Vista Online - October station news
RFPI - After all the gloom and crisis we have been dealing with here at RFPI, we felt the need to update you all with the focus firmly fixed on our normal, ongoing activities here at the station!!

We want to take the opportunity first of all to thank you all for your ongoing support at this crucial time, whether that is through donations for our legal defense fund or through your continuing efforts to keep awareness levels high about the crisis here at RFPI within the United Nations and in your local media. We also want to thank you all for your patience in this long wait for a public statement from us about the talks we are engaged in with the University for Peace regarding how and when we are to move from our premises on the campus. As you are all aware by now, we agreed to the University request not to make any public statements until the talks were over on 31st October in order to demonstrate good faith. We expect to be able to make a statement soon regarding the current situation, at which time, we may need to call on you again for your invaluable help in awareness raising.

We should never forget that Radio For Peace International has continued on throughout this crisis with its normal activities, broadcasting 24 hours a day across all time zones, delivering the Peace Journalism course and planning new projects and events. RFPI is so much more than the current crisis.

We enjoyed a very busy 16th birthday celebration last month, appropriately coinciding with International World Peace Day, with a packed station full of supporters. James Latham and the rest of the staff gave a speech and the day was extremely positive, with a clear focus on the future of the radio station, despite all the recent and ongoing difficulties.

PEACE JOURNALISM TRAINING

Located at the RFPI studios, the Institute for Progressive Communications (IPC) continues to break new ground in training journalists from around the world in Peace Journalism. Students completed a Peace Journalism and Progressive Media Through Radio course on September 21, and another began on September 29.

During the September course, students produced two independent radio documentaries. One program explored the life of children living in the streets in Costa Rica and the non-profit agencies who work on their behalf, and the other looked at the impact of Western food products and fast food lifestyle on the Costa Rican diet. Both programs have been aired on RFPI.

The next IPC course begins on January 5, 2003. Courses continue throughout 2004.

NEW PROGRAMMING

RFPI continues to rebuild our Spanish language department, delivering a unique service of independently produced programs from Latin American to the world community. The first of our Spanish language programming is People Without Borders or Pueblos Sin Fronteras. People Without Borders is a daily bi-lingual news program, bringing listeners progressive world news in Spanish with a special focus on Latin America. Listen for People Without Borders Tuesday through Friday, 18.30 UTC.

Continue to tune in to our diverse and dynamic 24 hour programming that includes Democracy Now, Free Speech Radio News, Counterspin, and Making Contact, as well as original programming produced by RFPI. A complete schedule of our programming is available at www.rfpi.org.

VOLUNTEERS

RFPI welcomed two new volunteers last month to the team, Ankie Kampmeyer and Jennifer Liss. With a background in Communications, Ankie will be volunteering with RFPI for three months. Ankie joins RFPI from Hamburg, Germany. Jennifer Liss, from San Francisco, California, brings her experience in non-profit administration and print and electronic media to RFPI for the coming two months. Edy, from Brazil, has also been volunteering for the last few months at RFPI providing computer support. His excellent computer skills rescued our computer network from an almost total collapse back to health.

SUPPORT

Never before has there been a time when RFPI's unique voice on short wave was so needed, yet funding so scarce. Your contributions have kept RFPI on the air for 16 years. Opposition to organizations such as RFPI and attempts to silence them have often relied on scarcity of funding to do the job for them. We cannot stress to you enough what a crucial difference your donations make to RFPI's survival. The dispute with the University has affected RFPI's grant-worthiness due to the uncertainty that has been generated. For this reason, we need your contributions more than ever.

Please visit Radio For Peace International

 
RFPI back up to power

09/11/2003 - The Copy Exchange - If you have noticed that RFPI's signal on 7445 is better recently, there's a reason. The station's General Manager, James Latham, was able to increase the transmitter power from 15 kilowatts to 30 kilowatts, starting at 0300 UT Thursday this week.

The problem was the lack of a capacitor connected between the transmitter and the antenna, which could block 8 kilovolts of Direct Current applied to the final transmitter tube from reaching the antenna, while allowing the Radio Frequency signal to pass through.

