In the month of October 2007, Radio Sevan, the Armenian FM radio station broadcasting live from Lebanon, emitted its first wave of transmission to an eager community of listeners. At first, music was the primary source of entertainment with regular news intervals. A steady growth of listeners paralleled an increase in the range of programming to include specialized cultural, political and educational shows, event coverage, as well as local, international and Armenian news. Committed to maintaining consistently high programming standards throughout its schedule, Radio Sevan strove to give Armenian artists from various musical genres, a supportive forum in which to showcase their talent. The essence of its mission was simple; to unite all Armenians living in Lebanon and the Diaspora, through music. By extending its cultural reach locally and worldwide, Radio Sevan has become a unique and valuable community resource.
Despite being fairly new to the airwaves, the station caused quite a stir in its formative years, with its selection of fresh, upbeat and uplifting songs. Broadcasting live in stereo on two frequencies, (90.8MHZ and 101.5MHZ) as well as on the CABLE VISION satellite station, Radio Sevan entered the homes of every Armenian, living in the entirety of Lebanon. No other niche radio market had attempted such a bold maneuver. Its comprehensive coverage was a means to familiarize itself to a community that had decreased in number during the country’s troubled times. A unifying force was needed to rally around, a destination where all could find common ground in celebration of the Armenian heritage.
The youth especially lacked cultural fervor, therefore music and programming had to appeal to this generation. A young team of employees, department heads and broadcasters, who understood the wants and concerns of listeners in their age bracket, devised a plan of action to target this burgeoning audience. The obvious method was through new media and social networking sites. Radiosevan.com was launched as an online portal to relay the latest news, information and entertainment to an interactive group of users, 24 hours a day. The website currently hosts 18,000 visitors from 70 countries around the world, monthly. It is the premier destination for live streaming broadcasts of Armenian music, shows and breaking news for a global audience.
In response to listener demand, Radio Sevan launched a series of specialized programs that relate to distinct tastes and preferences. Topics range from societal issues and cultural reawakening to sports and song requests. Each of the various shows on the grid brings a level of transparency to the community, impacting the decisions listeners make, daily.
The most popular of all continues to be the morning program “Kavat me sourji shourch” (Around a Cup of Coffee) hosted bySarme Minassian. This three hour block of airtime is divided into four sections, covering weather, airport traffic, horoscopes, local newspaper headlines, exchange rates, health, entertainment and cultural news. Live weekly interviews with special guests and an interactive daily game show, “Allo Radio Sevan” round out the weekly programming. Listeners are also encouraged to call in and voice their opinions about a specific topic chosen for the week, followed by a statistical presentation of their various insights announced on Friday’s.
Breathing New Life
Setting the bar high was one of the keys to its success, in addition to an unwavering commitment to prevail. That is why on May 7th, 2008, when the stations facilities were burned to the ground due to political turmoil, Radio Sevan rose from the ashes and was back on air from a new studio, within 12 hours of the incident. Its state-of-the-art facility is now located in the Mar Mkheyel area of Beirut, adjacent to its own music store where a selection of CD’s and promotional items are available for purchase.
Radio Sevan continues to be a pioneer in the market, introducing new talent from Armenia through live concerts and community events. Its informed and active listenership is a testament to the quality of programming and the success of its business model.