Media Institute of Southern Africa Lesotho chapter (MISA Lesotho) has marked the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day with the launch of Butha-Buthe Community Radio; Moeling FM in the Butha-Buthe district in the north of the country.
The radio station is the country’s fourth community radio after Motjoli FM (Thaba-Tseka Community Radio), Mafeteng Community Radio and DOPE FM of the National University of Lesotho.
The event was graced with the presence and speeches by the newly appointed Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Khotso Letsatsi; Lesotho Communications Authority Chief Executive Office, Manehela Phosholi; Head of Media and Research of the Institute of Extra Mural Studies, Mabela Khabele; Butha-Buthe District Administrator, Lehlohonolo Qhasho, Moeling FM inventor, Taoana Lerole and MISA Lesotho National Director, Tsebo Mats’asa.
Moeling FM is a brainchild of Taoana Lerole, a radio set repairer in Mabothile, a village on the outskirts of Butha-Buthe town.
Lerole, who only completed Standard 6, put together pieces of radio sets together to build a radio station in 2012.
The radio was taken off air the same year as it was operating without a license. (It is illegal for anyone to operate a radio station in Lesotho without registering it with the Lesotho Communications Authority.)
The radio station also did not have standard equipment and was operated from Lerole’s family home with the antenna mounted on a tree at a backyard of house. The transmitter was made of a DVD player.
In effort to assist Lerole to achieve his dream of his home town having a radio station, the UNESCO Commission in Lesotho advanced a helping hand with funds.
The UNESCO Commission can not assist individuals; therefore the community of Butha-Buthe was advised to support and join Lerole’s project through their indigenous groups to secure funding.
UNESCO thereafter approached MISA Lesotho to oversee the project and help with the design and construction of the radio studio.
The station is now located in the staff residential house of the office of the district administrator, which had been empty for a year before the station moved in.
As well as providing technical and project management support for the establishment of the studio, MISA Lesotho also provided governance training to Moeling FM’s new Board Members on how to run a community radio station.
MISA Lesotho also provided training to the newly appointed radio presenters. The purpose of the training was to equip the volunteers with skills to professionally produce programmes of good quality.
During the celebration, Lerole was also awarded a certificate and trophy in recognition of his innovation.
For more information, please contact:
Tsebo Mats’asa, National Director