Jerusalem (Dec. 10)
Engineers are putting finishing touches on Palestine’s new radio transmitter so that the first broadcast ever to be made in the Holy Land will go out over the airwaves on Christmas Eve.
Operation of the station in three languages — English Hebrew and Arabic — confronts the officials of the Palestine Broadcasting Company with a number of problems unprecedented in broadcasting history, not the least of which is where to get Hebrew and Arabic announcers.
Inauguration of a radio news-service is expected, among other benefits, to halt the spreading of rumors among the illiterate Arab population that has been frequently responsible for native unrest.
The Government-owned station will operate at the outset on a five-hour schedule. Three hours will be devoted to news broadcasts and programs of general interest, and an hour each will be allotted for special Jewish and Arab features. The officials planning these features intend to experiment with the music and culture of the two peoples to see how the general public takes to that type of program.
The transmitter has an antenna strength of 20 kilowatts and will operate in the 600-700 kilocycle band. It is planned to include in the grist of the day’s programs special hookups with British stations.
The Palestine Government has named a special sub-commission to supervise the radio service. The membership includes three British officials, one Jewish representative and one Arab. Abraham Katznelson of the Jewish National Council (Vaad Leumi) has been appointed the Jewish representative.
Broadcasting officials point out that a radio system is particularly important in a land like Palestine, where the Arab masses are still, for the most part, illiterate, and depend on the gossip of the village-square and the bazaar for their information. As soon as they become accustomed to the instantaneous transmission of speech that comes with radio, the Arab fellaheen, or peasants, are expected to become quite attached to their radio sets.