The lone private radio station in Region Ten, 104.3 Power FM, has been threatened with being taken off the air because it has not paid broadcasting licence fees.
Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon made the announcement on April 3rd, at the monthly statutory meeting of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC). Solomon said the management of the radio station is experiencing difficulty in paying the annual broadcasting licence fee of $2.5M.
While pointing out that the radio station, which operates from Richmond Hill, Linden, started operating late last year, Solomon said that it has been billed for $5M since the broadcasting licensing authority is not charging the station from when it commenced operations but from the time it was granted a licence two years ago.
According to Solomon, the management of the radio station has received a letter stating that the station will be shut down in a week’s time. Solomon added that because of the threat, “Those programmes that are not in sync with certain authorities will not be aired.” One such casualty has been a weekly radio programme that was produced on behalf of the Region Ten Democratic Council, although the Region has been up to date in its payment to the radio station.
Solomon has been persistent in calling for Region Ten to have radio and television broadcasting entities that operate independent of the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN), which he said provides one sided news and information in favour of the government and the ruling PPP/C political party.
He told the Region Ten RDC councilors that a radiothon, which was held late last year on 104.3 Power FM to raise money for the proposed Region Ten Television Broadcas-ting Station, received pledges amounting to $5M but that amount of money has not been collected. He said it is ironic that the region’s programme was stopped just after the radiothon. As a result, he and others, who are spearheading the project, have been unable to explain the situation to the public. “It’s not funny. It’s not funny at all,” Solomon said.