Sound Of Hope Online Listeners Increase Despite Ban In China
TAIPEI—Sound of Hope (SOH) is a New York based radio station broadcasting in Chinese language targeting listeners in mainland China, Taiwan and neighboring countries. Listeners receive signals either from local AM/FM bands or listen online. The number of people visiting SOH online, which is estimated to be four million in 2008, was 67 percent higher than five years ago, when SOH started broadcasting, despite the fact that Chinese communist regime interferes with the signal and the website in China.
“Our station created a big impact in 2008 while a lot of other media were trying to survive,” said Zeng Yong, the radio station’s Chief Operating Officer.
In May 2008 when the Sichuan earthquake happened, people in the disaster areas lost their means of communications with the rest of the world. SOH was the only short-wave radio station reporting the news about the earthquake on time and broadcasting it. “I hope your signal could be stronger so the whole villagers would receive your broadcasting,” one villager in Sichuan Province said.
SOH is well received by the Chinese people in mainland China and overseas alike. It is not possible to collect how many people listen to SOH, but the following feedbacks would provide some insights.
“SOH let us see the hope and the future. There are hundreds of million of people like me in China. Many of them don’t know how to contact your radio station.”
“I like the in-depth stories the program reveals. The news analysis is very powerful. I often lie on my couch and listen to the radio. In my mind, it appears a magnificent view of history. The voice of SOH is truly the voice of Chinese and represents the hope of Chinese nation,” one listener wrote.
A teacher who immigrated to U.S. said, “I only listen to SOH, because the reports are in depth “
Another listener said, “I wish you could come back home soon. (meaning it can be officially broadcasted in China).”
Zeng Yong is very pleased to see that SOH is so warmly welcomed by Chinese people. This is also the reason the Chinese communist regime wants to silence the station. “This will only give us a good reason to make better programs,” Zeng said.
When asked about the development of SOH in the new year, Zeng Yong said the 2009 is very important and SOH will set up live broadcasting that encourage Chinese people to participate and express their own views. In addition, some programs about “life and music” will be added.
SOH has been stationed in 20 cities, and their next two years’ plan is to add enhanced features and make SOH accessible via cell phones, Zeng Yong added.