Turning mobiles into mass media devices


Just a week ago, New Dawn FM, the innovative radio station in Buka, Bougainville, launched a new service that has upgraded mobile phones to mass media devices.<!--more-->

With technical help from Canada’s Commonwealth of Learning, the radio station broadcasts local and national headlines and weather bulletins as well as other useful information to all the mobile phones on the island, irrespective of which of the two services on the island that people subscribe to.

The headlines and condensed news items are texted up to three times a day, depending on the developments of the day. “This is a free service and tests have shown it to be quite popular already. Almost everybody on the island has a mobile phone,” Manager Aloysius Laukai said.

The process works quite simply from a laptop loaded with the requisite software application and connected to a mobile phone with a USB cable. All the broadcaster has to do is type the message into the text box in the software application and hit the ‘send’ button. The message must, like all mobile text messages, be of 160 characters or less.

The technology is quite popular elsewhere in the developing world but is only taking root in the Pacific Islands now.

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