It’s been a long year with some tweaks and upgrades, but in spite of countless dark predictions, Israel’s top English-language news talk radio station has managed to survive its trial by fire.
On Tuesday, Israel News Talk Radio officially celebrated its one-year anniversary.
No slogan was ever more accurate than “Straight talk from Israel,” as it says on the logo. Depending on the show, sometimes it can even be biting.
“We’re the only English-language radio station broadcasting live out of Israel,” says owner and general manager Tamar Yonah. “One of the great things about that is that it gives you local and international news in one place, so you always know what is going on. Our news team broadcasts the local news, and because we’re a Fox News Radio affiliate, we also deliver international news as well.”
Yonah made the decision to launch Israel News Talk Radio after more than 15 years as a radio talk show host, news anchor and program director at Arutz Sheva’s Israel National Radio. Before that, she worked at RadioWest, a terrestrial station was broadcasting out of Jerusalem.
In the year since the station launched, Yonah says its audience has grown exponentially, reaching listeners on every continent sans Antarctica. The station even has listeners from some of the Arab states, and the Palestinian Authority.
“INTR is accessible worldwide via the internet,” she explains, and is listed in the Media section of JewishPress.com but the station is also carried by iTunes and Tune-In radio, so we get picked up a lot by people who are in their cars or scanning for new stations on their smart phones. We’re also being carried now by other broadcasters in Toronto and in Australia,” she says, adding that JewishPress.com partnership has also brought homepage features and weekly promotions for the shows.
As much as half of the listening audience may not be Jewish, Yonah says; in fact, she’s had callers in to the live programs from Jordan, and emails from other Muslim countries.
People in Israel who miss “talk radio” in English, and international listeners curious about what’s happening in the Jewish State are the biggest beneficiaries, she says, “especially because they don’t have to pay a service fee or network subscription like they would if they were using a fee-for-service mobile network in the U.S., for instance.
“We have really unique, and some of the most talented show hosts in Israel delivering news and commentary, while allowing people to call in “live” and become part of the show.
“Programs include mostly news and politics, but there are also shows on Judaism, Torah, and spirituality — we even have a ‘good news’ show,” she adds.
“It’s our job to create a place for listeners to hear accurate news from Israel in English while also giving them a chance to hear from everyday people on the ground just sharing their lives, experiences, and opinions — these are things they wouldn’t hear from main-stream foreign stations.”
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