After two years of struggling with its signal, Mangrove Radio began transmitting from Ciudad Romero again after receiving a new frequency at the beginning of October.
Mangrove Radio was started in 2001. The youth who ran it created the programming including local, regional, and national news. In 2010, due to problems with the frequency, Mangrove Radio was forced to go off the air, and thus began the two year struggle to get Mangrove Radio up and running again.
Between 2010 and 2012, a team from the Mangrove Association was continually working to get Mangrove Radio back up and running again. They contacted the General Supervision of Electricity and Telecommunications (SIGET) continually to establish a new frequency but that led them to many dead ends. The team simultaneously worked closely with the local municipality, hoping to obtain a frequency through them but that too fell through. Meanwhile, with the hope that the new frequency would eventually be approved, the team of radio hosts began to prepare with workshops and trainings held by the Association of Radios and Participatory Programs (ARPAS). In the end, it took collaboration with ARPAS and the Presidential Secretary of Communication to gain approval. After two years, the Mangrove Association was able to obtain their own frequency and without the high cost that normally provides a serious obstacle for community radio stations.
Mangrove Radio’s new frequency- 106.1- is currently transmitting throughout the Lower Lempa and is in a test stage, operating in the mornings from 6am to 8am, then again in the evenings from 5pm to 9pm. It is projected to be operating all day long by December 15, from 5am to 10pm. The twelve youth in charge of programming, ranging in age from 17 to 30 years old, participate in a weekly workshop where they learn about radio management, how to communicate news, vocal projection, recording and editing. They also practice hosting radio shows and are in the process of creating programing which will include local and international news, information on projects managed by La Coordinadora, political commentary, and information about cultural activities.
David Marroquin, one of the youth who forms part of the radio team notes how the radio was born out of the desires of the community. “We need an alternative media source. The communities don’t feel represented by the media,” he says. “It’s important that the communities identify with [Mangrove Radio].”
Lead by Mario Martinez, a member of the original Mangrove Radio team, this new group of youth is ready to take on the challenge of representing the communities and helping their voices be heard.
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