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Samoa FM Station Claims Unfair Treatment

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By Alan Ah Mu

SUVA (SO/Pacific Islands Report/Pacific Media Watch): A February complaint by Radio Polynesian Limited, claiming unfair competition from state-owned Samoa Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), has yet to draw a reply.

"Nothing has happened," Radio Polynesian general manager Corey Keil said yesterday.

Keil said he wrote to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology's lawyer, Tima Peteru, in February. In his letter, he complained that SBC's new FM station had been approved to run on 1000 watts, while Radio Polynesian was allowed only 300 watts.

Secondly, he complained that the frequency given to SBC's FM, 89.1, was too close to the one that their Talofa station was using, 88.5.

When listeners tune into Talofa, they can hear SBC FM in the background - though those with digital radios do not have this problem.

Keil said both Radio Polynesian and SBC broadcast from Mt. Fiamoe. And this has caused the problem. The two stations were just too close together, he said.

But the chief executive of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Tua'imalo Asamu Ah Sam, said he was not aware about a complaint from Radio Polynesian.

"So he's saying there's interference?" Tua'imalo said. "I didn't know there was any interference. But I'll find out."

Tua'imalo said he would check with the division in his ministry, which allocates frequencies.

He would also telephone Keil and talk to him about the matter, he said.

Radio Polynesia, which offers four stations, started FM radio in 1989. SBC started their FM station in February this year.

SBC claimed that there was a demand for the service.

Keil said he talked to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi in April about his concerns.

"And he agreed with me," he said.

Taking up the PM's suggestion, Keil said, he wrote a letter to Tuilaepa outlining his concerns

"I wrote him a letter saying to be fair since we all need to be operating on the same level field," he said. "I realise he's been travelling overseas and sooner or later he'll reply.

"We're expecting something from him."


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