“Without Community Radio Lokobetar 99.2 , we don’t know what would have been happened to us. We flee the disaster, along with our children at evening and reached cyclone center after hearing new on the radio. And we returned when we again heard Lokobetar’s announcement on mobile phone.
Without Lokobetar we could not even sleep at night.” Bilkis Begum from Sidr affected Barguna’s Majher Chor, was telling her experience, as she had lost her near and dear ones in cyclone in the 2007. On April 11, 2012 when people of Borguna were remaining deeply worried over the possibility of a Tsunami, community radio Lokobetar was their only friend. There was no electricity till 10 at night, but the local residents were listening to Lokobetar’s news.
They received latest weather news through the community radio. In t his regard, Lokobetar’s station manager Monir Hossain informed that their station on air till 11pm at the night of April 11. They aired special weather bulletin in each 15 minute gap. He further informed that people from remoter areas, who could not receive Lokobetar made phone calls to the station to know latest update about Tsunami.
The news was published in major local newspaper, including Ajker Borishal, Amader Borishal on the following day. Popular Bengali daily “Prothom Alo” published a special story on April 13, with the headline “Community radio: a support of coastal people”. The Bengali
daily also published an editorial on April 14 on the same issue.
Community radio Lokobetar, established in coastal district Barguna under the patronization of Non-government organization Mass-line Media Center (MMC)- has rapidly created a stir among local residents. The radio has emerged as a blessing for the destitute people, who are living outside the coverage of modern cable network.
These people are showing great interest to listen to radio program on scheduled times. On the other hand, local artists and activists of all ages are thronging the radio station with great enthusiasm and curiosity to take part in its programs. Lokobetar started its journey on May 27, 2010 and is currently broadcasting on 99.2 fm bands. The station is running form a second storied building near West Borguna Sadar Road. It is working to raise awareness among local residents of disaster management healthcare, education and agriculture through broadcasting programs on these important issues.
Lokobetar authority informed that as a non-profit organization, it is airing various programs on agriculture, commerce, community education, health and society, women rights, rural development, environment, weather, culture and so on. It is prioritizing local residents in all radio related issues. The community radio will help people during disasters or emergency situations. Moreover, it will also produce programs as per the local resident’s demands.
The radio is currently broadcasting between the hours of 3pm to 7pm. However, it has plans to extend the broadcast time to 6-8 hours a day.
The station will also broadcast entertainment program, magazine program and interviews. It is now distributing radio sets among listeners through a quiz show. The community radio is also airing news on 5.30 and 6.30 pm every day. Lokobetar’s coordinator Tarek Mahmud informed that station manager, program officer, audit officer, management assistant, audio editor and assistant – a total six people are working at the radio. In addition, 20 volunteers, who received training from UNICEF, MMC and BNNRC are also working for the community radio. 25 people of the station received radio related training.
Lokobetar’s station manager Monir Hossain Kamal informed that the radio is encouraging farmers, fishermen and small merchants by broadcasting programs on their profession. The station will put a long lasting impact on the area’s socio-economic development, he expressed hopes. More than one hundred listeners regularly send SMS to the station.
Lokobetar celebrated its first establishment anniversary on May 27, 2012 with great festivities. Several special programs including rally, discussion, quiz and prize giving ceremony were carried out to mark the day.
However, Lokobetar is going through a number of limitations, of which financial crisis is eminent. Moreover, the station has to depend on IPS or Generator whenever electricity is gone. In addition, the station needs skilled manpower, while special training is necessary
to improve the skills of its employees and volunteers for bettering their quality to produce and broadcast programs, news collection, production, editing and several other issues.
Radio Lokobetar 99.2
Sadar Road, West Barguna,
Tel : 0448 62688
Cell: 01716 327151, 01730943499