U.S.-Sponsored Arabic Stations Pay Off

America's efforts to counteract the ill effects of Arabic satellite station Al Jazeera (search) appear to be paying off.

The first ratings are in for Al Hurra (search) — the U.S.-based Arabic language television station that just went on the air in February, and they look promising.

"Al Hurra" means "the free one" in Arabic. From its studios in Springfield, Va., it broadcasts news and public affairs programming throughout the Middle East and is available on all the same satellites where its long-standing competitors, Qatar-based Al Jazeera and Al Aribiya (search) are seen.

The idea is to counter what the Bush administration feels is anti-American propaganda on stations like the Al Jazeera news channel. The Pentagon also launched Al Ariqiya (search), the Iraqi television network.

Preliminary ratings, based on phone surveys in major Middle Eastern cities in the first part of April, show that an average of 20 percent of the homes contacted had tuned in to Al Hurra during the weeklong period.

And Radio Sawa (search), the U.S.-sponsored Arabic radio station, is also growing in popularity. It's been on the air for two years and station managers are ecstatic, saying the results are far better than they expected this soon.

Click here to watch a report by Fox News' Steve Centanni.