To improve radio broadcasting in Arghandab, the USAID Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative-South
team recruited and trained four radio DJs to run the broadcasts. A second round of recruitment several months later saw a substantial increase in the number of qualified applicants, which appeared to indicate that DJs were becoming less concerned about the personal security implications of being public figures working for a U.S.- supported radio station. The DJs bring a wealth of experience in production, journalism, and editorial work, and the radio station operates 24 hours a day. As well as refurbishing the radio room, ASI distributed hand-crank radios to the population to increase listenership.
The Voice of Arghandab radio station also held phone-in competitions to increase its popularity and listenership. As a result, the radio station received calls from as far away as Zhari District and Kandahar City. The winning caller was invited to the radio station to receive a prize: a small hand-crank radio, a ball-point pen, and a writing pad. ASI-South has also been pleased to hear female callers contacting the station — a positive development in a highly conservative region of Afghanistan.
The success of this radio station is demonstrated by its listeners. In the weeks after the radio station was launched, it was reported that barely 20 callers contacted the radio station within a week. Today, at least 20 callers per day contact the station with requests and information.