Since January 1993, I have been producing an Iranian radio program here for the Iranian-American community in English. The program is called Saba “Wind of Love” and it includes music, literary readings, political discussions and cultural interviews. It is the only English-language Iranian program of its kind on the air.
Every Monday from 9 to 11 in the morning on KKFI community radio station (90.1 FM), Saba is heard in rural and cosmopolitan areas of eastern Kansas and western Missouri as a gesture of friendship to Iranian listeners. The program is not for profit and only listener support to the station — not the program — keeps us on the air. Exactly half the of the biannual contributions come from Iranians.
In March 1995 Maryam Charmchi and more recently in April 1996 Reza Nikravan have volunteered to share their creative skills as assistant programers. Among other things, Maryam has added a feminine spirit to Saba while Reza — the youngest of our team — has contributed vital energy.
As far as the music goes, we try to satisfy every taste. We have modern as well as traditional; folk as well as urban; vocal as well as orchestral; contemporary as well as nostalgic; upbeat as well as meditative music produced in Iran and abroad. Occasionally guests from Afghanistan, Greece, India, Lebanon, Turkey and Pakistan have made the program even more diverse by introducing their music along with poetry, news or their knowledge.
Our listeners have had the chance to hear biographical documentaries coupled with musical profiles of many musicians musicians, notably Hengameh Akhavan, Hossein Alizadeh, Sima Bina, Mohammad-Reza Lotfi, Parisa, Qamarol-Moluk Vaziri and Khosrow Pishkar.
We have also aired live interviews with Delaram, Dariyoush Dolatshahi, Ardeshir Fahimi, Shahram Nazeri, Jamal Vafai, Shahrad Rohani, Shahin & Sepehr, Jalal Zolfonun, and Pari Zangeneh. Sometimes the interviews are done in Persian and aired as background to the English translation.
Saba is the only radio program abroad that has had the pleasure to have Jalal Zolfonun (Setar) and Ardeshir Fahimi (Daf) performing live on the air. Saba has also been the local sponsor of Shahram Nazeri’s concert in Kansas City with Zolfonun and Fahimi in 1993 and with Esmail Tehrani in 1994.
Modern as well as ancient poetry readings are a poular segment. In 1993 a series was dedicated to poems and the biography of various modern poets — of course beginning with Nima Youshij. Satire is another part of our cultural magazine with regular reading from Mulla Nasreddin, Hadi Khorsandi, Kiumars Saberi and Fereydoun Tonkaboni. The recent prominance of Iranian cinema has also been reflected through interviews with Jamshid Akrami and Abbas Kiarostami.
News about the success of Iranian immigrants has become Saba’s main focus. We want to shed light on the constructive role of the Iranian community that often goes unnoticed in the mainstream American media.
Saba is not shy when it comes down to politics. Politics has drawn a pronounced line of demarcation not only between Iranians and Americans, but also among Iranians themselves since the 1979 revolution and what came to be known as the hostage crisis.
As members of a community sharing the Iranian heritage, we may close our eyes to politics, but that does not stop politics from looking, haunting and shaping our lives. Imagine how ridiculous it would be to claim that the only things that have made us famous in the world are Persian carpets, cats, caviar, poetry and music, but not politics.
Every now and then Saba’s guests, including Golnaz Amin, Mansur Farhang, Mark Gasiorowski, Eric Hooglund, Bruce Laingen, Saideh Pakravan, and Gary Sick analyze contemporary hisotry, foreign policy, human rights and women’s issues, as well as democracy and fundamentalism. Also we have aired comments on issues concerning the younger Iranian generation by Termeh Rassi, editor of Second Generation , and others.
You could enhance Saba’s programs by sending your books, publications, dailies, story ideas, interview suggestions, prose as well as your music on CD, cassette or LP. Here’s my address and phone number:
8211 Perry Ave.
Tel: (913) 648-6344