Radio License Denial May Prove a Blessing

Post a Comment » Written on May 4th, 2007     
Filed under: News
DJIBO, BURKINA FASO (May 4, 2007) – The denial of a license to start an FM radio station may prove to be a blessing, says Evangelical Covenant Church missionary Galen Johnson, who is serving in the West African nation with his wife, Jill.

Johnson had worked with several other organizations to submit the application in February, but his first choice had not been to start a station because of the high operating costs, he says. The group saw no other choice, however, if they wanted to broadcast the programming as an outreach to the Fulani people.

No other station covered the targeted area, and the partners did not know if there was any competition for the available license or who it might be.

The license recently was awarded to a development agency with long ties to the area, Johnson says. “When I heard they had applied, I was pretty certain they would get it.”

Programming planned for the station still could be aired by that organization, Johnson says. “We should be able to buy radio time, so we anticipate getting our programs out there.”

That is what Johnson really wanted from the beginning. “My first choice was to focus on programming and get it on secular radio stations.”

Programming will include installments of a chronological Bible study, each of which is 15-minutes long. Several different installments will run throughout each day. Johnson hopes small groups as well as individuals will use the programs.

The 102 lessons were initially developed in Senegal and are being translated for the Fulani. The first 28 lessons are completed, Johnson says.

“We still hope to put together a radio drama that would focus on life’s challenges,” Johnson notes. Recordings of the New Testament also are being prepared for broadcast.

Johnson says that since submitting the application, he has learned of a Christian radio station whose signal stretches into much of the area he and others were hoping to reach. That station also will most likely carry the programming that Johnson and others initially intended to broadcast.

Johnson says he is pleased the only other applicant was denied. “They are the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Islam, and we would never have gotten our programming on there.”

Johnson had been working with several organizations to start a radio station that would broadcast the reading of scripture along with news and music produced in the region. Plans also called for the station to contribute to the social development of the region by broadcasting public affairs programming on issues such as health, education and AIDS.

The broadcasts will be done in Fulfulde, the local language of the Fulani, a semi-nomadic herding people. Listening to the radio is a social event for the Fulani. People will gather together on the streets to listen to someone’s small private radio; however, reception usually is spotty because the nearest radio station is 200 kilometers (124 miles) away.

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