In the mountainous and hilly part of Nepal the district of Solukhumbu is situated. The district is highly famed by tourism as Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain, is located here. The district has yet not been connected by road but around half a dozen domestic airlines have been providing regular flight service daily from Kathmandu to Lukla and Phaplu. That is, when the weather permits it.
The people in Solu have less opportunity to read newspapers published in Katmandu and elsewhere because of the remote location of the district.The majority of the people in the district does not have access to television either. Radio Nepal, the state-owned media, is the only source of information and communication that covers events from urban areas like Kathmandu. Though, Solukhumbu is out of the coverage area of that radio and if the signal is received, it is very poor.
When the radio was established there were no telephone facilities on the household basis, and the access to television was limited. Moreover, because of the geographical structure of the area, it was both difficult and expensive to communicate from one village to another. Though, now the district is provided with cable television; hence, the costs and expenses regarding the television have decreased as the people nowdo not have to pay for the expensive parabolic dishes. Further, telephones and cell phones are now a common item in the household and the access to surf the internet – if not in the household – is good with many internet cafes blooming in the villages. Nonetheless, the radio medium is by far the best, fastest and cheapest for remote places like Solukhumbu and it has the potential to make the communication and forwarding of information among the people in the communities efficient, rewarding and enjoyable.
In order to address the needs of a mass medium capable of overcoming the people’s wish and need for information;to achieve a deep impact on the population of Solukhumbu; to strengthen the educational level and to create relevant and informative communication in the area, the local based community radio Solu FM 101.2 MHz was established in 2004.
Facts about Solu FM
• It is a community radio station.
• The objective of Solu FM is to be a forum of information dissemination and to be the promoter of freedom of expression and media pluralism.
• It is a non-biased independent radio station and it allows all ethnic, legal political and religious groups to broadcast and participate in the decision making.
• Young Star Club, a social service organization in the district since 1977, got Solu FM the license (FM 114/060/61-cha no. 1004) on the 11th of November 2003 from the Ministry of Information and Communication.
• Its test transmission started on the 27th ofAugust 2004.
• Its capacity is 1000W. It's broadcasting from 3400 Meter [Aprox.]
• It is believed that more than 10,00,000 people are listening to Solu FM.
• The station is located in the village of Dorpu Bazar, Salleri VDC-7, Solukhumbu (Lattitude 27 degrees 29 min 214 sec. N/S; Longitude 86 degrees 34 min 743 sec. E/W)
• The radio signal is reached all the way to Namche Bazar, the gateway to the Mt. Everest in the north of the district; in the northern part of the Okhaldhunga District in the south; in some of the western parts of the Khotang District in the east; and finally, in some of the eastern parts of the Ramechhap District in the west.
Solu FM has been set up with the financial support from DIALOGOS, Denmark, under the Solukhumbu Edu-Communication Project, which was initiated to facilitate and support community information and the spreading effectof the different projects among the inhabitants. This includes the organization-education and health-education elements along with democracy, human rights, social justice, responsibility and empowerment.
Solu FM is making an economical deep impact possible by creating jobs for the local youthsand increasing the creativity and skills of the local people. It is a non-biased independent radio station allowing all groups to broadcast and participate in the decision making regarding ethnical origin, gender, age, legal political and religious beliefs.
The radio is serving the local communities with its 500W capacity. It is producing local news and providing the people witha platform for debates on current affairs, democracy, human rights, social justice and responsibility, empowerment, and district information. Moreover, it broadcasts on the different local languages (e.g. Tamang, Sherpa, Khaling, Thulung and Khulung) and it plays a big variety of music, including local songs.
An Operation and Management Guideline has been made that defines clearly how to set up the responsible Management and Operating Council (MOC). Representatives from the stakeholders like the District Development Committee (DDC), the District Health Office (DHO), the District Education Office (DEO), the District Agriculture Office (DAO), the Women Development Office (WDO), the Young Star Club (YSC), the Solukhumbu Edu-Communication Project, the Active Listeners Groups (ALG), the Business Entrepreneurs and Associations in the district, the Local NGOs, the Ethnic Groups & Minorities, the Legal Political Parties, andthe religious groups etc. will all be represented in the MOC. The MOC elects an Executive Committee following the democratic process.