Yemisrach Dimts Communication Services (YDCS)

Introduction

The Yemisrach Dimts Communication Services operated three programs before and during the Ethiopian Revolution:

  • Joint Literature Program
  • Yemisrach Dimts Literacy Campaign
  • Yemisrach Dimts Radio

Yemisrach Dimts Radio Studio

Lundgren [1983], Proclaiming Christ to His World, p. 81 on Yemissrach Dimts Studio in Addis Ababa:

“The question of establishing a local production studio was taken up with the church in early 1960. It was also thoroughly discussed in the Lutheran Missions Committee […].

After having considered several alternatives, it was finally agreed in February 1961 that the program production for RVOG should be integrated into the already existing cooperative literature program, which EECMY was running together with the Lutheran Church in Ethiopia (LCE). It was decided that the literature program should be expanded into a mass media centre and that a recording studio for radio programs should be established. The new mass media centre was built in 1961/62 and was given the name ‘Yemissrach Dimts’ (Voice of good tidings). A few years later, the United Presbyterian Mission and its related church in Ethiopia also became a partner in the operation of this mass media centre. […]

For a few years the station assisted the church with Amharic program production for mediumwave broadcasts, but in 1968 the local studio assumed full responsibility for this production.”


Launhardt (2004), Evangelicals in Addis Ababa, p. 132f on the radio studio:

“The first YD [Yemisrach Dimts] program was on the air on 26 February 1963, the day when RVOG started broadcasting. From 7:00 to 7:40 p.m. the Amharic program could be received on Short Wave, including news, devotional messages, Bible studies, counselling, music, biographies, and programs concerning health, agriculture, and education.

For the listeners in and around Addis Ababa a Medium Wave transmitter was installed at the RVOG station as as special contribution to the host city, broadcasting in Amharic, English and later also in French. As of 1968 the YD studio took over responsibility for the Amharic part of the Medium Wave program.

In 1965 the staff of the YD studio was made up of nine Ethiopians and one expatriate [Haktor Thorsen]. When the YDS was granted more time to transmit program also in the morning [in 1968?], the number of people working in the studio increased, including the number of those being trained there. […]

In 1973 the staff and equipment of the YD Studio were transferred from Makanissa to the new Yemisrach Dimts Centre on Asmara Road, which was equipped also with soundproof studios.” [The Road is now called Jomo Kenyatta Ave. The EECMY later built its headquarters on the site.]


In March 1977, the revolutionist government confiscated the RVOG radio station as well as the new Yemisrach Dimts centre on Asmara Road. The audio recordings seem to have been taken away.

Since the Audio Visual Section and the Literature Section of Vemisrach Dimts Program had no legal connection with the RVOG, a petition was sent to the government asking that the YD building be restored to the ECMY and work in the remaining sections may continue. This was not granted [n. 761 : ECMY, 43rd Exec. Comm., President’s report, Sept. 1977]. Realising that the four-story building and the equipment was lost, the church resolved to close the remaining sections and terminate the employees’ contracts as from 1 October 1977.”

Launhardt (2002), Evangelicals in Addis Ababa, p. 244

[Q1: When did Yemisrach Dimts resume work in Mekanisa? 1979?

Q2: The Ministry of Information released most of the former RVOG archive files and recordings in 1989.
Did it also return the files and audio recordings of the Yemisrach Dimts studio at that time?]


Ethiopian gospel musicians recorded by YDCS

Broadcast by Radio Voice of the Gospel [RVOG]

Choirs:

Addis Ababa University Christian Students’ Fellowship Choir

Jimma Hiwot Berhan Choir

(?) Addis Ababa Mekane Yesus Choir

(?) Entotto Mekane Yesus Choir

(?) Ethiopian University Students Christian Fellowship Choir

(?) Geja Kale Heywet Choir

(?) Gullale Bethel Church Choir

(?) Lideta Mekane Yesus Choir

(?) Mekanisa Mekane Yesus “A” Choir

(?) Merha Ewourran School [for the Blind] Choir

(?) Meserete Kristos Church Choir (Addis Ababa)

(?) Mulu Wongel Church “A” Choir (Addis Ababa)

Soloists:

Addisu Worku

(?) Atalay Alem (Prof Dr)

(?) Dereje Kebede (Dr)

(?) Legesse Wetro (Prof Dr)

(?)

Released on cassette

1971

(?) Mulu Wongel Church “A” Choir (Addis Ababa)

1973

(?) Mulu Wongel Church “A” Choir (Addis Ababa)

1975

1976

Tsion Choir

Shiferaw Mekuria

1977

Tsion Choir

1978

1979

Mekanisa Mekane Yesus “A” Choir

(?) Mulu Wongel Church “A” Choir (Addis Ababa)

1980

Mekanisa Mekane Yesus “A” Choir

(?) Debre Zeit Mekane Yesus Choir

Dereje Kebede (Dr), cass. 4

1981

1982

1983

1984

Mekanisa Mekane Yesus “A” Choir

1985

1986

1987

(?) Meserete Kristos Church Choir (Addis Ababa)

Caalii Fufaa (Rev)

Getayawkal Girmay & Bruktawit Assefa

1988

Teferi Angose

1989

Caalii Fufaa (Rev)

Getayawkal Girmay & Bruktawit Assefa

1990

1991

Getayawkal Girmay & Bruktawit Assefa

For further reading

Launhardt, Johannes (2004). Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919-1991): With special reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Addis Ababa Synod (Studien zur Orientalischen Kirchengeschichte, 31). M√ľnster: Lit Verlag.

Lundgren, Manfred (1983). Proclaiming Christ to His world: The Experience of Radio Voice of the Gospel, 1957-1977 (Studia missionalia Upsaliensia, 38). Geneva: Lutheran World Federation, Dept. of Communication.