On Dec. 17, 2004, the State Department added al-Manar, the official television station of Hezbollah, to the Terrorism Exclusion List (TEL), effectively prohibiting it from broadcasting in the United States. While this action is welcome, it must be the beginning, not the end, of the effort to combat propaganda of a new and much more ominous sort.
I used to have this Thanksgiving Day ritual in New York: no matter what I was doing, or where I was going, I would find a way to be near a radio around 11:30 a.m., to tune in to WNEW-FM 102.7's broadcast of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," in its entirety, in all its musical and comedic glory.
Welcome to Radio Sawa, the brainchild of Norman J. Pattiz, founder and chairman of the biggest radio network in the United States. Since March of last year, Radio Sawa (which means together in Arabic) has been broadcasting in Arabic around the clock in the Middle East, targeting listeners under 30 years old, who make up 60 percent of the region's population.
Radio Sawa broadcasts a mix of Western and Arabic pop music, interspersed with news updates and analysis, interviews and opinion pieces. Potentially, millions of listeners can access Radio Sawa via AM, FM and shortwave frequencies, as well as on the Internet (www.radiosawa.com) and on digital radio satellite channels.
As founder and chair of Westwood One, the biggest radio network in the country, Norman J. Pattiz has an impact on what's carried over the airwaves in the United States and beyond. Now that he is a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, he has an even greater voice in international broadcasting.