STAR Radio Blends Urban-Rural Dialogue in Liberia

 
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A key factor to playing an active role in urban-rural dialogue is the capacity to broadcast to a majority of the Liberian population. STAR radio made this a priority over the last year.

Firstly, the radio successfully upgraded its technical facilities in July 2009, by installing a 3-KW FM Broadcast Transmitter, which replaced the 1-KW FM Broadcast Transmitter, in order to improve signal coverage. STAR Radio’s signal coverage has since been extended: the signal is now among the clearest and most reliable of the Monrovia based stations, reaching some 100 kilometres out of the capital city. The Station is monitored in Rivercess, Buchanan, Foya, Kolahun, and Ganta.

The need for this equipment became paramount due to interference and suppression of the 1-Kilowatt Transmitter signal in several areas by the 10-Kilowatt FM Transmitter installed at the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) by the People’s Republic of China. The situation brought serious and constant loss of listenership to STAR radio and needed to be corrected. Humanity United (HU) provided financial assistance to STAR radio in the amount of US$75,000.00 to procure the much-needed FM Transmitter and assist with operations.

After that, STAR Radio restored broadcasting on short-wave 8 hours a day from the 10th of June 2010, Mondays through Fridays. The Station once operated this service using an external provider, but it was discontinued since January 5, 2009 due to its inability to cover the associated high cost. The service was very well appreciated by the general audience, particularly rural residents. So with funding from Swiss Foundation Pro Victimis, a 2.5 KW short-wave transmitter was installed in Monrovia and is directly operated by STAR staff.

Following positive results from days of test transmission, Management launched the SW Service on June 10. A formal event was held at the FM offices and STAR Board Chair performed the launching ceremony. Programs marking the occasion were simulcast on both the FM and the SW services.

Reports being received say the Station has once again captured national coverage as signals are received throughout the Country. Other reports say signals are being received in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. The frequency is 4.025 MHz in the 75 meter band.

These developments are important to the future of STAR radio. Not only do they allow STAR to fulfill its aim to offer independent information to all of Liberia, but they also offer opportunities of increasing self-support. The wider coverage should attract more interest in purchase of commercial airspace and the short-wave transmitter may interest other media outside of STAR's hours of use, thus ensuring income via rental of this service.

Marketing and Sales Workshop at STAR radio in Monrovia
Marketing and Sales Workshop at STAR radio in Monrovia

The one day event taught the Sales representatives different techniques in sales that will help them understand the essence of radio broadcast, its social responsibilities, obligations and principles that guide them in their operations. The participants learned, among other things, to understand the role of STAR radio as a media entity in post-conflict Liberia, become knowledgeable about increasing their sales ,and using their full potential to achieve professionalism in marketing STAR radio with potential sponsors and advertisers.

Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter being interviewed by Star
Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter being interviewed by Star

Mr. Tschetter leads the new team of Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia, the first volunteers to come to Liberia in many years. Twelve new volunteers of the Peace Corps program were sworn in to begin work in Liberia with a focus on education. The American Peace Corps Program withdrew from the Liberia in 1990.

Finance Minister Augustine Ngarfuahn discusses a wide range of financial issues including corruption and budgetary allocation in government with STAR radio’s Moses Wenyou on the program “I Beg to Differ.”

Sorbor George in action on "I Beg to Differ"
Sorbor George in action on "I Beg to Differ"

Two Montserrado County Lawmakers, Former House Speaker Edwin Snowe and Representative Ketterkumeh Murry, were recently featured on STAR radio’s evening debate program “I Beg to Differ” with Sorbor George. They discussed among other topics the merits of the Legislature reviewing audit reports.

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Organization

Project Leader

Caroline Vuillemin

Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland

Where is this project located?

Map of STAR Radio Blends Urban-Rural Dialogue in Liberia