ZenoRadio: connecting the diaspora to home radios
People around the world can now listen to radio stations in their native countries thanks to ZenoRadio that enables them to use their cellphones to tune in to radios at home for free.
The initiative started when Baruch Herzfeld, the ZenoRadio founder, living in the US got an almost obsessive will to connect people in the diaspora to radio stations in their home countries and wanted to make it happen at a cheap, easy and smart way.
According to Chaim Gross, the ZenoRadio marketing manager, they have to assign a local phone number in a specific country to a radio station’s internet stream in a native country.
To listen to a radio station from home via ZenoRadio, a listener would call a country-specific telephone number and press a keypad numeral for a station.
For example a customer who wants to listen to a station from Rwanda would call the country’s ZenoRadio assigned number then plunge 1, 2, 3, and so on until they reach a station they like to listen to from Rwanda.
When in the US, residents who want to listen to KT radio from New York, he dials +171-674-801-73 to listen to live streaming.
Gross says that their vow is to bring news from native areas which take them out of isolation, especially when they listen to most cultural magazines and songs. It’s a bridge that links the diaspora to the native daily life.
In a phone interview from Iowa in the US, Karangwa Claudien, said that his experience with the ‘dial-in to home radio’ is impressive.
He started to listen to his Rwandan favorite radio stations during the last world football cup to get the tournament updates from his favorite sports newsmen and columnists.
“Listening to my favorite radio stations from home has changed my days. I’d tune in like ten times a day listening to updates and news from my country but what I enjoyed the most was the world cup updates,” he said.
Prosper Bitembek is the Director of KT Radio, which operates in Kigali and partners with Zenoradio and broadcasts in the US, Belgium and France.
He says since KT Radio started partnering with ZenoRadio he has seen an increasing number of listeners from abroad.
Bitembeka observed that the app has an advantage of being very cheap and easier for people overseas who use any mobile phone and listen to Radio wherever they are.
“Rwandan in diaspora can now get informed about their home country on daily basis, at no or low fee charge,” he said.
Currently ZenoRadio provides a connection to around 2000 stations, and the figures never cease to hike.
“The move is reaching out to hundreds more every day,” said Gross.
He further said that his radio is likely to increase followers abroad and to generate more income through adverts. He’s got line numbers for Rwandans in the US, Belgium and France.
He says that people are likely to increase. “Some of them feel culturally isolated and allowing them to use any phone handset gives us reason to look forward for an unflagging ground,” he said.