Difficulty maintaining a stable radio frequency due to current weather conditions has resulted in the temporary suspension of Radio Mabaruma.
This was conveyed to Stabroek News by a technician attached to the radio station during a visit to Mabaruma, North West District earlier this week.
Trevor Rupan, the technician related that although it was previously reported that the radio station has been off the air due to damaged equipment which occurred in wake of an electrical surge, it is in fact a matter of not being able to maintain a stable radio frequency due to the heavy rains in the region.
“The radio station is working right now but because of the different type of weather… couple with that, a few months ago, there was a high voltage in the area, as well as, an instance where some cattle got into the compound and shifted the dish. We are getting signal but it is on and off… we would have signal for like five minutes and then it would go off back again and come back again,” Rupan explained.
“I received instructions from Georgetown saying that instead of it being on and off, we will keep it off until the technicians from Georgetown arrive to fix it, instead of having it on and off which would frustrate the listeners,” he added.
These technicians he said are expected to make their way to Mabaruma, Region One in the coming days to assess the extent of the problem and implement whatever solutions to have it up and running again.
In the meantime, efforts are underway to establish a 24-hour power supply for Radio Mabaruma for the benefit of its listeners who tune in daily.
“We only have a couple hours of current in the North West, so we are currently trying to rectify the current situation on Brooms Hilltop which would allow us to receive 24 hours of Voice of Guyana from Georgetown,” the technician said.
Commissioned more than a year ago by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Radio Mabaruma joined its sister station Radio Lethem as affiliates of the National Communications Network in Georgetown as part of the efforts to bridge the gap between the coastland and the hinterland.
According to Rupan, though many had been critical of the decision to commission a radio station in Mabaruma, Radio Mabaruma has since become a favourite among the residents of the township and its neighbouring communities.
“When we first started off with the radio programmes we had a lot of critics asking, you know questions like why do we need a radio station, why not TV instead, but I can safely tell you now that if we started off with 35 percent of listeners, we now have at least 95 percent, and we are reaching areas beyond those we had catered for,” he added.
Prior to the suspension, listeners were said to have been able to enjoy the Voice of Guyana as well as local programmes for at least one hour a day on weekdays, three hours on Saturdays and two hours on Sundays.
“Everybody was enjoying the programme, is only now that it is not on air that people are passing by the shop and asking me what happen to the Radio [Station] and when it will be back up, ‘cause they miss it. We have been off the air almost two months and people would still turn on their radios in the morning to see if it’s back on,” the technician said.
“It’s been a very, very big plus in the Region, just that there were the ups and downs that we were not necessarily prepared for because it’s an entirely different situation from Georgetown with the frequency, and from my knowledge it’s not just us here, it’s the same issue in Lethem,” he added.
Another local businessman who spoke to Stabroek News said it was a really good addition to the Region since they hadn’t anything of that nature before, he would however, like to see more educational programmes being aired for the benefit of the younger listeners.
“A lot of people miss it because not everyone has access to DirecTV and so they depended on the radio a lot. So it has come and liven them up and as long as it is down, they going to miss it a lot,” he said.