows during holidays like Eid al Adha, Eid al Fitr, Christmas and New Year.
Al-Balad radio has also become a leading training center with journalists from Jordan and others from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, Palestine and Lebanon coming to participate in workshops about online broadcasting.
In September 2004, Al-Balad radio carried out a workshop for journalists from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. The results were fantastic. A web site was created specifically for the project and the participants were able in the short time to write, record, edit and upload their own reports. Part of the recommendations of the participants was that this kind of workshop be repeated because of the huge hunger for the tools that can make online reporting easier especially in countries that have restrictive media laws. Jordanian government spokeswoman Asma Khader and UNESCO officials in Amman attended the graduation of the workshop and were impressed with the results calling for more workshops that enable Arab journalists to use the Net for online reporting both in text and audio.
Contributing in the launch of the Jordanian Community Radio Association
With the active participation of Al-Balad radio, the Jordanian community radios association was launched under the chairmanship of Basem Tweisi, general director of New Ma’an radio station, at Al-Balad headquarter in October 2009. The association includes five Jordanian community radio stations: Yarmouk FM, New Ma’an radio, Karak radio, Farah Annas radio and Al-Balad radio.
Establishing the Jordanian News Network (JNN)
The Jordanian News Network emerged from the belief that community radios should compete for community services; its relationship with other radios should be collaborative. It relies on the existence of a body that contains community radios and works to strengthen their presence and provide them with various services, even at the level of press and broadcast training. It gives the greatest attention to the most important governorates and to those with many problems and focus on rural and remote areas.
The syndicate’s members agreed to new network services through an agreement with the German International radio Deutsche Welle starting January 1, 2010.
Voice of Al-Aghwar
The idea of this project was initiated during the ninth global conference of AMARC, held in Amman in 2006 organized by Al-Balad radio (previously AmmanNet). Based on advice from Jordanian civil society activists, a number of AMARC delegates
visited the Jordan valley, conducted a workshop and helped train
Jordanian women. They also helped raise the needed funds to
start a small radio station. After the Jordanian government refused to license the community radio in the Jordan Valley, two women who joined the training started to produce Al-Aghwar Voice program and broadcast it on Al-Balad radio and then it was rebroadcast on Bethlehem 2000 radio station and Al-Qamar radio from Jericho (which can be heard in the Jordan Valley area).
Human Rights Documentaries
A series of human rights radio programs prepared by a group of skilled journalists dealing with many legal issues concerning the lives of the citizens in the capital Amman and the governorates of the Kingdom such as the rehabilitation centers, women’s issues, disabled persons, teenagers, shelter, children, poverty, education, water, food and health issues.
It also monitors the violations against citizens by helping connect between the victims and the civil society officials and representatives.
“Kharej Alsirb” (Outside the flock) Project
This is a radio program specializing in dealing with cases involving young Jordanian women. The 24 episodes were centered on the freedoms of Jordanian women, such as tackling for the first time issues considered social taboos for many years. Field reports were conducted and dealt with gender discrimination at work.
East Amman Youth Project
Al-Balad radio launched with the collaboration of the Arab Foundation for Sustainable Development, Ruwwad, one of Aramex institutions, in November 2010, a radio program for the youth of East Amman. This program is aimed at discussing a series of issues relevant to the youth such as citizenship and youth in the media.
The university students, representing “Musaab Khorma grant” took an intensive three months training course on the production of radio programs.
KARAMA Human Rights Film Festival
The first Human Rights Film Festival, was held in Amman from the 5th to the 10th of December 2010.
The festival aims to raise awareness and create debate on critical worldwide human rights issues. Through numerous film and documentary screenings, public talks and discussions, and other cultural activities, the festival aims to bring to light issues of human rights and human dignity to as wide an audience as possible, targeting the general public, school and university students, and community centers around the country.
Karama is organized in collaboration between the Community Media Network and Al Ma3mal 612, and in partnership with the National Centre for Human Rights.
