NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- When Shaib Dad Hamdard was growing up in Afghanistan's Nuristan province he dreamed of being a voice to his people.

Now, with the turn of a dial, and the flick of the switch, he's on air at Kalagush Radio, reaching out across the remote mountain province.

Today's topic: the need for woman's equality.

"With this I can educate my people," the 24-year-old station manager said, motioning to the microphone. "I can provide a voice to them."

Broadcasting into areas so isolated, that many residents may only travel as far as the neighboring village in their lifetimes, Kalagush Radio is "a live existence of the [outside] world," said Hamdard.

For 12-hours a day the radio station offers news and entertainment programs catered to the remote mountain people.

Although the news stories are not always positive, they are always honest. Offering a balanced look at issues affecting area residents, and following the station's "don't take any sides" philosophy.

But the news is only one part of the station's programming. DJs offer a variety of music, history, education, religious and social commentary shows as well.

According to Hamdard, one of the Kalagush Radio's most popular shows is a daily music program that allows listeners to phone in with requests. Thousands of people attempt to call the hour-long show every day, but only a few hundred get through.

"We think of the needs of the local people, and what they want," said Hamdard, remarking on the station's success.

Although funded by International Security Assistance Forces, the people of Kalagush Radio insist they decide what is put on the air.

"Of course it is funded by the coalition forces, but I have total control over the programs, the programs are not limited to any specific groups." said Hamdard."

Now with the success of the radio station, ISAF forces are working with Kalagush Radio to expend their broadcast to 24-hours a day. They're also planning on hiring several new journalists for the station, including an Afghan woman. Offering a voice, the station's crew says, to a silent majority.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16