Kenyan Canadian puts together a portable FM radio station
Posted by Administrator on December 30, 2010
A Kenyan Canadian has put together a portable FM radio station that fits in a briefcase that he hopes to use to reach remote parts of Africa.
Peter Onguti helped develop and is bringing to Africa the 18-kilo FM radio kit that can be powered by solar, battery or conventional electricity
He got the idea for a portable radio station after Kenya’s last election, when violence erupted across the country. People in rural areas especially were experiencing an information blackout.
Onguti turned to a Canadian friend and business partner to design a portable radio station with good range.
“I asked him — he’s a telecommunication engineer — if he could come up with something which was suitable for this market, especially Kenya and the rest of Africa,” Onguti told CBC News.
Then he used his own savings to build and market the portable radio stations.
The government of South Sudan will be using about a dozen of the units to educate rural voters in the upcoming referendum on separation from North Sudan.
And dozens more are being used to broadcast health and education programming in Western Africa.
Depending on the unit, the stations can broadcast anywhere from 30 to 100 kilometres.
“You can do a lot with this unit, not necessarily just focus on war and violence and such,” Onguti says.
He envisions his portable radio stations in use all over Africa. Radio is a good choice for Africa, where many people are illiterate and cannot afford television.
He has yet to turn a profit on sales, with units ranging from $10,000 to $70,000, but that doesn’t discourage him.
“It’s not about the money actually — it’s just about information, that is the key drive for me. It’s just that I want people to have access to information.”
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