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It's God's Time for Christian Radio in Papua New Guinea

Saturday, September 1, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags:

By Dan Wooding

PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, April 7, 2001 (ANS) - Papua New Guinea (PNG), a country where more than 700 different languages and dialects are spoken, will soon have Christian radio in the two main languages - English and Tok Pisin, a pidgin language based on English, German, and Melanesian languages.

Warren Rout, a staff member of UCB International handling their Australian Projects, announced this news recently during the UCB International Broadcaster's Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

Rout said, in an interview, that Australian broadcaster, Bill Chambers, who was trained at the Radio Rhema FM station in Darwin, has gained a broadcasting license for Wewak, which is located in the east Sepik province of New Guinea.

"Bill is progressively working on getting a station on air and has a license that will give him one kilowatt of power that will enable him to broadcast to the whole Wewak region.

"Bill really has a feel for Christian radio for the whole of New Guinea. This looks liking being the first of seven licenses granted to Christian broadcasters in PNG."

He said that Wewak is located about 400 kilometers to the west of where a Tsunamis tidal wave wiped out a whole city, and quite close to the West Irian border.

"The broadcasts will be in English and also in Tok Pisin, which is the most common language taught in the schools there," said Rout. "The station will be called Life fm which, when spelt in English, will read Laif fm.

"Most people understand Tok Pisin, but where they don't understand pidgin, there will be a translator available for that particular area, but English and Tok Pisin is taught in the schools and between these two it should cover, at least in the cities we are aiming at where there has been a large migration."

Rout then added, "Papua New Guinea, which gained independence from Australia in 1975, has more languages than any other country on earth, partly because of the isolation of many of the unreached groups that live in the mountains and in the very deep ravines. It is a very mountainous country, which then presents a lot of problems for broadcasters, but those who have the technical know-how out of Port Moresby are familiar with the problems and they do entertain having a primary transmitter, using repeaters to fill in the dead stops that are occasioned by these very steep walled canyons.

"We have a priority listing that is based on the practicalities of the situation in PNG, but I would say that within twelve to eighteen months, we will be in the highlands in Goroka and then a costal town that is related to a lot of tourism, which is in Madang. Following on that we head for what for New Guineans is the 'big smoke', which is Port Moresby."

He concluded by saying, "We are excited about it, but it is very early days. The wonderful part about it that quite a few of the officers of Pangtell, the parent organization for the telephone company that issues broadcast licenses are very sympathetic to the Gospel.

"I think it is God's time for Christian radio in Papua New Guinea."

Assist News Service. Used with Permission.

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