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Radio Free Kyrgyzstan
Emily Gertz, 19 Feb 05

In the west, we've gotten blasé about radio programming on the web, but in the Central Asian Kyrgyz Republic, the web has become key to bolstering radio broadcasting. Tenir Too, an independent radio station in the southern city of Naryn, is getting national and international news from the web, and keeping the local kids hooked on the latest Russian pop:

Tenir-too began to adapt its programming to the information they received online, using the web as a source of news.

It has also been able to attract more young listeners, by downloading Russian pop music from the net.

It has meant that the youth of this rural Kyrgyz city can now catch up with the latest hits just days or even hours behind the rest of the country.

With better programming comes more paid advertisers, which the station is investing in a dedicated internet connection.

The southern Kyrgyz city is isolated amidst the Tien Shen Mountains, which block most television signals. Before a net connection was established in the city (thanks to funding by the U.S. State Department's Internet Access and Training Program), it took at least a week to get domestic news from the capital city, Bishkek; international news was even more scarce.

The Kyrgyz Republic was dubbed "an island of democracy" in Central Asia in the 1990's, but since then open society has suffered setbacks, including the contraction of the state legislature to one chamber in 2003. Vital independent media are important to the country's continued democratic evolution.

(via the BBC)

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