Kirsch's station shut down for lack of revenue
When Isaac “Issy” Kirsch launched an English-language radio station in the Palestinian city of Ramallah last year to promote Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, the South African businessman thought all he needed was love to make it work.Turns out what he really needed was advertising revenue. RAM FM, which bowed in February 2007, was forced to shut down last week after failing to generate enough coin. The station was modeled after South Africa’s Radio 702, which was credited with playing a positive role in that country’s transition from apartheid in the ’90s. RAM — its name is both short for Ramallah and also the Hebrew word for “high” — mixed talkshows and even-handed news bulletins along with musical programming. Beatles’ songs, particularly “We Can Work It Out,” were fixtures. Listeners ranged from Israeli soldiers to Palestinian students as well as ex-pats on either side of the divide. RAM also generated plenty of ink during its brief existence, recently scoring an exclusive interview with former British prime minister-turned-Mideast peace envoy Tony Blair. But even amid the station’s commercial failure, RAM execs haven’t lost sight of their ultimate message. The last song to air on the station was, fittingly, John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”
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