Colorado National Guard observes partner Jordan's anti-extremism radio broadcast programs

By Lt. Col. Elena O'Bryan and Staff Sgt. Joseph VonNidaAugust 24, 2016

Colorado National Guard observes partner
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- High-velocity audio rounds, used only for training, are the most deadly ammunition a Soldier can carry. They penetrate walls, curve around objects, and the ricochets never miss.

When used appropriately, the voice can also become a powerful force multiplier.

This is the case in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where military officials employ radio to counter terrorist ideologies.

In Jordan, a country with a population of about 9.5 million located adjacent to Syria, 36 radio stations exist.

The Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) funds the Alrayah Group Radio Stations, which consist of Bliss 104.3, Hala (meaning "hello" in Arabic) 102.1 and Jaish ("Army" in Arabic) 96.7.

Her Royal Highness Princess Zeina Al Faisal of Jordan, a journalist and former radio presenter, is the group's honorary member. She is married to Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein, the younger brother of King Abdullah II.

"Our stations express our national pride, our tradition of service, and our values of compassion and inclusion," said HRH Princess Zeina Al Faisal. "This is what unifies the Jordanian people."

Alrayah's radio personalities can be compared to America's television stars. Together, the radio stations have a Facebook following of about half a million fans though the stations are only a year old.

Hala News is already ranked among the top 10 news programs in the country.

This success has to do with how the stations connect with their listeners.

With reach all over Jordan and beyond its borders, carefully tailored daily and weekly radio broadcasts emphasize the love of military and country. Public opinion surveys show that people in Jordan approve of the programming.

The Colorado National Guard's most recent public affairs exchange with the JAF brought three representatives from CONG PA to Jordan Aug. 4-12. The Jordan-Colorado partnership began in 2004 and is part of the National Guard's State Partnership Program, which has grown to include 76 nations. The relationship with Jordan is the first and only such partnership in the Middle East.

During the exchange, we watched a live broadcast from the production booth at Radio Hala in Amman Aug. 10.

Since the broadcast was in Arabic, we relied on an interpreter to guide us through the discussion. However, the liveliness of the announcer and the enthusiasm of the caller needed no translation.

Jordanians can easily connect with their military via Jaish, 24/7, or armed forces radio, daily, between 4 and 6 p.m.

"The popularity of radio makes it an effective tool to increase national awareness and mitigate the impact of propaganda, disinformation and destructive rumors," said JAF Director of Moral Guidance Brig. Gen. Abdullah Huneiti.

Female Soldiers host JAF radio programs called "The Arms of Rescue" and "The Watchful Eye" that address public security and civil defense.

Uniformed imams, revered religious leaders, deliver sermons that undermine terrorists' pseudo-Islamic claims.

JAF broadcasts can also be heard via an android application and via the JAF Facebook page, which has nearly 400,000 likes.

The official JAF radio station highlights the Jordanian military's accomplishments and sacrifice and plays national songs that, according to JAF officials, deepen the people's loyalty to the Hashemite leadership.

More than a million tune into JAF-Arab Army radio on any day of the week.

At least in Jordan, with the integration of radio and social media, extremist ideology may have met its match.

Related Links:

State Partnership Program