Linden readies to begin operating TV station
– though handing over deadline passed
Although the official handing over of the transmitter is already two weeks past the deadline, Linden is getting set to begin operating the television channel, which formed part of the agreement between Region 10 authorities and the government over ending the five-week protest by residents recently.
A private investor is already on board and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) will serve as a monitor.
According to Regional Chairman Kuice Sharma Solomon the materials and equipment in line with the agreement have not been officially handed over to the people of Linden as was expected two weeks ago. “Nonetheless, we have inspected the dish and the tower site. There is no tower there but we have started the construction of a 150ft tower which is almost complete.” said Solomon.
Asked if he foresees any difficulties with the official handing over, Solomon said it is his hope that government will stick to the agreement and not cause any further delay.
While the tower nears completion, the acquisition of other equipment and materials necessary for the operation to take full effect is well in train. A popular personality in local television ownership and management, has already invested several million dollars to get the operation going. “At this stage we don’t want to make the name of the person public for many reasons, but this is someone who had owned a television station before,” Solomon said.
Through the RDC it was agreed that the TV station will operate under a partnership arrangement which will see the setting up of a management committee and a board of directors.
A Lindener has been identified as the possible general manager and some five persons are to commence training to be employed at the TV station.
These names have also not been made public.
The local body had hired and paid a specialist who was tasked with the responsibility of applying for the operations’ licence. “Unfortunately we have not had an official handing over on the part of the government,” the chairman said.
Solomon said he was in the process of preparing a letter to the authorities that would speak to the delay of the handing over of the transmitter and the issue of the economic development committee.
He said both sides have submitted names for that committee but its constitution seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.
At the Richmond Hill location where the TV station was originally located before it was destroyed by fire some years ago, an 8ft x 8ft building is under construction which will accommodate the operators and the operations. Solomon said the dish is said to be in a good functioning state. “I am hoping that within the next two weeks we would see significant progress with the establishment, we have commenced discussions on programming.”
Back in the 1980s Green Construction had donated the first TV station, Channel 13, as a gift to the bauxite workers and the residents of Linden.
The operations were managed at the time by Guymine, which some years later put a second channel into operation—Channel 8—under Linmine.
Later when bauxite was experiencing a downturn, there was an unbundling process which saw the two channels being placed under the management of a board supervised by Bidco. During this time the TV operation was receiving an annual subvention from the government. With the establishment the National Communications Network (NCN) the two channels were transferred to that entity.
For years, Lindeners have been lobbying for the provision of other TV stations to be allowed to operate in the town, stating that they were being subjected to biased television. Similar claims have been made by residents of Ituni and Kwakani.