Radio Broadcast License Pending in Burkina Faso

Post a Comment » Written on March 1st, 2007     
Filed under: News
DJIBO, BURKINA FASO (March 1, 2007) – At least three months may be needed to learn whether a broadcast license will be issued for an FM station that Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries are helping to start.

The application was submitted Saturday, says Galen Johnson, who is serving in the West African nation with his wife, Jill.

The station will not have “evangelistic” programming, but will broadcast the reading of scripture along with news and music produced in the region, says Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Organizers also hope to contribute to the social development of the region by broadcasting public affairs programming on issues such as health, education and AIDS.

Broadcasts will be done in Fulfulde, the local language of the Fulani. The Fulani are a semi-nomadic herding people.

Listening to the radio is a social event, Peterson says. People will gather on the streets to listen together to someone’s small private radio, but reception is spotty because the nearest radio station is 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. The new radio station will be picked up easily because it will transmit in the Djibo area.

The process has taken several years and has encountered multiple obstacles – the challenges continued even while preparing to submit the application. Stephen Davies, who works with a partnering organization, submitted the necessary paperwork, but had to spend several hours over the course of two frustrating days obtaining money from the bank for the escrow account that was required.

“I was told that my application for a deposit had been refused,” he notes. “Then it was un-refused. Then I was passed higher up the chain and it was flatly refused again – and un-refused again. And finally the typist, who was told by her superior to type the deposit, refused to type it. Only when I threatened to close the account there did she finally relent. The whole process took three hours.”

Johnson is quick to say people should be cautious in holding to a three-month timeline for the application to be considered. On a continent where everything from business meetings to weddings often starts several hours late, sticking to a time frame is not a highly regarded cultural value.

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