Friday, June 11, 2004

Betcha Saddam didn't like talk radio 

But they have it now in Iraq.
From a modest family house somewhere in a western Baghdad suburb, Radio Dijla is fighting crime, saving lives, and treating the emotional traumas of lovesick teenagers.

Unthinkable during the Saddam era, this is Iraq's first talk radio station. It is only a small commercial channel that has sprung up in the maelstrom of the capital, but has already struck a chord with residents.

Up to 18,000 callers a day try to contact the station - it only answers a fraction of that number - and it has become Baghdad's favourite.

Topics include "the price of vegetables, Baghdad's traffic police and the fickleness of boys." The authorities listen, including electricity officials monitoring whether service is reaching all the suburbs.

Saddam probably also wouldn't like the Northern Alliance Radio Network, where tomorrow we'll have Steven Hayward back to talk about his Age of Reagan. We enjoyed him last time discussing his work on Carter, and I'm looking forward to finding out what Reagan's economics education at Eureka College was like, and whether or not boys were fickled there, too.