Uganda’s Radio ACORN

ACORN International

            New Orleans       The monthly ACORN Africa call had much to celebrate.  Good news for the cane workers organizing in Cameroon.  Encouraging assembly held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.  Good action results reported from Liberia.  A successful training session on our work in Democratic Republic of the Congo.   And, finally, Radio ACORN is streaming on the air in Uganda!

I first met Ricky Moses Ojok and Kenneth Lubangakene in Kampala, Uganda in early December 2018.  Previously, we had exchanged emails after Ricky had reached out looking for help in getting a radio station on the air.  I had promised to visit with both Ricky and Kenneth the next time I was in East Africa with our Kenyan affiliate, so we met for several days.  The process of putting a radio station on the air seemed difficult, but not impossible.  After extensive discussions, we concluded that the easiest course to bring a “voice of the people” station to people in Uganda was to try for a license for an internet station to see if we could build an audience and support for a terrestrial station sometime in the future.

We could blame the long process to success on the pandemic, but that was only part of the problem.  Every time we thought we had fulfilled all the requirements, there always seemed to be something else.  We weren’t getting rejected, so much as we would go months and months with no answer at all.  Kenneth is based in the Uganda capitol of Kampala, so it fell to him to frequently go to the radio and television bureau to inquire about our status.

Ricky is based in Arua, Uganda, which is virtually on the other side of the country in the northwestern corner of Uganda.  Wikipedia describes Arua as “…an important base for non-governmental organizations working in the West Nile sub-region or serving Western Equatoria in South Sudan and the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.”  The community is growing rapidly with almost 80,000 population now, a huge jump from hardly 10,000 fifty years ago.  The studio for Radio ACORN is located in Arua.

Earlier this year, we finally received the official approval and the broadcasting license and now, after several stops and starts, we are on the air.  Work is still being done on everything from station IDs to the full schedule, but we are running 24-7 with lots of music, along with shows from other stations that are part of the Affiliated Media Foundation Movement Network.

We preserved, and now we have prevailed, so we are excited to see what contribution Radio ACORN can make to Uganda as a “voice of the people.”