Radio 2AP staff with former CEO Faimalotoa Kika Stowers who is now a Cabinet Minister next to the refurbished Mobile Caravan for outside broadcasts
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 06 AUGUST 2019: The state owned Radio 2AP is celebrating 72 years of service to the country with the launch of its AUD$4.572 million Redevelopment Project that included a transmitter tower, new transmission equipment and two FM frequencies.
It also brings back its powerful 540AM frequency that has served not only Samoa but neighbouring islands such of American Samoa and its Manu’s group and the Tokelaus during cyclones.
The refurbished transmitter mast has been in use since 1991, while the transmitter chamber known as the Bunker is now installed with new digital AM transmitters and an automated stand by generator for emergencies.
Also on display at the launch last Friday was the refurbished Mobile caravan for outside broadcasting.
All these developments are funded under Australia’s Regional Climate Change Resilience Program for Small Island States.
The Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Communication Information and Infrastructure (MCIT) Fualau Talatalaga Mata’u Matafeo said the new development is not only to better cater for Samoa and its neighbouring countries, but also to upgrade the standards to serve the country well in times of natural disasters such as cyclones and emergencies.
“With our FM stations, while it only caters for the town area, it airs the same program on the AM station for people of all ages,” said Fualau.
He said the state of the art equipment for the project were purchased from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Italy and Canada.
The project was launched by the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Saielele Malielegaoi and Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Sarah Moriaty.
A 10 kilometer cable is buried on the site to create an earth mat to increase performance and coverage of the AM transmitter, and the cable is covered by 8,000 cubic meters of soil carted onto the site, which also helps to offset impact of rising sea levels.
Tuilaepa commended MCIT and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment (MNRE) for consideration to protect the environment by way the landfill constructed for the inflow and outflow of sea water to enable the re-growth of the mangroves.
Moriaty understands the importance of connectivity especially in times of natural disasters and to be informed of weather changes.
“We know first-hand that living in the tropics we are prone to rapid weather changes. In Australia, Melbourne is known for is changeable weather, and its “four seasons in one day”, but Samoa’s weather is not only more changeable, it poses more extreme risks to the lives of its inhabitants,” said Moriaty.
She said connectivity and communication is crucial to keeping communities strong and ensuring communities are resilient.
“Australia has delivered on its commitment to ensuring that Samoa continues having access to reliable information and communication services during times of disasters through the power of Radio 2AP,” said Moriaty.
Former Director for 2AP Faimalotoa Kika Stowers is happy with the upgraded work.
“This is the bunker (pointing to the new transmission chamber) that Samoa survived during the Ofa and Valelia cyclones, our weather updates came from the bunker and we had to squeeze into very limited space but manage to deliver for Samoa,” said Faimalotoa.
She said 2AP has come a long way and will continue to serve Samoa for a very long time.