LPRC member station Radio Casa Pueblo in Puerto Rico is now the first broadcaster in the Caribbean to operate entirely with renewable energy. The announcement was made during the celebration of the radio station’s tenth anniversary.
Radio Casa Pueblo is part of community-based organization Casa Pueblo in the town of Adjuntas, which was severely affected by hurricane María. After the storm, Casa Pueblo distributed solar lamps, water filters, and other solar systems to their community.
“Radio Casa Pueblo marks a new path for telecommunications. After hurricane Maria, communications collapsed for several reasons such as collapsed antennas, impassable access roads, and the lack of fuel for power generators.” —Arturo Massol, associate director of Casa Pueblo.
During and after the hurricane, Radio Casa Pueblo became the main source of news for a town disconnected due to a collapsed telecommunications infrastructure. The cellular network was down and roads were impassable, making it almost impossible for emergency and recovery services to reach many Puerto Ricans. The station was an important part of Casa Pueblo’s hurricane relief efforts, it also helped keep residents connected and informed.
They say necessity is the mother of all inventions, but Casa Pueblo has a long history of advocacy and community organizing in sustainable development, renewable energy, and environmental justice. Its founder, Alexis Massol, won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2002.
It does take a lot of commitment and a strong will to make something like this happen during one of Puerto Rico’s most dire crises. It is also remarkable how Casa Pueblo made community radio a priority in a time when there are so many needs to address. It takes a strong mix of resilience, innovation, commitment to renewable energy, and a clear understanding of community media, especially in times of emergency.
This is a great example of how community broadcasters can be storytellers and a link connecting many, while being be part of change. Congratulations to Casa Pueblo for reaching such a marvelous and inspiring milestone!
Although the radio station and the organization already operated on solar power, its transmitter depended on a power generator, which represented a financial cost and environmental strain. Now they are more efficient and better prepared to manage emergencies and serve the community.
Radio Casa Pueblo hopes other broadcasters in the Caribbean follow suit and become powered by 100% renewable energy.
The transmitter was made possible through the combined support of donors and the private sector. Casa Pueblo broadcasts through the 1020AM frequency in the
central zone of Puerto Rico, and via Internet through http://casapueblo.org/radio/. For more information, visit their page or follow them on Facebook.