For more info: www.karamafestival.org
2006 World Cup on Al-Balad Radio
The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany had been awaited for by millions of people throughout the world. In Jordan, the games drew big attraction with two Arab countries (Tunisia and Saudi Arabia) as well as favorite countries to Arab soccer fans like Brazil, Germany, Italy and France.
Al-Balad radio, the Arab world’s first internet radio station and winner of the Gold Medal Award as well as the leading FM radio station in the capital Amman, decided to buy the radio rights and broadcast the entire world cup live on its radio station along with a series of programs and updated world cup news broadcasts. The absence of any terrestrial TV station carrying the games forced Jordanians to search satellite frequencies to find the games. When they finally found a Turkish and a Swedish broadcast, many put their TV on mute and for their audio play in Arabic, they turned on Al-Balad radio, thus boosting our radio audience.
Sports fans in Amman have been following their favorite teams on Al-Balad radio ever since our station has dedicated a daily 15 minute sports program as well and a weekly courageous radio program Manal and Sports dialogue. Al-Balad radio’s recent FM broadcasts (since September 2005) have also included live broadcasts of the major local teams as well as the major matches of Jordan’s national team.
Voice of the World Cup 2010 on Al-Balad Radio
During the period from June 6th until July 11th, 2010 Al-balad radio presented a special and exceptional coverage for the “South Africa World Cup 2010″ through live transmission and comments through its program the “Voice of the World Cup”, in order to provide radio coverage to the largest possible segment of listeners and to those who cannot afford to watch the games on TV.
The program was widely received among the Jordanian public who interacted with it through phone calls, sharing their expectations and winning prizes; the broadcast included analysis concerning of coaches, players, media and critics involved in the World Cup.
Community Media Network Websites
The idea of splitting the AmmanNet website came from the fact that it reached enough maturity to be divided into separate and self sufficient sites holding its own independent identity. These news sites are:
In this website, there is a report that monitors the content of traditional media and talks about radio, television, newspapers and the internet. It presents the variety of views of media, editors, reporters and writers and the views of citizens and the “public” new media activists such as bloggers and online social networks.
The site offers the latest news on media in Jordan, in addition to a section on media opinion that displays all the views of columnists and bloggers in media issues.
This site created a section entitled “Portrait” for prominent media personalities with a controversial impact on the media scene of Jordan, and another section to encourage the good media production and praise good business owners as well as a section for the best news report in a week.
The site provides a free service to media organizations to advertise their job vacancies under a section called “Jobs” that contains CVs for job seekers.
The radio broadcast was restarted thanks to an initiative by the Parliament to broadcast the sessions on the internet. Al-Balad radio was able to pick up the internet signal and broadcast it on the air, giving the Jordanian public the chance to hear what their elected representatives had to say.
Research by CMN on Parliament Activities
Community Media Network conducted an informal research about the Parliament’s performance during the 18th session of the 15th parliament and its result was published on AmmanNet website. The research was carried out manually and it covered the presence of the MPs and their interventions. The news of the research gained extensive coverage by local newspapers and BBC radio.
Al-Balad Radio knowledge transfer
Based on the request of many to benefit from the experience of AmmanNet, we organized a series of workshops on online broadcasting. The workshops included practical journalistic and online training as well as basic radio training and visits to AmmanNet and contributions by AmmanNet director and staff. Each of the trainees left AmmanNet with an open source software that would allow them to set up their own internet radio.
Young journalists from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia as well as Yemen and the GCC countries participated in different workshops. To support the GCC and Yemen candidates, we organized a separate project aimed at setting up nine online radio stations and helping candidates from these countries develop the content and upload it while we provided them with initial technical support.
Other workshops organized by Al-Balad radio included the following:
Community projects initiated by Al-Balad radio
* Created, in cooperation with UNESCO, five freedom of expression PSAs which were broadcast on most Arab TV stations.
