Community media in Myanmar took a giant leap last month with the launch of Khayae FM, Myanmar's first community radio station, the first to take advantage of the new broadcasting law passed on August 28, 2015 which supports the development of community media in Myanmar.
Based at the Village Development Committee (VDC) Headquarters in Atwin They Phyu village, Khayae FM covers the southern half of Htan Tabin township, reaching over 80,000 people. Broadcasting on 104.8 MHz, the station offers a mixture of news, talk shows, music and a platform for local people to share their concerns through regular phone-in shows.
Khayae FM is run entirely by volunteers, who fulfil every role from collecting news to presenting shows live on air, to recording radio dramas addressing local issues. The team are guided by two station managers who are also members of the local VDC. One station manager, U Hla Naing, said "I'm proud to be a part of this. We really hope to deliver the right message to the Htan Tabin public on the economy and education as much as we can. I'm grateful to all those who helped to make this dream come true."
Funding for the project came from DW Akademie – a German media development organisation, who also provided radio production training and worked with the MRTV to help get Khayae FM on the air. "The launch of Khayae FM is a huge step forward for Myanmar's media", said Thomas Baerthlein, DW Akademie's project manager. "Private media outlets have boomed since the political opening after 2010 but most are restricted to the main urban areas. In the countryside, where the majority of the population still lives, citizens have had very few opportunities to receive and share information that is relevant to them. Community radios that cover local matters useful for people's everyday lives such as health and agriculture can fill this gap."
MRTV also provided technical support, installing a 15m tower and putting up the antennas. The station equipment was supplied and installed by RadioActive, a UK-based company dedicated to supporting community radio stations around the world. RadioActive also sent two engineers to train up the station team to use the studio equipment for radio production and live broadcasting. RadioActive Director Max Graef said "Khayae FM is our 75th community radio project. Community radio can have a massive impact, especially considering the low start-up and running costs. It is exciting to see the first station launch here in Myanmar and we hope many other townships in the country will have their own station in the not too distant future."
Anyone interested in doing so can contact Max Graef from RadioActive firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Khayae FM, please contact Thomas Bärthlein at email@example.com