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U.S. to crank up Radio Free Kosovo

April 8, 1999
Web posted at: 11:18 p.m. EDT (0318 GMT)

In this story:

Ring-around-Serbia harder to jam

Information superhighway into Yugoslavia


From CNN Field Producer Paul Courson

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is building a ring of transmitters around Serbia to provide what it calls "factual" information about the conflict with Yugoslav President .

The first transmission is set to air Thursday night.

The chain of as many as six transmitters to be placed on the higher mountain ridges surrounding the region will use FM channels, designed to take advantage of a type of portable radio receiver known to be popular with people throughout the Serbia and its Kosovo province.

Marc Nathanson, chairman of the government's Broadcasting Board of Governors, told reporters Thursday that information coming from the Milosevic government is "purely biased and not factual about what is going on."

He cited one broadcast monitored in the region which suggested refugees are fleeing Kosovo to escape NATO bombings.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is becoming an independent agency under a reorganization involving the U.S. Information Agency and the State Department. Nathanson, a presidential appointee, oversees all non-military broadcasts originated by the federal government.

Ring-around-Serbia harder to jam

George Woodard, the director of engineering at the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, acknowledged that FM signals are easier to jam than traditional short-wave and medium wave (AM band) broadcasts.

But he told CNN in an interview that having a chain of FM transmitters distributed around the target area will help minimize vulnerability to any effort by Serb troops to block the signals.

Before the crisis in Kosovo began, Nathanson said audience surveys suggested 52 percent of the people in Serbia were getting their news from FM radio.

Nathanson said that with Thursday's inaugural broadcast, the United States also is starting around-the-clock Serbian programming. The material will be written and performed by staff and freelancers serving Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America.

Information superhighway into Yugoslavia

Those two services have primarily been using short-wave, medium-wave and Internet outlets for a few hours of Serbian-oriented programming daily. Officials said a counter on the Internet "page" has recorded tens of thousands of "hits" since the crisis began.

The software suggests people are downloading both text and audio files, possibly for wider, clandestine distribution beyond people with working phone lines and access to the Internet.

NATO strikes target Serb ground forces, complicate GI release efforts
April 8, 1999
Germany-bound refugees dream of returning to Kosovo
April 8, 1999
Britain accuses Serbs of preventing Kosovars' escapes
April 8, 1999
Cypriot envoy has little time to secure U.S. soldiers' release
April 8, 1999
Incoming Kosovo refugees, outgoing U.S. donations
April 7, 1999
Yugoslavian borders closed, refugees' fate 'alarming'
April 7, 1999

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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