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RussiaMarch 11 2022, 14:31 pm

A Tiny Radio Station Linked to Russia Still Broadcasts Russian Propaganda in Washington D.C.

US media is report­ing that while the US has recent­ly banned Russ­ian state-backed out­let RT Amer­i­ca, the tiny radio sta­tion WZHF is still broad­cast­ing Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da to Belt­way lis­ten­ers. WZHF is described as the flag­ship of Rus­si­a’s efforts to har­ness Amer­i­ca’s radio air­waves to sell the Krem­lin’s point of view. Accord­ing to a Wash­ing­ton Post report:

March 7, 2022 WZHF, a for­mer Span­ish-lan­guage sta­tion 11 miles east of the White House in Maryland’s Capi­tol Heights, is the flag­ship of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s effort to har­ness America’s radio air­waves to sell the Kremlin’s point of view. Despite peri­od­ic legal and polit­i­cal chal­lenges, and the impo­si­tion of sanc­tions against Rus­sia for its inva­sion of Ukraine, the sta­tion has stayed on the air, broad­cast­ing its Krem­lin-approved mes­sage. […] Sput­nik doesn’t own WZHF, nor could it under fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions that bar for­eign gov­ern­ments from con­trol­ling U.S. broad­cast licens­es. […] But the Krem­lin found anoth­er way to get on the air. WZHF has been licensed to a New York com­pa­ny, Way Broad­cast­ing, since 2011, accord­ing to FCC records. But Way appears to be a large­ly pas­sive own­er. In 2017, it agreed to lease the station’s air­time to a sec­ond par­ty, RM Broad­cast­ing of Jupiter, Fla. RM, in turn, sold all of the station’s air­time to Rossiya Segod­nya and Sput­nik. RM made a sim­i­lar deal in 2020 with Alpine Broad­cast­ing to place Sputnik’s pro­grams on Alpine’s three sta­tions in the Kansas City area.

Read the full report here.

The Wash­ing­ton Post report notes that although some dis­cus­sions on WZHF/Sputnik Radio are apo­lit­i­cal, many radio hosts offer neg­a­tive com­men­tary about Amer­i­ca’s per­ceived flaws and tend to jus­ti­fy Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine. The report also says that since 2018, RM Broad­cast­ing has been reg­is­tered under the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Acts, which requires it to file fed­er­al dis­clo­sures about Rossiya Segod­nya’s pay­ments. Rossiya Segod­nya is the Krem­lin-con­trolled media agency that direct­ed RT Amer­i­ca until its recent ban. In 2021 alone, Rossiya Segod­nya spent over $3 mil­lion in the US, accord­ing to For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act records. A 2017 report by the DFR­Lab, a US think tank, found that the pres­i­den­tial decree that found­ed Rossiya Segod­nya described the out­let’s pur­pose as “report­ing the state pol­i­cy of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, and pub­lic life in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, abroad.”

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report recent­ly report­ed that the Euro­pean Union banned RT and Sput­nik over dis­in­for­ma­tion on Ukraine.

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