KCSB 91.9 FM is broadcasting international news channel Al Jazeera English twice a week this quarter to expand its current program.
The university’s radio station will relay the 24-hour coverage on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. AJE features live reporting, documentaries, debates and analysis of international events.
According to KCSB Development Coordinator Theodore Coe, KCSB is one of the few radio syndicates in the country transmitting AJE’s global content.
“There are not a lot of stations in the U.S. broadcasting Al Jazeera,” Coe said. “Most stations broadcast BBC or something like that because they are more readily available.”
Coe said KCSB’s new schedule will provide more in-depth coverage of current international events.
“After all the social upheaval in the Middle East, a lot of people in the West were looking to Al Jazeera for a better perspective,” Coe said.
Al Jazeera English started in 2006 as part of the larger Al Jazeera news channel and has garnered praise for its coverage of recent political uprisings throughout the Middle East.
KCSB Staff Adviser Elizabeth Robinson said the network offers a wide range of viewpoints often overlooked by western media.
“What we want is a good international perspective,” Robinson said. “Most U.S. [media] and even most news outlets in general have been cut so dramatically that there are fewer people on the ground. You have someone in Nairobi, for example, doing coverage on events in Nigeria over 3,000 miles away. But Al Jazeera has a lot of people on the ground all over the world.”
Additionally, the organization’s location in the Middle East allows greater insight on regional issues, Robinson said.
“When all of the revolutions started breaking out in the Middle East, people from Europe and the U.S. and all over the world went to that area,” Robinson said. “But none were as expert on the area as those who had been living there and reporting for the Al Jazeera network for years.”
Third-year psychology major Erin Embrey said she is excited about the station’s program expansion.
“It makes me proud to be a UCSB student because we know about the world around us more than others may get a chance to,” Embrey said. “My father listens to Al Jazeera so I’m familiar with it. It’s good to know that at least someone on campus is informed or can become informed about world issues from a new perspective.”
Robinson said she encourages students to tune in and give feedback on the new programming.
“It’s too soon to tell what peoples’ reactions are,” Robinson said. “We’ve only broadcast it four times, but we want people to let us know what they think about it.”
Visit www.kcsb.org to share your opinion on Al Jazeera English on KCSB 91.9 FM.