The Voice of Tappita, one of Liberia’s Nimba County’s oldest community radio stations which was voted “2008 Best Community Radio Station in Liberia” by the Press Union of Liberia, is on the verge of closure due to a power shortage for operations.
The station began in 2005 and has since depended on Orange, previously known as Celcom GSM Company, for electricity for broadcasting. The company, however, announced their plans to move its Telecom Tower, where Tappita is placed, to its new facility. As a result, stations that have been in operation for more than 15 years are worried that they will be left in the dark.
Jacob Bantu, Tappita’s Technical Supervisor, indicated that the station held numerous fundraising drives to raise capital for building a solar panel plant to power their station. Unfortunately, at this stage, the station has not reached its target.
Mr Bantu mentioned that the construction of the solar panel would cost the entity US$24,000, including the acquisition of new equipment in line with the two quotations from A&J Pacific Enterprise Limited, a solar energy company in Liberia.
“The station has been in operation for 17 years, but we are now on the verge of a breakdown as a result of equipment deterioration and the lack of power since Orange will be moving to its new facility in Thomas Hill.
The installation of a solar panel is estimated at US$12,000 and is guaranteed to last 25 years, and the purchasing of an antenna, new mixer, transmitter, amongst things, will cost US$12,473.55.
He further stated that the station is unable to move along with Orange Liberia to their new facility; the management has utilized the little they had to improve their station.
Mr Bantu added that they had the West African Power Poll electricity in Tappita, but its unstable power supply has damaged some of their equipment. “These are trying moments for the station, and we request public assistance to save us,” he said.
The equipment currently being used by the station was donated by the Liberia Media Center (LMC) through the Radio Netherlands Training Center INFORMATRAC program and USAID through IREX.