Radio Meraj broadcasting to 2 million people
Radio Meraj has been in operation for over a year and is now reaching over two million listeners. In 2016, Radio Meraj won the national award from NAI-Support Open Media in Afghanistan. Being the top media outlet, Radio Meraj won best guest speaker category for the whole country. Radio Meraj is one of the best news channels in Afghanistan. Based on the Cochran formula, a survey conducted in May, 400 people were interviewed and results show that 90.3% of the people listened to Radio Meraj. 62.4% listened to Meraj for 1-2 hours a day, 19.1% listened for 3-4 hours and 8.8% listened for 7-8 hours a day. If this is applied to the entire population of Herat City of 3 million (covering two of the 8 districts that Radio Meraj broadcasts to), then estimates would say that the station reaches approximately 2.7 million people on a daily basis!
The main purpose of Radio Meraj’s programs is to develop and improve the minds and change the behaviors of the community, especially the women. Sharing with society their rights as an individual person, encouraging them to participate in elections, freedom, and rights of living in society is what Radio Meraj sets out to accomplish. The programs invite experts, university teachers, lawyers, activists both male and female so that they share their ideas with the audiences. Currently, there is a program by the name of (Treasure) which emphasizes the rights of women, peace, human rights and the behaviors of people.
Radio Meraj currently has fifteen programs, with at least five programs running daily. The following is a list of some the programs currently on air:
Morning Messenger: Guests and experts talk about different social and educational issues relevant in society.
Brief News of the Morning: Broadcasting news from around the world, particularly new happenings in Afghanistan. Residents in the area share informative happenings that allow reporters to go about searching and providing feedback.
At Home: Social programs that focus on either social or family issues. Allows listeners to call in and ask different questions.
The Daily News: programs shares daily breaking news.
The Voice of Meraj: This program is the voice of the people to the government and officials. Listeners are given the opportunity to call in and share their concerns and problems that relate to injustice in the government.
Poetry Program: Cultural and educational programs that discuss the lives of different poets and invites poets of the city to share their poetry on the air.
Respect to be Respected: This program conveys the message how to be a significant member of society. What is the path one should take in life to be successful. Guests speak of their view of the key to success and the circumstances that led to their path. Listeners have the opportunity to call in and ask questions.
A major part of our programs is to enlighten public minds and public opinion of Radio Meraj listeners, especially with these programs that are specifically designed to help women to take an active role in society and look after their families. To be given the knowledge to plan and manage and develop self-expression in society. There are also programs directed toward developments of the youth. Striving to ensure they are on the path to a successful future. Radio Meraj had a special program in relation to International Day against Drug to motivate youths not to use drugs and not to destroy their future through substance abuse. Expanding their knowledge and create interest and awareness in learning to become active in the progress of the country is essential.
An adolescent listener named Morsal from Shakiban Village of Zendejan District said, “I have three younger siblings in my family. They lacked interest in school and as a direct result received low grade markings. My older brother and I tried to help them but the end result was fruitless. I began to have them listen to Radio Meraj. While listening to the teenager’s program they become interested in studying and academics. Now they spend two or more hours in doing their homework and even reading in their spare time. I owe this to Meraj and only wish future success.”
The popularity of Radio Meraj has expanded to the government level. The station has a well-established ongoing rapport with government offices that keep the radio station informed of necessary news and reports. While the influence and effectiveness of programs takes time to develop its reach will be visible over time. Consistently changing and adapting the programs to the requests and suggestions of the listeners needs is at the forefront of the station strategy and ensures the continued success of Radio Meraj.