Catholic radio resumes brodcast, reduces on-air hours

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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] Radio Easter (94 FM) has resumed broadcasting again but has reduced the number of hours it will be on air.
The station is one of the nine Catholic radio stations in South Sudan, and one of the four local stations in Yei.
A thunder strike nearly three months ago damaged the station’s transmitter, forcing the administration to take it for repair in Italy.
On Sunday, it reopened, playing gospel songs and while normal broadcasts followed on Monday.
Radio Easter was broadcasting for eighteen hours a day before the onset of political and economic crisis. However, it has reduced to nine hours a day, five in the morning and six hours in the evening – ending at 09:00 p.m.
“Radio Easter is back on air after almost three months of being off-air,” said Fr. Emmanuel Lodongo, the station director.
Yei Electric Cooperative (YECO), the town’s main public power supply ceased operations months ago as a result of fuel shortage. This has forced broadcasters to seek alternative sources of power.
The four local radio stations in Yei, namely; Spirit FM, EPC radio, Liberty FM and Radio Easter have resorted to using their own generators to continue broadcasting.
Fr. Emmanuel said the station has put off many programmes and merged others. He has called for support from partners and listeners for the radio to continue providing its services.
“We have limited resources; therefore we shall start our usual programmes from five to nine in the evening,” he said. He added that the station will provide news, evangelism, educational and entertainment programmes.
The reduction in broadcast hours has deprived communities of educational information and entertainment, said Juma, a listener who called in on Monday.
“We really missed our updates because the Vivacell network goes off,” he said in a telephone call as the radio tested its signal reach. “On Sunday, sometimes I just open my radio and listen to the prayers on the radio.”
South Sudan’s economy has deteriorated since the country slipped into civil war following a political flare up in 2013 in Juba between President Salva Kiir’s forces and those loyal to the country’s former first vice president Riek Machar.
Machar fled clashes in Juba after he had returned to implement the agreement on the resolution of conflict in a transitional government of national unity.
General Taban Deng Gai was later appointed Machar’s replacement to implement the peace agreement alongside President Kiir. However, fighting in some parts of the country is shaking the agreement.
President Kiir has called for a national dialogue which will involve the grassroots to discuss issues of peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and development.

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