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What is Radio Victoria?
Radio Victoria is a local FM community radio station that transmits from the town of Victoria in the northern hills of El Salvador. The Radio is run primarily by youth who live in the nearby communities. Radio Victoria was started in 1993 to provide residents in this poor, rural area with their own means of communication. Many of the communities in this area are isolated and have no access to telephone services, mail or newspaper delivery.
Radio Victoria has been a lifeline for local communities. The Radio produces its own news show and educational programming. It is a community station that promotes participation and accompanies local communities in their process of human development. The Radio is a place where people can walk in, send out messages and greetings, make announcements, talk about problems, look for answers, question policies and articulate dreams.
The youth that work at the Radio are mostly between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four. Many of them were born and grew up in a refugee camp in Honduras, and returned with their families to El Salvador while the twelve year civil war, from 1980 to 1992, was still raging. The municipality of Victoria was often the site of armed conflict between rebel troops and army battalions.
Radio Victoria transmits a daily news show, produced and presented live by the youth. The news team is made up of reporters, correspondents, digital editors and news anchors. “En Voz Alta” or “Out Loud” goes on the air at noon each week day with local news stories, interviews, opinion surveys and editorials. There are also blocks of national and international news. Every day the Radio feeds local stories to sister community radios for their news shows, and to our National Association of Participative Radios, ARPAS, for their nation-wide evening news broadcast.
The Radio encourages local institutions to participate directly in its programming. The local priest and church youth group each have a weekly show. A local children’s group, a vocational school, the committee against AIDS and community development organizations also present their own show. The Radio promotes local musicians by recording their music in the studio and playing it on the air.
The Radio Victoria team believes it is important to stimulate debate and analysis. There are often live public forums on pressing local problems or responses to world events. The Radio’s education team constantly produces spots and micro-programs on themes ranging from the effects of the free trade agreements and the occupation of Iraq, to children’s rights, women’s rights and how to handle agro-chemicals.
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