New South Korean Radio Station Receives Full Support from Community

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Seodaemun Community Radio launched in Sep 1, 2021

Community radio is a low-power broadcast of less than 10W for small areas (si/gun/gu). Residents can directly share the news of the village and participate in content production. In Seoul, there are radios that have been with the region for nearly 20 years, such as Gwanak FM and Mapo FM, and there are radios that have been officially approved for business as a village media. Such is the case with Seodaemun Community Radio. 

Seodaemun Community Radio CEO Jang Su-jeong, who was busy preparing for the launch of the corporation, met on the afternoon of the 1st at the Bukgajwa-dong studio. Seodaemun Community Radio is the representative village media in Gajwa-dong. So, the original name was ‘Gajaeullanduo’. Gajaeul is the old name of Gajwa-dong. It is a pure Korean word for ‘a village away from a big village’. 

In Seoul, there are village media representing each autonomous district. This is the result of the Seoul village media support project in 2012. The same goes for Seodaemun Community Radio. At first, it was all about a small community space and recording facility. They held village meetings and supported small groups to grow the network. It continued to grow and solidified its position as a village media. 

At that time, Gajaeulla Duo (predecessor to Seodaemun Community Radio) operated the first mini FM (which receives a temporary frequency and broadcasts FM for a certain period of time) as the first town media in Seoul. So eight years have passed. The certificates that filled one of the studio showcases contain the time that has passed. There has been some good news recently. Seodaemun Community Radio was selected as one of 20 new operators of village community radio by the Korea Communications Commission in July. CEO Jang was humble. He cited ‘trust’ as the selection factor. 

CEO Jang said, “I think the selection was due to the fact that I have been working as a village media for 8 years. 

A signature campaign prepared in haste… There were many heartbreaking moments until 

the activists who wrote down the 9 lines of ‘great reward’ to the support of 600 people and the sponsors who came through the rain were all selected as ‘first-class contributors’ . Before I submitted my application, I got signatures in a hurry. More than 600 people signed it in a week. Among them, there was an activist who wrote a 9-line poem on ‘Seodaemun Community Radio’ with a prayer for selection. Another day, there was a housewife who broke through the rain and came to the studio to verify her identity by direct debit of sponsorship. 

CEO Jang said, “There is not much feedback on radio broadcasts, but it was rewarding to see more than 600 people signed in a short period of time.” He continued, “The concept of community radio is difficult, but the residents clearly understood it. He was proud of ‘the radio we make’,” he recalled. 

Seodaemun Community Radio is engaged in the development and dissemination of customized media technology. In order to operate the village media, the participation of residents is required. A bigger issue is cost. We need to create good content with limited support, but if the technology is difficult, there is a barrier to entry. We are focusing on finding technologies or equipment that can be broadcast live at low cost, sharing them with other media, and finding technologies that users can easily access. 

A local publishing business is also planned. I am about to compile contents such as ‘Gajaeul Music Hangout’ and ‘Seodaemun History Tour’ into a book. CEO Jang said, “There are not many contents that deal with local news meaningfully, and there is less movement to discover. 

Can community radio, an analog method, survive in the digital age? CEO Jang cited the advantage of being able to deliver information needed in real life at a short distance. 

CEO Jang said, “The role of community radio is to deliver local news to people who have no connection. 

“I want to have a good experience with community radio” 

Seodaemun Community Radio will open on September 13 next year. The national day was set according to the frequency (91.3 MHz). There is a lot of homework to complete during the remaining period of one year and a little more. Seodaemun Community Radio is currently exporting content through podcasts and YouTube. In order to broadcast 18 hours a day from now on, it is said that more than 200 people will be needed every week. You also need to provide space to accommodate them. The issue of housing for activists remains a challenge. 

CEO Jang conveyed a small wind. He hopes that community radio will tell more stories than before and give people a pleasant experience. 

CEO Jang said, “I have been thinking for a long time that I want to create a space that many people can share. said 

He added, “My biggest ambition is to create a broadcasting station, but I hope that people will have a better experience, communicate well, and accumulate a lot of that experience.”

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