Radio Sputnik, the international broadcasting arm of the Russian Federation, is taking over the lease of Reston Translator LLC’s 105.5 W288BS Reston VA/Washington DC via an HD subchannel of Urban One’s 93.9 WKYS.
W288BS had carried the former “Bluegrass Country” format of 88.5 WAMU-HD2 Washington until earlier this month. Radio Sputnik, formerly known as Voice of Russia, is the radio arm of the government owned Sputnik News Agency.
In a statement on the Sputnik website, Mindia Gavasheli the agency’s Washington editor-in-chief, stated:
We’re glad to finally be able to directly address our listeners in Washington. During the last few months Sputnik Radio has become the target of constant attacks in the US corporate media. And often the people who wrote or spoke about us didn’t even bother to listen to our broadcasts first. Now however, Washington residents will get the opportunity to listen to us and not just to what is being said about us, and I believe that the difference will become apparent to them. We hope that our entrance onto the Washington market is just the first step, and will strive to ensure that more and more people are able to hear our broadcasts instead of rumors about them.
Among the programs that Radio Sputnik will carry are “Fault Lines” hosted by former Breitbart reporter Lee Stranahan and WPFW host/ACLU board member Garland Nixon and Brave New World and Level Talk both hosted by John Harrison.
INSTANT INSIGHT: Considering the current political climate, the fact that the Russian government has an FM voice heard in our capital is going to generate a lot of attention as our leadership can now just tune to 105.5 to hear what the Kremlin wants told. This is, however, not a first. China Radio International, the broadcasting arm of the Chinese government, has brokered time on stations across the country for years.
While these have been leases, with the streamlining of foreign ownership interests in stations, this will likely become more common as international groups seek to make their side of a story heard.