VOA's Kurdish service is the only international broadcaster that speaks to the Kurds of Iraq in their main dialects, Sorani and Kurmanji. The service, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week, also attracts a significant audience in Syria, Turkey and Iran, all with sizable Kurdish minorities.
VOA Director David Ensor, who recently introduced TV/radio simulcasts in Pakistan and Burma, says putting the Kurdish program on satellite makes sense. "VOA has a solid news team that is already broadcasting on radio to areas where direct-to-home satellite use is growing. By simply putting cameras in the studio, we can offer the satellite audience an additional way to hear and see our programs," Ensor says.
The Kurdish satellite broadcasts go on the air daily at 5:00 PM Iraq time and are simulcast on radio and Hotbird, one of the most widely-used direct-to-home satellites in the region. VOA Kurdish radio programs are also delivered on shortwave, FM transmitters in northern and southern Iraq, and broadcast over medium wave from Kuwait.
VOA's Kurdish program lineup includes news and current affairs shows, a weekly call-in show as well as the bi-weekly Internet television program called, Kurdish Connection. The Service's multimedia websites, with successful blogs in both major Kurdish dialects, provide comprehensive coverage of regional, international and U.S. news and links to social media sites that offer the audience a platform for informed discussion.