By Ogova Ondego
Published October 28, 2011
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has expanded its outreach across Madagascar with the launch of two FM relay stations. BBC 89.8 FM in Fianarantsoa and Toamasina add to the existing BBC 89.2 FM in the capital, Antananarivo. A week of special programming exploring the country’s realities from an international perspective has been airing from the Indian island state since October 24, 2011. All three stations carry the BBC Afrique schedule as well as BBC World Services English-language programming. The weekly broadcasts culminates in a special edition of Afrique en direct on Saturday, October 29, 2011.
BBC Afrique is said to broadcast about eight hours a day. Its three main news and current affairs programmes–BBC Matin (06.00 – 07.30 GMT), BBC Midi (12.00 – 12.30GMT) and BBC Soir (18.00 -18.30GMT)–focus on news in French-speaking Africa and across the continent and the world. The programmes are produced in London and in the bureaux in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Bujumbura (Burundi), Dakar (Senegal), Kigali (Rwanda) and Kinshasa (Congo-Kinshasa).
In addition to its daily programmes, BBC Afrique takes a look at news and current affairs in its weekly feature programmes: L’Interview, Africana, Britannia, L’Autre Actualit, Sport Week-end and Afrique Hebdo. On the weekly programmes, Le Club BBC and Star Club, listeners can exchange views, find friends or dedicate songs to friends and family. The weekly programme, L’Afrique en Direct, gives listeners an opportunity to take part in debates with specially invited guests. The Saturday programme, Samedi Foot, at 13.45-16.00 GMT brings live commentary of England’s Premier League matches, including previews, half-time and full-time analysis. “Interactivity makes up a big part of the BBC Afrique output as audiences are invited to share their views by SMS, Facebook and Twitter and via bbcafrique.com.”
“As Africa’s second most populous francophone country,” says Joachim Harris, Head of Business Development in Africa, BBC World Service, “Madagascar is an important market for BBC World Service’s French for Africa service, BBC Afrique.” “We are delighted that with the launch of these two BBC FM stations in Fianarantsoa and Toamasina we can further expand our listener base, giving them the opportunity to enjoy our programming on FM.” “We are looking forward to forging closer connections with our listeners in Madagascar through the new BBC FM stations.”
Editor, BBC Afrique – London, Venuste Nshimiyimana, says, “Our series of reports from across the island bring the realities of Madagascar closer to listeners across francophone Africa, putting the issues that matter to them in the wider regional and global context.”