By Saikou Suwareh Jabai In a press conference convened on Wednesday at its premises, the Sunchu Alagie Community Radio, Taranga Frequency Modulation (FM), disclosed that come January 1, 2015, the radio will initiate new developments. This will include changing its community status to a private status. The officials added that it will be privately managed while it is now collaboratively owned by a private investor and the community. Speaking at the occasion, the new Acting Managing Director (MD) of the radio, Mr. Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, said Taranga FM was first initiated in 2007 by a group of boys who were naturally gifted in electronics. These boys, he said, joined hands in demonstration to see what they can do for fun and entertainment. He said after a successful encounter, they deemed it necessary to hand it over to the Village Development Community (VDC) of Sinchu Alagie for communication and expansion. He said the VDC then proceeded to register it and give it a legal status as a community radio. Mr. Ceesay, who is regarded as the youngest radio MD in The Gambia with only 25 years of age, said the main reason for the conference is to enlighten their listeners about the new developments that the radio will institute in 2015. Among these, he said, is that the radio will initiate new programmes that “will serve the needs of its audience.” He assured journalists that they will fasten their belts in continuing to educate, inform and entertain the community and the country at large. He also disclosed that the radio will be officially re-launched on the 20th of February, 2015 at Paradise Suites Hotel so as to establish their institution in the media business proper. The Programme Manager, Mr. Biram B. B. Jobe, started by describing radio programming as one of the most difficult areas of a radio and thus it is one of the arms the Taranga FM is attaching a pivotal significance on. He said since the radio’s inception in 2007, it has run many important programmes dealing with social, political, religious and economic issues. He revealed that by January 2015, they intend to initiate new programmes that have never been aired in the history of airwaves in The Gambia. Some of these programmes, he revealed, are a weekly press review, Kerr Gi, No ko dundeh, Fulago, Firi gencha and a host of others, all aimed at quenching the thirst of their listeners. He said due to the high demand and request of their fans, the radio will now run in full, changing from 20 hours to 24 hours every day. He reaffirmed that the radio will continue to serve the country and the translation of newspaper articles to Mandinka and Wolof language will continue. Also speaking at the media assembly was Mr. Pa Masowe Jobe, the Chairman of the VDC, who also reiterated the MD’s sentiments in the formation of the community radio. He dilated on the relationship between the community and the new management of the radio, describing it as ‘cordial’. He thanked the community and staff of the radio who have been committed to the radio’s operation since its inception. Mr. Jobe noted that the community still has a hand in the operation of the radio despite it is changing to a private status. He narrated some of the various benefits derived from the radio which includes the creation of employment for some youths in the community. The VDC head finally called on all and sundry to put hand on deck in ultimately serving the ever increasing audience of the radio. In answering questions from the press, the officials said since the radio’s re-opening in 1st January, 2014, it has been busy settling tax arrears with the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) which amounted to over D50, 000. They said all these dues have been cleared off now and this prompted them to re-launch the radio so as to fully establish it in the business market. They said up till now, the reason for their closure in 2012 is not known and concluded that the radio will continue to give a fair representation of both the ruling party and the opposition.]]>