MONROVIA—The Free Presbyterian Mission Church of Liberia (FPMCOL), the mission work of the Free Presbyterian Church of North America, commenced broadcasting from their newly constructed radio station on their mission property outside of Monrovia, Liberia, late Thursday afternoon.
The mission had been testing their frequency from a neighboring station with a used transmitter that they eventually purchased and brought over to their own property.
Three weeks ago they constructed a 150-foot, guy-wire, tower on their property, and Thursday they mounted an antenna on top and began transmitting on 92.5 FM, a frequency granted to them for testing by the Liberian government.
“We had initially removed a used antenna from a neighboring station with the hopes of repairing it and buying it,” Rev. David DiCanio, a missionary in Liberia with the FPMCOL, said. “After several tests we decided it could not be repaired.”
After a few phone calls from the station’s hired technician, DiCanio found a better antenna for roughly the same price.
“Several church members reported that they could hear the signal, and the technician said he could hear it in a town beyond Monrovia,” Mr. DiCanio said. “I drove around last night and could hear the signal a good 45 minute drive away.”
The station is currently running a 1000-watt transmitter with a “four-bay” antenna, which throws twice the amount of signal as a one-bay antenna.
The radio station tower stands 150 feet tall.
“We would love to get a 2000-watt signal going, but LTA would probably not grant that,” Mr. DiCanio said. “They were warning us that we may need to power down to 300 watts. We pray that that will not be their requirement, but at this stage we mainly wish to secure the license for the frequency.”
The permission to test came at a time when the missionaries were overloaded with a required government audit, and also with trying to clear a new vehicle from the port for missionary Joanne Greer, who also labors with the FPMCOL.
“We are spread very thin right now trying to get programing together,” Mr. DiCanio said. “But having a reliable vehicle has been a tremendous help. We greatly appreciate those who contributed to that.”
Mr. DiCanio reports that the mission has more programming than it needs, which is a good problem to have considering they wish to go 24/7.
The 1200 watt transmitter temporarily operates from the studio until a transmitter room is constructed and air conditioning installed.
“We’ve been helped tremendously by missionary Randy Cornelius in Caricou, Granada,” Mr. DiCanio said. “He runs Harbour Light of the Windwards, a large radio station that broadcasts throughout the Caribbean. His step-by-step advice, and help with program content, has been invaluable.”
The mission plans to purchase a new transmitter as funds allow, and hopes to get an audio processor to level the sound.
“Right now I’m compressing everything manually before it airs,” Mr. DiCanio said. “There is no way I can keep up the pace of that, though I’ve gotten a lot of the programs done.”
The radio station is being automated through software called Radiologik, which has two programs, a scheduler and a player.
“You can manually stack the player very quickly, or you can let the scheduler select the pre-planned schedule from folders,” Mr. DiCanio said. “I am currently manually stacking because I don’t have enough content in the folders yet.”
The radio station studio.
The station is currently operating with a “make-shift” set up with both the transmitter and studio in one room.
“We don’t have a transmitter room yet,” Mr. DiCanio said. “So for the purposes of air-conditioning, we had to put both the transmitter and the studio in a cool place. That works for now because we are not talking live, everything is pre-recorded.”
Mr. DiCanio is planning to erect a closet size transmitter room in the adjoining warehouse, and run air into it from the existing air conditioner.
The missionaries and the FPCNA mission board said they continue to look to the Lord for the needed finances to advance the project, and also see the final license come from the government.