* Organized the Amman leg of two televised town hall meetings for the program Chat the Planet.
* Organized a youth video exchange and video conference between Amman and San Francisco High school students which was broadcast on Link TV.
* Established a local transcription service for the weekly press conference of the Spokeswoman of the Jordanian government.
* Organized three election debates in 2003 in Amman dealing with local political and social issues, and a debate by women candidates.
* Set up, at the request of UNESCO, a web site dealing with the Iraqi constitution and welcoming open dialogue online about the various drafts.
* Participated in the 16 day campaign for women’s rights in December 2006
Al-Balad radio in support of independent Arab media
The Washington-based IREX Institute won a three year competitive grant aimed at improving media in the Arab world. AmmanNet’s portion of the grant includes coordinating a yearly fellowship to the US for mid-career journalists and supervising the distribution of ten grants to Arab documentary makers totally $150,000 annually. On the first of October 2006, twelve journalists from Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia traveled to Chicago’s North Western University for four weeks class based courses to be followed by six weeks of internship in a major US media outlet. Also 5 journalists from Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have been chosen to receive grants to produce documentary films on controversial Arab social issues.
AmmanNet wins Gold Medal from Pan Arab Media Awards
AmmanNet, the Arab world’s first internet radio station, won the gold medal at the 2006 Pan Arab Media Awards. The ceremony, in its second year was held at the Hayat Regency Hotel in Amman, Thursday April 28. The first award ceremony was held in Dubai.
The Beirut registered Award is supported by the Arab League. The award aims to “promote the innovative spirit of web designers to meet professional and international standards, to promote intellectual and production opportunities.”
Daoud Kuttab, founder of Al-Balad radio, hailed the prize as a recognition by the Arab world that the Net can be a strategic instrument to bypass traditional roadblocks to independent media in general and independent radio in particular.
Al-Balad Radio Training Courses
Community Media Network organized a number of training courses on local and Arabic levels such as:
Our News in the Media
The court of Appeal acquitted Al-Balad radio of the charge of abuse of the House of Representatives charged by the Audiovisual Commission. This verdict was a victory for the freedom of press in Jordan assuring that the judiciary is the main media protector.
A blog on the city of Amman won a contest on video blogs: AmmanNet website with the collaboration of IREX organized a contest on video blogs. A blog on the city of Amman, presented by Maisam Saleh won the first prize. She was invited to participate at the bloggers conference in Amsterdam.
Al-Balad radio staff awarded best investigative report: HRH Princess Basma honored journalist Hadeel Albis for earning the award of best investigative report entitled “Al-Baqaa . . . between rapid growth and cruel living conditions” during the local journalism competition.
Community Media Network established a branch in Palestine called PENmedia specialized in producing TV programs for children. A branch in Ramallah was opened. Our branch signed a contract to produce 52 TV episodes for the Palestinian Share’ Simsim program.
The project has achieved tangible success, prompting Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad to inaugurate the studios along with the Minister of Education, Lamees Al-Alami, and Gary Knill, CEO of Sesame. The visit was publicized by newspapers around the world such as New York Times, Washington Post, BBC TV Arabic, CNN and Reuters, as well as Al-Quds and Al-Ayyam newspapers.
Citizen Journalism with Al-Balad Radio: Car FM and Listeners’ Club
The program “Car FM” focuses on the public drivers and has received a large fan of citizens through broadcasting weekly and boldly issues concerning public transportation and through its presence with the drivers in the transportation parking lot, and with citizens in the streets; this program brought many advertisers seeking professional programs, such as the “Toyota” company, the official sponsor of the program, which sought to promote traffic awareness to public and private drivers through the “car FM” program.
Cooperation Agreement between the “Yarmouk University” and Al-Balad Radio in November 2008
A joint cooperation agreement was signed between Yarmouk University and Al-Balad radio in order to train a number of students from the faculty of Mass Communication on radio broadcasting skills as well as training radio Yarmouk FM personnel on the radio mechanism.