FM Broadcast Stations supporting Disaster Victims

by BHN Association
Minami-Souma FM Studio
Minami-Souma FM Studio

Final Report for “FM Broadcast Stations Supporting Disaster Victims”


From August 05 to August 08 BHN made a round trip to install UPS (Un-interruptible Power Supply) systems to FM broadcast stations in Tohoku district.

The city of Minami-Souma, Fukushima Pref., was the 1st destination as it recently suffered damage to radio facilities from a thunder surge and the radio emission has been suspended.  In this city about one third of the citizens are still evacuating from their homes to escape the atomic contamination and the radio broadcast is badly needed to know the local  information on disaster recovery and also to know the news of their relatives and friends.

In the city of Natori, Miyagi Pref., a new studio was built recently and the UPS was installed in the city hall.

In the town of Ohtsuchi, Iwate Pref., the radio emission antenna is located on a mountain top and was accessible only by all-wheel drive car, yet, the work had to be prolonged to next day due to the heavy rain fall by a storm.

With the completion of these UPS systems, BHN completed all the planned construction works for FM Broadcast Stations in Tohoku district.

We wish to sincerely thank to all who supported our project via GlobalGiving since the disaster occurred in 2011.   Although our construction assistance to those broadcast stations is ending, they may have many problems and encounter difficult issues that may need support from us.  We are firmly resolved to keep assisting them in the coming days.

Thank again to all!

UPS in Minami-Souma
UPS in Minami-Souma
UPS on Mountain Top
UPS on Mountain Top
Participants from Kobe, Kyoto and other areas
Participants from Kobe, Kyoto and other areas

In Tohoku area, many of the community broadcasting stations were initially established for the purpose of disaster reduction and disseminating information for urgent daily necessity; e.g. distribution of foods & other urgent needs.

In the lapse of time, 3 years after the disaster, the radio programs are gradually shifting to supply information to enhance people's quality of life or to rebuild the communities lost by the disaster.

However, for such functions of community broadcasting to be sustainable, strong support by the community people is indispensable to gain financial aid from the municipality as most of the broadcasting stations have subsistence problems.

In April, further to improve the quality of the programs and serve better to local needs, broadcasting stations in Tohoku area jointly held a forum in Minami-soma Temporary Disaster Broadcasting Station, and over 30 operational staffs gathered to discuss & exchange their experiences.

Also, a little behind the schedule by technical reason, BHN Association plans to install uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems to the last remaining two stations in Tohoku area soon.

Participants discussing future plans
Participants discussing future plans
Office with master control function
Office with master control function

In the city of Natori which suffered 1,000 human loss and 5,000 buildings destroyed by the Tsunami in 2011, BHN has been assisting the municipal government to move and install new radio broadcasting systems since about a year ago. BHN’s functions in the work were to design the system configuration, to assist the bidding procedure for contract and to supervise the construction works done by the contractors.

By December last year, the studio structure was completed and the broadcasting equipment was installed and it is now ready for practical operation which will commence very soon.

After the completion of all the contracted construction works, BHN plans to donate UPS (Un-interruptible Power Supply) systems for the studio and radio emitting station soon in the course of January - February.

From time to time, BHN is requested to resolve technical problems in other broadcasting stations in Tohoku area. Among other technical troubles the failure with the Amplifier Limiter is the major cause of claims from the audience.   To quickly fix such Limiter failures, BHN plans to equip a spare Limiter in the city of Natori which will be shared by other broadcasting stations in the Tohoku area, as the city is located in the center of the area.

Now on air
Now on air
Preparing for the installation
Preparing for the installation

The town of Ohtsuchi, which suffered heavy damage by the Tsunami, is a typical hilly coastal town in Iwate Prefecture and many of the temporal houses for the Tsunami victims were built and scattered in the valleys.

BHN built the broadcasting antenna on the highest peak in the town, however, the broadcasting radio wave could not reach well to many of such scattered temporal houses.

Under such circumstances, BHN is now discussing with the town to establish a fundamental solution and, as its 1st step, installed non-stop power circuits in the Ohtsuchi Broadcasting Station at the end of September.

Soon after this, BHN will build a new broadcasting branch studio on a hill to work as an alternative station to replace the main station at a time of emergency and could continue the broadcasting works.

Climbing the steep ladder with a heavy equipment
Climbing the steep ladder with a heavy equipment
Watari temporal radio station
Watari temporal radio station

By the end of last June, BHN Association installed a non-stop power system for the broadcasting station in the Town of Watari.

Until then, once the commercial power supply is suspended, it was always necessary to manually start again which needed some person to rush to the radio station at night.

The system is composed of 6 high-capacity batteries in total for the radio emitter & antenna, automatic power chargers and other equipment.  To minimize the cost to install the system BHN has hand-fabricated the non-stop power circuits(which cost around $10,000 in the market).

With the installation of this non-stop operation system, they are now able to continue broadcasting over 8 hours at the time of blackouts.   This work has been realized with the funds from Global Giving .

Almost the entire radio system in Watari broadcasting station was built by BHN and they are planning to transform from a “temporal radio station” to a normal “community radio station” next year.

BHN is now consulting with Ohtuchi broadcasting station(in Iwate Prefecture) to improve the listening difficulties in the mountain areas and, after fixing the listening problem, we also intend to install the same non-stop power system there.

Non-stop power system
Non-stop power system

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Organization Information

BHN Association

Location: Taito-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Hirofumi Aizawa
Project Manager
Taito-ku, Tokyo Japan

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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