Haiti’s Radio Soleil slowly getting back to normal

Father Desinord Jean, director of Radio Soleil, broadcasts from a van in Petionville, Haiti. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Back in February when a CNS photographer and I visited the makeshift operation of Radio Soleil, Haiti’s popular Catholic radio station, it was on the air, but barely so.

Things are much better, if not absolutely normal, today.

Courtesy of the U.S. bishops and a number of German church-related benefactors, $100,000 in new studio equipment is making its way to Petionville, a suburb in the hills above the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, where the station relocated after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The equipment replaces what was lost when the building that housed the station collapsed during the 45 seconds of shaking in the central part of the city, across the street from the now-ruined Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Since returning to the airwaves Jan. 24, Radio Soleil has operated from the station’s van, which was moved to the courtyard of a sturdy building that survived the quake. Staffers flattened the tires so no one could make off with a few pieces of replacement equipment bought in the Dominican Republic.

Jesuit Father Pierre Belanger, who coordinates the communication effort for his order’s province for French Canada and Haiti, has been helping the station return to its normal around-the-clock operation. He is also fostering stronger ties between Radio Soleil and the nine other Catholic stations across the country.

In addition to assistance from the U.S. bishops, Radio Soleil is getting the support of German organizations, including Aid to the Church in NeedAdveniat, the German bishops’ mission office for Latin America, the Diocese of Cologne and Catholic Media Council, a consulting agency that assists emerging communications efforts worldwide.

The new studio equipment will be housed in two pre-fabricated modular units in the courtyard of a sturdy building which survived the earthquake with only minor damage. The Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince is relocating to the building as well.

Communicating with Haiti remains sporadic and CNS could not reach Father Desinord Jean, station director and general manager. But Father Belanger said that the Haitian priest has resumed his normal hectic schedule after suffering a leg injury in a strong aftershock as he fled his sheet tent.

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1 Response to Haiti’s Radio Soleil slowly getting back to normal

  1. hello radio solei this is me

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