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Intersection: Getting Puerto Rican Public Radio Stations Back On Air

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Carmen Colon. Photo by Eric Breitenbach
Israel Muñoz has been a worker at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport for a decade. Photo by Eric Breitenbach
Photo by Eric Breitenbach
Michael Perez. Photo by Eric Breitenbach
Photo by Eric Breitenbach
Photo by Eric Breitenbach
WMFE President and General Manager LaFontaine Oliver (l) and engineer Mac Dula. Photo by Eric Breitenbach
LaFontaine Oliver helps unload a radio to go kit. Photo: Eric Breitenbach

Amid the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, one of the challenges facing residents has been communication. Under the leadership of the Latino Public Radio Consortium, public radio stations have stepped up to help.

A few weeks ago, WNYC staff flew a ‘radio to go’ kit developed by Coast Alaska public media to Puerto Rico to get WIPR back on the air. It’s one of five public radio stations on the island.

Then a team from WMFE flew out another kit to Cadena Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico (WRTU & WRUO) last week.

Crystal Chavez, 90.7’s host and reporter, and LaFontaine Oliver, 90.7’s president and General Manager joined Intersection to talk about their efforts in Puerto Rico.

Oliver said the ‘radio to go’ kit will help stations get on the air without diesel fuel, but beyond that stations are still struggling financially.

“The need is real and it’s gonna continue to be real for quite sometime from a financial stand point,” he said.

Chavez said people are able to get water, but the electricity is the main problem for everyone on the island.

“Some people are actually saying they’re getting used to living without power and being in the dark,” Chavez said.

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