The appropriate industrial-strength capacitor had to be ordered in the US and brought to Costa Rica by courier, a process that took several weeks.

The blocking capacitor that had been in use for a year, allowing full power operation, burned out in the third week of August. Various temporary measures were attempted. One capacitor that was tried "melted like a marshmallow," according to Latham. Finally, a capacitor was located that would allow RFPI to broadcast at the 15 kilowatt level, and that had been in place since the first week in September.

Now listeners can enjoy the strong RFPI signal that the station has produced in the past, and they can rest assured the same problem will not occur again soon - RFPI now has a spare capacitor.

 
Radio for Peace International may be forced to relocate?
August 17, 2003 - Exclusive to The Copy Exchange - In a meeting held on the University for Peace (UPaz) campus on August 11th between UPaz and RFPI officials, an agreement was made to hold talks in the coming months regarding RFPI's fate. The deadline for reaching agreement was set at October 31, 2003, and no statements are to be made to the public by either side regarding these talks until after that deadline.

In the past RFPI management has expressed a concern that a forced relocation could run into millions of dollars. It is unclear how much UPaz would offer in compensation for existing structures, lost air time, and other costs associated with the move. RFPI would be required to purchase land, construct studios, transmission facilities and towers, as well as deal with the red tape of Costa Rican licensing procedures.

Station staff told The Copy Exchange that of late UPaz guards at the RFPI gate have been allowing some vehicles through the gate to park next to the studio, avoiding the staff humiliation of climbing through the locked gate. Guards, who no longer carry firearms and are generally business-like but cooperative, reportedly are not present at the gate at all times to allow vehicles in. The station gate was chained and locked by UPaz on July 21st when the action against the station was initiated.

Station staff also reported that the lockdown has drastically reduced enrollment in the RFPI-run Institute for Progressive Communications (IPC) courses, causing a shortfall in an important income source. The station must now support itself almost entirely on listener and supporter contributions.

The small RFPI staff speak of exhaustion from working overtime. Members must be at the studio 24 hours a day to insure proper station operation and prevent damage from occurring.

 
RFPI's Gate is Chained Shut

On Monday, July 21, 2003 a University for Peace representative delivered an eviction notice to Radio For Peace International (RFPI) which has been operating since 1987 by mutual agreement on the University campus in El Rodeo, Costa Rica. The Radio station`s access gate was locked with chains and patrolled by armed guards employed by the University for Peace. In addition, the radio station was advised to vacate its facilities in two weeks.

Radio For Peace employees made a plea to the armed guards to allow them to leave the locked premises on Monday night, although some have not left the premises since the eviction notice.

According to Latham, the unexplained, and legally questionable decision to evict RFPI endangers the livelihood of the stationís employees, and also threatens to silence the voice of peace on international airwaves. "This is more than an eviction, this is about the right to free speech," says James Latham, Chief Executive Officer of Radio for Peace International. "What is most shocking and sad is that this action comes from an international peace organization."

University for Peace cofounder, former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo Odio, invited RFPI in 1985 to build and manage its own office and studios on the universityís Costa Rica campus. Consequently RFPI constructed studios and transmitters, and has been broadcasting messages of peace and social justice as well as daily United Nations programming. RFPI is the only listener supported shortwave radio station.

Latham says that Monday`s eviction notice represents poor judgment on behalf of the new administration at the University for Peace, a United Nations mandated university established in 1980. "RFPI has always shown goodwill toward the University for Peace and has worked harmoniously with the previous four administrations. Our shared goals to work toward ending war is what brought our two organizations together, and in the world today there is still much work to be done. Instead of focusing on how to eliminate a fellow peace organization, we need to channel our energy toward eliminating war, poverty and hunger."

Glenn Hauser's DX Listening Digest 3-132. WOR audio is not available for 2003.

More updates and listener commentary at DXLD 3-133, DXLD 3-134, DXLD 3-135, DXLD 3-136, and DXLD 3-137. Stories are located under "COSTA RICA"