Set up by a miller, Radio Haqiqat makes it to internet
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): FM Radio Haqiqat, which was established by a corn mill worker in northern Samangan province about 11 years ago, has made it to the internet.
In 2003 when Aminullah Qayumi first set up the radio station in Joy Zandan village, he used a tape recorder, a hand-held radio and some telecommunications tools and brought under coverage about 25 villages.
Since 2004, the radio is financially supported by InterNews organization and now can be heard in Aibak, the provincial capital, and nearly three more towns on FM90.9 frequency.
Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview, Qayumi recalled his journey from a poor miller to owner of a radio channel. He said his passion for having a radio station of his own kept him struggling through 11 years.
Qayumi, who studied until class 10, said extreme poverty forced him to work with his father in a small water-powered flour mill 11 years ago, but he loved singing and painting.
He said he knew his family would not let him sing and thus he focused his attention on painting and got famous quickly and also received a letter of appreciation from the Ministry of Information and Culture.
“But my father stopped me from painting as well, closing all doors on me to continue my artwork,” he said.
Qayumi said he had no idea how to convince his illiterate father about the importance of art and it was a reason he opted to establishing a radio channel.
Fond of technical things since childhood, he used to repair faulty radio and tapes and it was 2003 when he made a radio transmitter and the broadcasts could be heard in 25 villages including his own village.
“I placed the transmitter in a room at the flour mill and would directly speak and broadcast my voice after finishing the mill work.”
He would record some porgammes during night via his tape and play the cassettes on the radio when he was busy working at the mill.
Qayumi said his initial broadcasts were messages to fathers urging them to educate their children and one such message he first conveyed to his own father.
He would talk via the radio about the importance of skills and his father would regularly listen to. Finally his father changed and allowed him to continue his painting art. “It was the main objective of my radio to convince my family about my skill, but InterNews changed it into a real one.”
“In 2004, a woman visited our mill and asked about my radio. She promised to develop the radio and the same year, we started airing programmes on the FM90.9 frequency in Samangan.”
Qayumi rented a building for the radio in Aibak and the radio staff increased to 12, half of them women, and they formally started airing various programmes from 5am to 12am.
He said now the radio “FM Radio Haqiqat” could be found on the internet and could be listened to across the globe.
A person has voluntarily joined the radio from London, where he had set up a studio, he said. Qayumi said currently the radio had been in economic constrains for the last two years and they had to fire eight staff members in Samangan.
Only five workers currently worked at the station, he said, urging the government to help him keep the radio operational.
Samangan Information and Culture Director Fatahullah Wafi told Pajhwok Afghan News they had no permanent budget to financially support privately-run media outlets.
He said besides Radio Haqiqat, another two radios --- Shaharwand and Rustam --- were operating in Samangan. He said they also wanted media activities to increase in the province and gain more freedom.
Happy with the establishment of the Radio Haqiqat, the director praised it for its programmes.
Aibak residents say they listen to the Radio Haqiqat and praise its broadcasts. Mohammad Naeem, a resident, told Pajhwok Afghan News he intermittently listened to the radio.
He said some time ago, the Radio Haqiqat aired an interview with singer Aryana Saeed on its programme “Shab-i-Mahtab” and he liked it much.
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