During the Cuban Revolution, a guerrilla gang of Castro’s protected their precious shortwave radio transmitters, even if government troops were chasing them. Through radio broadcasting, they gave justifiable reasons for their revolution to farmers. It was a ‘pirate radio’.
Pirate radio is a broadcast without a government’s official permission. In the past, many pirate radio programs were broadcasted. At a certain frequency, a host can broadcast what he wants to say. However, nowadays, there are hardly ever any pirate radio stations. Instead of pirate radio, there is ‘community radio’, which is about reinvigorating a community or radio genre.
Community radio puts out little power. (소출력 라디오) The global standard of small radio is between 1 and 100 watts. The size of output varies among nations. In Korea, the output of community radio stations is lower than 10 watts. Since community radio has a small output, its broadcast area is within a five-kilometer radius. Budget and human resources are also inadequate so volunteers help with maintenance of the broadcasting studio, and community radio is a nonprofit organization that cannot relay on commercial broadcasts. It makes it harder to manage budgets.
In Korea, there are eight regions managing community radio enterprises. In other countries like Japan, Australia, U.S.A and the United Kingdom, there are about 50 to 500 enterprises. Compared with foreign counties, enterprises are rare. However, this year, the Korean Broadcasting Commission will select and help fund certain community radio enterprises, and the gap of radio enterprises will narrow.
When heavy earthquakes hit Kobe, Japan, key broadcasting stations announced the total number of casualties. On the other hand, community radio told people where they could find safe sleeping accommodations and get food. Rather than just giving out formal data, the practical information was helpful to the refugees.
Now, community radio is giving useful information to village people. The new lines up of programs contain information for homemakers, immigrant workers and storekeepers. These various and general radio listeners actively take part in the programs. Here are some examples of what can be done.
-Function of observation (Politics and Social affairs)
Community radio can inform local residents how local politicians fulfill their political affairs. If the residents’ interest is increased, their interests and concerns about politics will be reflected in establishing policy. As a result, politics can be revitalized; and community radio can note crime incidents or environmental pollution.
-Extending local customs and traditions
Community radio can find out about precious local customs and traditions and introduce them to the local community. Through this work, a local culture can be revitalized.
-Provides an escape from central radio stations’ broadcasting
Community radio gives possible alternatives for the listeners, and keeps a balance of programming.
-Cultivating a community spirit
Community radio can tell and encourage people to participate in developing the local community. Through this process, people can become aware of what their local community represents.
-Giving a chance to the disadvantaged or minorities
Finding opinions from the underprivileged or minorities in media are hard. Community radio gives access to them. Thus, the diversities in society will increase.
Compared to television, people’s opinions are less filtered in radio programs. This is one reason radio is humane and arouses listener’s sympathy. Among huge radio broadcasting studios, community radio started to expand its influence little by little. These days, citizens easily become unimaginative, because of their busy life. Through a reinvigoration of community radio, people can recover the vitality in their life. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >