In 2015, Spirit of America supported a radio station in Ukraine to meet the information needs of Ukrainian soldiers. The soldiers were being bombarded by morale-crushing Russian propaganda as they fought to preserve their country’s independence after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and occupied portions of the Donbas region. In just three weeks, Spirit of America committed the necessary funding to start ArmyFM, a Ukrainian-operated radio station that quickly provided daily news, music, and reporting for Ukrainian troops in 25 cities. (For more, check out these stories from NPR and the Wall Street Journal.)
ArmyFM continues to broadcast today and is more important than ever before. Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, both civilians and soldiers have increasingly relied on ArmyFM for accurate, real-time information about the war.
Spirit of America Europe Regional Director Colleen Denny and Europe Regional Program Manager Matt Dimmick recently visited ArmyFM’s headquarters in Kyiv. The radio station has maintained 24/7 coverage despite the numerous challenges to broadcasting in a war zone.
Their audience has grown exponentially since the start of the war, with a massive increase in radio listeners and a jump in Telegram subscribers from 7k to 300k. Unfortunately, 15 of the station’s 27 transmitters now lie within Russian occupied territory. News there is no longer reaching Ukrainians. Russia is broadcasting propaganda instead.
Still, the ArmyFM team is committed to delivering news around the clock, knowing their programs may be the only source of accurate information in some parts of Ukraine. And, they are planning for growth. Their popular website provides news and videos, and they have launched a TV station, ArmyTV.
“It was inspiring to witness ArmyFM’s dedication to broadcasting unbiased updates about the war amid Russian disinformation,” Matt said. “Spirit of America’s initial investment in ArmyFM and early commitment to Ukraine’s independence have built programs and partnerships that are keeping Ukrainians informed and safe.”
You can help Ukraine win by supporting Spirit of America’s Ukraine Emergency Fund.