The noncommercial Pacifica radio network, which is headquartered in Berkeley, will begin broadcasting Al Jazeera English in five markets, including WBAI in NYC, where listeners can tune in to Al Jazeera broadcasts at 5 a.m., starting, oh, today! (You can stream this morning's broadcast here.) Pacifica station KPFT in Houston also started airing Al Jazeera this morning, and KPFA in Berkeley started yesterday. This is the first time Al Jazeera English has been brought to radio audiences in North America, and Arlene Engelhardt, director of the Pacifica Foundation, says, "It is part of our mission at Pacifica to act as a bridge between cultures and to present stories that are too often overlooked by other media in the United States."
The Al Jazeera English hour will air on weekdays on WBAI. Today's broadcast began with a brief oral history of Al Jazeera English, which is the first English language world news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Al Jazeera's reporters are stationed at 65 bureaus around the world, but, as today's broadcast notes, "the United States still actively prevents the English satellite network from broadcasting on cable television." Below, we welcome your jokes about how WBAI listeners won't notice any difference in the programming change! And for more on Al Jazeera, check out the interesting documentary Control Room, about Al Jazeera's strained relations with the US Central Command during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.