The island of Mayotte is one of the four large islands that make up the Comoro Islands. On this archipelago, the FM band is not saturated, so a new station has launched, created by Coumarene Permale.
This French-Mauritian is no stranger to the airwaves of this island that makes the metropolis so dreamy. He could have devoted himself to tourism and played with the blue water and white sand. No, Permale fell into radio as a child. His father created Radio K, “the second free radio station of Reunion Island,” just behind Freedom. So, inevitably, Permale also decided to launch a station that is missing on his island: “A nonprofit station to promote the Mahoran culture. We focus our programs on ecology, the protection of our lagoon, the forest. These are subjects that are not addressed here; here we mainly pick up music stations.”
Sun FM broadcasts on two frequencies: 97.8 in Petite-Terre and 94.1 in Grande-Terre. Mayotte has 279,500 inhabitants, “but Sun FM goes further because the sea carries the waves. We are received on the neighboring islands. With luck, you can listen to us on Reunion Island.”
This new station with the colors of the sun plays Mahoran music; styles that will bring together all generations, such as the mgodro, the gaboussi and the chakacha. “This is the music specific to our island. They are our roots,” said Permale. “But on Sun FM, we don’t want a station that looks like the others. It won’t be a music tap, because there are already some.”
Youth will have a chance to shine on this station because “young people have a strong need to express themselves about their future and that of the island.” This French island region lives significantly under the poverty line, with a high rate of unemployment and little running water. Sun FM will give youth a voice to try to change things through the airwaves.
The Mayotte Vibrason Association, which manages the station, gets support from the Local Radio Expression Support Fund (Fonds de soutien à l’expression radiophonique), with an installation and operating budget.
Permale said that “80% of my revenue comes from the State, the Department, the DJSCS of Mayotte and companies that support me, and 20% from advertising.” Eager to build a team for Sun FM, Permale is currently recruiting an antenna director and presenters.
WorldCast Systems supplied an Ecreso FM transmitter to the station. “I chose an eco-friendly transmitter because it fits the spirit of the station,” said Permale.
He also invested in a Telos Alliance Omnia Volt and Axia mixing console with QOR.32. WinMedia software manages broadcasting and editing. Sun FM is the only community radio station fully equipped with digital equipment, from the studio to the transmitter.
Investing in Mayotte
Permale wants this project to support Mayotte. According to an INSEE report published in 2018, 77% of the population lives below the national poverty line, compared to 14% for metropolitan France. 40% of primary residences are tin huts, 29% of households do not have running water and only 34% of the population is employed. In 2019, with a population growth of 3.8%, half of the population was under 17 years old.
Sun FM aims to work on these issues and give voice to the population. The station plans on organizing workshops with schools so that students learn about oral communication, the radio business and self-confidence. For the economy to be revived, the youth must know the tools of communication.
This article first appeared in RedTech’s French-language sister publication La Lettre Pro.