This weekly interview is with someone close to me and is someone i have always looked up to. My Uncle Hossein Ghavimi is an Iranian/British journalist/Broadcaster working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague for the last nine years.
As an Iranian Londoner, living in Prague my Uncle pioneered the first Persian Radio Programme in London for the Persian speaking communities in the early 90's. He also produced and directed the first Persian satellite TV Programme in Europe on TV Asia (Zee TV) in 1993. I'm so happy that he has agreed to this and maybe you will see why i think he is awesome.
Who inspired you to go into radio?
I inspired myself! Actually, at early age I used to listen to radio a lot, having a vivid imagination I did imagine many things about what was happening on the other side of the radio equipment. To a kid those fantasies were fascinatingly interesting or rather interestingly fascinating! To me radio has a certain magical properties and offers freedom to listeners to use his/her imagination on location and the moderator.
What made you to go from Iran to London and now to Prague?
When I graduated from high school in Tehran, I decided to pursue further education and like most of my friends, the UK or US were two options that we aimed for. I decided to go to London for a year to improve my English and then go to Miami (Florida) where I had a university offer. Many years passed and my American journey did not happen. I guess I was too busy having fun in London!
About 9 years ago an opportunity presented itself to work for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Persian Service) in Prague which seemed a good change at that time of my life. I happily took the offer.
When did you first fall in love with radio?
It was not love at first sight, it was rather an infatuation to the medium of radio. This gradual fondness eventually led me to start the first ever Persian Radio Programme for the Iranian community in London in the late 80's. Later on I pioneered the first Persian Satellite TV Programme in Europe on TV Asia in 1993 (now Z TV).
Where in Iran would you love to work if possible?
Realistically it is not possible, and I am happy where I am in my life. I must add that I do not wish to work in Iran as long as the present regime of mullah’s are in power.
Why Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty?
RFE/RL is an overseas broadcasting service of USA founded by the Congress that began services in 1950 similar to BBC’ s overseas broadcasting. RFE/RL serves as a "surrogate" free press in 21 countries where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed. journalists provide what many people in those countries cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate. We broadcast in 28 languages to 21 countries including Iran, Russia, and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
I must add The U.S. government is not involved in RFE/RL's operational or editorial decisions. Our governing board, the BBG, serves by law as a firewall to protect our editorial independence. The Persian Service (Radio Farda) became part of RFE/RL about 16 years ago and Radio Farda's website receives over 10 million page views every month.
Which journey did you find most difficult, Tehran to London or London to Prague?
I enjoyed Both journeys. In my view life in itself is a long journey and I’m here to enjoy it!
Thank you so much to my Uncle. I have been lucky enough to visit him in Prague a few times and it is a great place to visit. An insight to the man behind the scenes and the voice of Iran for those outside the country.