Local radio still on threshold of Internet broadcasting

Stabroek News
April 17, 2001

Despite the leaps and bounds made in information technology and its eager embrace here, the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) is still behind in getting on the World Wide Web.

A US-based Guyanese queried the delay in putting local radio on the Internet in a letter carried in Stabroek News on March 21.

The letter writer had enquired from Ambassador Odeen Ishmael at the Guyana Embassy in Washington in 1995 when there would be simultaneous Internet broadcast of one of the three sister stations of the GBC -- Voice of Guyana, Radio Roraima and 98.1 FM -- to keep Guyanese abroad abreast with developments at home.

"The ambassador eagerly informed me that the equipment was mailed to Guyana, and he did not know what was taking so long to have it installed and operational," the letter said.

The letter said that its writer had recently contacted the embassy again, but "the official was remarkably unable to shed any light about this or any other related matter."

The writer also wrote to President Bharrat Jagdeo and former information minister Moses Nagamootoo but "I received no response."

However, in a brief interview with Stabroek News on Thursday, GBC's acting general manager David DeGroot said he had no knowledge of the station receiving any equipment for the GBC Internet setup.

He said he had spoken with the Foreign Ministry recently which indicated it was in communication with the Washington embassy on the matter. DeGroot said from his discussions with the ministry, Guyanese abroad were willing to assist. "They only spoke... but no equipment was sent," he said.

For his part he said the corporation has been "actively examining" the idea and has employed a computer technician to devise the software programme for making the station Internet-ready, which he said "we're hoping [for] before the middle of the year."

This newspaper understands that the expert was in the employ of the corporation for more than two years.

"The technology to launch a simulcast of a 'good' radio station in Guyana on the Internet is neither expensive nor difficult," the letter to thee editor said.

DeGroot agreed that the task was "feasible" and "not so costly."