Beehive Radio will be boosting its frequency up to 5 kilowatts later this month, the station’s owner said Tuesday.
“I increase the radio frequency according to the people’s requests. My radio station will disseminate information about the democratic process and general knowledge for the people,” station owner Mam Sonando said.
Beehive Radio, currently powered at 1 kilowatt out of Phnom Penh, now reaches nearby provinces such as Kompong Cham, Kampot and Prey Veng. Mam Sonando said he hopes the higher frequency will carry his programming to most of the country.
The new broadcasting equipment, which is being shipped from Italy and cost the station about $60,000, was purchased with donations from NGOs and listeners.
Mam Sonando said he has hoped to boost Beehive’s frequency since 1997, but the station was looted that year by soldiers during factional fighting.
Kem Sokha, former Funcinpec lawmaker and founder of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, praised Mam Sonando Tuesday for broadening his broadcast radius. “There is only Beehive Radio station that is independent in Cambodia. This radio broadcasts the true information and educates the people about the democratic process,” he said.
Kem Sokha said it is important for people to listen to Beehive so they can know what is truly happening in Cambodia. In addition, listeners can call in and voice their opinions over the air.
“Other radio stations in Cambodia are pro-government. Those stations broadcast only what is good for the government,” Kem Sokha said.
Information Minister Lu Laysreng disagreed, noting that many stations in Cambodia report news accurately. “Beehive only has credibility because the station always criticizes the government. The Beehive information is not always good. Promoting democracy is a long process. Cambodia just recovered from the communist leadership. It must be [done] step by step,” he said.