The Management of Firestone Liberia has officially opened its Radio station "Voice of Firestone Liberia." The official ceremony took place on Friday, February 26, 2010, on the compound of the Administration Building in Harbel, Margibi County. The new radio station was launched in a bid to disseminate unfolding events and developments within the concession area of the company and its surrounding communities.
Serving as keynote speaker during the program, the Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services, Mrs. Elizabeth E. Hoff, on behalf of the Liberian Government, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Management and staff of Firestone Liberia for the invitation extended her and the initiative taken to establish a radio station of its own. She noted that the dedication of another community radio "Voice of Firestone-Liberia," signifies the importance the Liberian Government attaches to communication. "The dedication of another community radio station such as yours today indeed signifies the importance that this Government attaches to communication as a tool for dialogue and sustainable development in Liberia". Minister Hoff asserted.
She said many people know that radio is one of the most spread and popular tools for communication in Africa today therefore, it is appropriate for communication technology to address the needs of people everywhere. She observed that in recent years there have been important changes taking place in radio messages in Liberia and Africa as a whole saying "radio is becoming more interactive, with opportunities for dialogue and exchange of views and debates."
Minister Hoff said rural communication has a rich history in Africa. She pointed out that, the first rural radio program appeared in the late 1960s, growing out of educational radio efforts in Europe, Canada and the United States of America.
The former PUL President revealed that one of the most significant contributors to the evolution of the rural radio forum movement in Canada traced back from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Mrs. Hoff said it is widely recognized that community radio programs are most effective when produced with audience participation, local languages, and taking into account cultural traditions. She said that community radio programs empower community members to participate in the dialogue and decision making processes which are essential for them to control their own economic, social and cultural environments; and play an active part in development activities.
She then urged the Management of the "Voice of Firestone" that their radio programming be useful to the people of the Firestone Community.
In remarks, the President and Managing Director of Firestone Liberia, Mr. Charles E. Stuart, assured the government that the radio station will be used properly. He further went on: "It will be used for the entertainment and for the education of all of our folks in the Harbel area and to promote agricultural activities and health programs in the Firestone community." He also praised the staff of the radio station for the commitments and dedication they have exhibited thus far.
The colorful program brought together some officials of government to include Representatives Saah Gbollie and Ballah Zayzay and Superintendent Levi Piah of Margibi County, media executives including the Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Mr. Charles Snetter, Press Union of Liberia President, Peter Quaqua, managers and senior staff of Firestone Liberia, as well as some residents of Harbel and its environs, among others.