The Voice of the Wide Spaces
|The Voice of the Wide Spaces|
|Motto||The Desert Teaches Wisdom|
|Matriarch of the Voice||Sujari, daughter of Pirti|
The Voice of the Wide Spaces (VWS) is a terrestrial radio station that is based within the boundaries of Les Guilleux municipality in the Biscarrosse state of Alduria, though its transmitter is some distance from the settlement of Les Guilleux itself, near the border with the Green. It is highly unusual in Alduro-Wechua media in that the majority of those involved in its production and administration are Çerid, though its owner is a board led - to provide both legal and political cover - by a human Aldurian citizen, former event planner Llúcia Frutos. A number of other humans work for the station as well, particularly in technical roles.
VWS' stated aim is to make Alduro-Wechuan citizens, and their Çerid neighbors across the border in the Green and in Antakia, more aware of each other in order to promote understanding and profitable cooperation; the content it provides to this end is eclectic. Air time not otherwise occupied consists of music programs, cycling between hits currently popular in Alduria, Babkhan and Constancian traditional music and artists influenced by them, and works by Çer musicians (usually broadcast live, as relatively few Çerid have access to recording equipment). However, the station does run semi-regular news segments, with an emphasis on local and regional events and weather, economic news and commodity prices, and politics, as well as a certain amount of commentary on those topics. Much of the news is gathered and reported from other sources; VWS employs a very small number of field journalists of its own, but, being Çerid and having that species' tendencies toward nosiness and incautiousness about certain types of proprieties, they must often tread carefully to avoid being deported. Broadcasts are approximately equally divided, linguistically, between Alexandrian and Çervelik.
While news reporting is - or is genuinely intended to be - factual, VWS does have its biases, which may be particularly evident in political coverage and commentary segments. Its overall stance runs in the direction of racial (and species) tolerance, a reliance on custom and tradition and flexible interpretation instead of legal codes, simplifying regulations on business, and a strong support for decentralized administration. VWS does not align particularly well with any of the federal parties, stemming as it does from mostly Çer viewpoints, though it is perhaps most comfortable with the Federal Liberal Alternative and the Progressive Conservative Union; it does, however, hold a particular hostility toward both the cosmology and general policy of the Nationalist & Humanist ideology, and rarely passes up an opportunity to criticize those parties that espouse it.
In the early days of Alduria, the most common forms of contact with the Çer who inhabited the neighboring Razamin Desert were cross-border raids by isolated bandits - or, only slightly more encouraging, visits from mercenaries offering protection from their less scrupulous brethren. In recent years, however, the firmer footing of the Aldurian (and, later, Alduro-Wechua) military, the establishment of Antakia and, especially, the beginnings of the Pan-Euran Highway project have resulting in a shrinking of opportunities for violent operators except in fairly remote regions. This has been accompanied by a marked increase in Çer groups more interested in a settled life and the chance of doing business directly with humans, far from the relatively stifling presence of the Speakers in their homeland around the Gulf of Aqaba.
One result was the establishment, immediately across the border from the municipality of Les Guilleux, of a Çer shantytown and trading outpost called Deleshtaj (the place of assorted items) in the Green, inhabited permanently by a few families and playing host to those Çer caravans that might come through. It was the members of one of these that, straying across the border into a sparsely inhabited stretch of arid hills, came across the remains of a long-abandoned Babkhan propaganda transmission facility in remarkably intact condition. Many nomadic bands having by this time acquired portable radios from humans, the group decided against absconding with the equipment and selling it for scrap, realizing that being able to send information and entertainment to their fellows - and to their human neighbors - might be just as profitable.
Discreetly partnering with some human technicians and advisors, the transmitter was restored to working order and the station was registered with the authorities. While the board owning the station is led by an Aldurian citizen, its content is managed by Çerid, the highest-ranking of whom - Sujari, daughter of Pirti - is referred to as the Matriarch of the Voice, acting as a sort of general manager for the station.