BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large Western Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
GLENDEVON, St James - OVER the past few weeks, residents of several crime-riddled communities across St James have been tuning in to a brand new community radio station, MORE FM.
Broadcasting on 91.7 MHz from the inner-city community of Glendevon under the theme 'the station that drives strong community energy', MORE FM has already had its fair share of listenership.
"The community of Glendevon has long been established but has over the years been largely neglected by political representatives," said Patrick Williams, CEO Global Community Broadcasting Network, operators of the station, adding that the area is in need of social intervention to spur growth and development.
"As such, with years of experience in media and communications, we have recognised the need for a potent voice to fully articulate the needs and concerns of the community and surrounding areas and so a radio station is the medium of choice."
Williams pointed out that the station intends to reflect the positive attributes of the broadcast area and to relay messages designed to arrest debilitating acts, as well as to become a catalyst to spur growth and development in the area.
Since last month, the station — which is transmitting from Williams' crammed living room in Glendevon — is being heard in communities such as Glendevon, Flanker, Norwood, Farm Heights, Rose Heights, Canterbury, Mount Salem, Salt Spring, Railway Lane, Cornwall Courts, and Hart Street.
The idea of a radio station was conceived by a group of young professionals, including Williams, who are knowledgeable in the field of communications.
Williams stressed that despite the high level of crime and violence in the broadcast area, there are a lot of positives there.
He noted that the station's employees who are drawn from the broadcast area will be hosting a wide variety of programmes, aimed at transforming the communities within its reach.
"All of these persons will be required to deliver the message which will help to develop and empower the communities," Williams stressed.
He added that a number of NGO's and state agencies, as well as private sector organisations will be utilised in the station's offerings, as it seeks to cover a number of community-oriented activities.
Former media practitioner Christopher Hylton believes that the birth of the station is most timely.
"The geographical areas in which the station covers have been grappling over the years with a negative image of crime which has stymied the development of these communities and so MORE FM has an awesome responsibility to bridge the gap..." he explained.
According to Hylton, the station will have to create and develop a niche, particularly where its programming is concerned.
"It is incumbent on the owners of this station to stay the course and remain true to their mandate of being the beacon and satellite, and most importantly, the voice of the people in these afflicted communities," he stressed.
He argued that MORE FM has joined the media fraternity at "the right time and the station is located at the right place".
"I want to use this medium to encourage all and sundry, the political leadership in Montego Bay, the business community and all civic-minded Montegonians to come on board and support this station in an effort to rebuild Montego Bay's battered image," said Hylton.
And Dr Horace Chang, in whose constituency the station is based, has also given the entity his blessings.
"I want to commend Williams and the rest of the guys who are involved in the project. The station will certainly change the image of Glendevon and in fact the entire broadcast area," said Chang.
Meanwhile, Dorette Blake, who has been operating a grocery shop in Glendevon for more than 20 years, said she has high hopes for the station.
"I expect a lot of things from MORE FM... news, good music, and a lot or community programming that will uplift the area and will let it be known that it is not only bad people live here," she remarked.