RFI’s Arabic-language service MCD to be broadcast in France for the first time

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International radio station Monte Carlo Doualiya (MCD), Radio France Internationale’s Arabic-speaking sister station, will broadcast for the first time in France starting Tuesday. The programmes will be aired the Paris region and Marseille, its parent company, the public group France Médias Monde, announced Friday.

The French radio station, created in 1972 under the name RMC Middle East, is a reference media in the Arab world, where it brings together nearly 10 million listeners per week in some fifteen countries. In the beginning it had no possibility of broadcasting on the FM band in France, which has been saturated for a long time.

However, the rollout of DAB+ (digital terrestrial radio) provided MCD with the opportunity to obtain digital frequencies in two large population basins both of which have large Arab-speaking diasporas and Arabic-speaking communities.

This follows a first experiment in 2013, in Marseille, where listeners had already been able to discover some of MCD's programmes as part of the ephemeral station "La Méditerranée ensemble", Marie-Christine Saragosse, CEO of France Médias Monde, said.

"RFI has already taken the first step, as it is already broadcast in six cities in France on DAB+. Its Arabic-speaking sister MCD is taking the next step in its turn. This makes a lot of sense, because this radio is really a bridge between France and the Arab world", she said.

Arab-world recognition

MCD, with its editorial staff based in Paris and its network of 80 Arabic-speaking correspondents around the world, is already recognised in the Arab world for its impartiality, she assures.

Its programmes aim to attract the Arabic-speaking diasporas, but also reach a wider audience, especially through its society magazines which address universal issues such as health and education. It will also broadcast programmes that help people learn Arabic and French, such as the soap opera Le Talisman Brisé.

The launch of MCD in France follows the recent launch of RFI programmes in two new African languages: Fulfulde and Mandenkan. "We go where the audiences are, trying to break down language barriers whenever possible," said Marie-Christine Saragosse.