Money Woes Cause Demise of Beehive Radio

After surviving heavy looting in 1997 and a government shutdown in 1998, Phnom Penh’s only independent radio station, Beehive Radio FM105, is set to close in January—because it is too poor.

The station’s funds have dried up, and financial support from the  public is needed if Beehive is to stay on the air, owner and mana­ger Mam Sonando said.

“I must say I am sad I cannot continue what I have done so far. Without money, I do not know what to do,” he said.

The station, a public forum for the Beehive Social Democratic Party, began broadcasting from Mam Sonando’s home in August 1996.

However, its equipment was looted during the Phnom Penh factional fighting of 1997. Ever since sustaining those losses the station has faced an uphill battle, Mom Sonando said.

“The main problem relating to [the station’s] closure is a result of the 1997 fighting that destroyed my station. They cleared everything from my house—even my socks were lost,” he said.

After the fighting, the government promised to pay for damages, but Mam Sonando said they have failed to deliver.

Mam Sonando said he re-opened the Beehive Radio station after the fighting ended, with $20,000 from loans and his own funds.

But the station was shut down by the Ministry of Information in September 1998 because it was creating “political and social turmoil among the listening public.”

The shutdown came during a week of often violent political protest in Phnom Penh.

The government allowed the station to go back on the air in 1999. Since then, Mam Sonando said he has kept the station going with private rental income.

owns in France. But since July, that money has dried up.

Beehive Radio does not accept alcohol or cigarette advertisements. If it did, Mam Sonando said, the station would double its revenues.

But Mam Sonando preferred to appeal to the public for help.

“If listeners can contribute 500 riel (about $0.12) a month to the station,” he said, “I think we can keep going.”

 

By Ham Samnang

the cambodia daily

After surviving heavy looting in 1997 and a government shutdown in 1998, Phnom Penh’s only independent radio station, Beehive Radio FM105, is set to close in January—because it is too poor.

The station’s funds have dried up, and will need to be replenished from public support if Beehive is to stay on the air, owner and manager Mam Sonando said.

“I must say I am sad I cannot continue what I have done so far. Without money, I do not know what to do,” he said.

The station, a public forum for the Beehive Social Democratic Party, began broadcasting from Mam Sonando’s home in August 1996. However, its equipment was looted during the Phnom Penh factional fighting of 1997. Ever since sustaining those losses the station has faced an uphill battle, Mom Sonando said.

“The main problem relating to [the station’s] closure is a result of the 1997 fighting that destroyed my station. They cleared everything from my house—even my socks were lost,” he said.

After the fighting, the government promised to pay for the damages, but Mam Sonando said they have failed to deliver.

Mam Sonando said he reopened the Beehive Radio station after the fighting ended, with the help of $20,000 from loans and his own funds.

But the station was shut down by the Ministry of Information in September, 1998, because it was creating “political and social turmoil among the listening public.”

The shutdown came during a week of often violent political protest in Phnom Penh.

The government allowed the station to go back on the air in 1999. Since then, Mam Sonando said he has kept the station going with rent money he received from a house he owns in France. But since July, that money has dried up.

Beehive Radio does not accept alcohol or cigarette advertisements. If it did, Mam Sonando said, the station would double its revenues.

But Mam Sonando preferred to appeal to the public for help.

“If listeners can contribute 500 riel (about $0.12) a month to the station,” he said, “I think we can keep going.”

 

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