Live programmes for Da Saba Storay Radio have recently halted following the collapse of the tower, which houses the antenna from where programmes are transmitted.
The tower collapsed overnight on Tuesday the 20th of March, following a powerful storm in Jalalabad over the previous three days.
Further damage was also caused to the surrounding area, with the tower of local station Safa Radio also falling. Along with this, the outside walls of several homes in the Hada area of Jalalabad were brought down.
The recent events have prompted concerns from listeners of the station. Live radio coordinator, Sayed Ibadullah Sadiq says “People know us as an Islamic station and they are always interested in our programmes. We have previously seen immediate reaction from listeners if there are ever delays in broadcasting programmes. We are now receiving several requests about our transmission.”
“Since starting, we have had our own hopes for the radio’s success. These expectations were exceeded and every day, people were calling in and giving us a lot of positive feedback on how much they loved our programmes,” says station director Nangyally Nang.
Along with the impact on listeners, the fallen tower has also saddened staff working at the station, particularly young students from the Islamic Vocational Academy. These students work as interns for the station, as part of their journalism classes.
“The interns have a real interest in learning the practical side of working in radio. I have seen sadness on their faces, but they always say ‘Allah knows better,’” says Sayed. Nangyally adds, “We have had a lot of very enthusiastic students, but following the storm, our whole radio family is unhappy.”
Despite the recent difficulties, staff remain optimistic about the future. Sayed says “Unfortunately, the storm has left many of us disappointed, but myself and all of our team are hopeful about returning to work. We hope to resume our transmission before the upcoming Narang Gul Mela, a traditional show celebrated every year in Jalalabad.”
Nangyally mirrors the view, “We will always continue our work in every difficult situation, but must now work even harder to fix everything we have lost. We want to maintain our reporter’s network in the cross border regions, as well as the interns and to continue providing for our audiences.”
Da Saba Storay Radio is currently trying to restore the fallen tower, while its live reporters work on producing pre-recorded programmes until live transmissions can once again resume. The radio station is the licensed broadcasting arm of PACT Radio in Afghanistan.