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A Los Angeles-based entrepreneur has signed an exclusive five-year contract with China's state-owned China National Radio to broadcast American pop music over the network starting next year.

The deal calls for the China USA Entertainment Corp. to provide the CNR with four hours of music programming per week. The music is expected to be heard by an estimated 700 million Chinese listeners.Financial terms of the contract, negotiated in Los Angeles by China USA Entertainment Corp. founder Don Altfeld and Chinese government officials, were not disclosed.

China USA Entertainment will produce two programs for the CNR, "The History of American Pop/Rock Music 1954-1994" and "The American Countryside," which will feature classic and contemporary country music, Altfeld said. The programs are scheduled to debut Jan. 1.

Each hour of programming will have about 10 minutes of advertising. The Radisson Hotels chain was the first major U.S. corporation to sign on as a sponsor, Altfeld said.

The younger generation in China has an insatiable appetite for American pop music, according to Wang Jianru, deputy director-general of the CNR, who was in Los Angeles Thursday to finalize the deal.

The government, meanwhile, believes opening up the airwaves to Western influences is an important step for the Chinese people, which will also have a positve impact U.S.-Chinese relations, Jianru said.

In a similar move, a Seattle-based entrepreneur recently won the government's approval to bring the first Broadway show to China. The Gershwin musical comedy "Crazy For You" is expected to do a short tour of China this winter.

"Any kind of interchange that is helpful to furthering understanding between our two peoples is something (the Chinese government) seeks," Jianru said. "This will open up the possibility of further interchanges between our two countries."

Although Altfeld's company will select the songs, CNR officials will listen to the programs in advance, "to see if it (the lyrical content) fits into the condition of China," Jianru said. "But generally speaking, there is no problem with (pop music)," he said.