This post originally appeared on the BBG Strategy blog.
Voice of America has landed another key affiliate in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the form of Top Congo, a contemporary music formatted FM that also includes a robust news department.
The affiliation agreement, signed on July 17th, 2014, will increase VOA’s role in the region as a quality news source by providing the station with exclusive “Washington Bureau” interactives with VOA reporters. Top Congo will also air additional news from VOA’s French to Africa Service.
The agreement bolsters VOA in the DRC, which has a history of instability, violence and limited press freedom. While Top Congo serves Kinshasa, it will serve as a complement to VOA’s other affiliates, including the nationwide network Raga FM. Kinshasa has been labeled one of the DRC’s mega-cities, boasting an estimated population of 9 million people. Neighboring Brazzaville, the capital of the The Republic of Congo, pushes to the total market population toward 11 million.
The DRC’s total population is approximately 77 million, with a median age of 19.
According to BBG research fielded in 2012, Voice of America reached 7.4% of the adult population of DRC, or approximately 2.3 million people every week. The vast majority of those were served in French, but VOA English and Sawhili added additional audience.
The signing was completed at a ceremony attended by Doug Boynton, the BBG Director of Marketing, and Top Congo’s Managing Director Christian Lusakueno, among other staff. An evening cocktail party was later held to celebrate the partnership.