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Chinese Radio a Hit in Serbia

A small radio station in northern Serbia has created a popular program in a surprising language. The show is in Chinese and features music from around the world. Serbian demographers estimate more than 100,000 Chinese live in Serbia. VOA's Dragan Gmizic recently visited the station and learned that plans are in the works to create a similar TV program. VOA's Jim Bertel narrates.

For one hour every Sunday I Lee Su is on the radio speaking to Serbia's Chinese population. Su speaks about what the listener can expect, "I like to play modern music and local folk songs. Young people in China like similar music. Love songs are the most popular."

Radio Bon Ton is in the small town of Vrbas. Its owner -- Slobodan Radulovic -- says he started the Chinese program for two reasons: to widen his audience and to encourage tolerance among nations. Radulovic says, "Before I opened this radio station, I was thinking about all nationalities living in this small town. So, as we started broadcasting, we ran shows in Hungarian, Russian and Romanian. The next step I made was the show in Chinese."

The program's popularity has prompted Radulovic to think about starting a similar program on television that would reach beyond Serbia to a worldwide audience via satellite.

"We've negotiated with some of our Chinese residents about a satellite program that would allow them to send, for example, a music greeting to their family and friends in China, to wish them Happy New Year," Radulovic said.

And for the many Chinese listeners in Serbia, Radulovic says just because they are thousands of kilometers from home does not mean they have to forget about their heritage.