Since 2005, volunteers and staff from WERU have been working with counterparts at Radio Sumpul, a community radio station in Chalatenango, El Salvador to build a relationship for the exchange of information and ideas and for experiencing crosscultural community radio solidarity.
Radio Sampul is a community radio station located in Guarjilla, El Salvador, in the northern province of Chalatenango. Radio Sumpul was started after the Salvadoran civil war (1980–1992), along with many other community radio stations around the country, to broadcast social and political issues and music relevant to people at the local level. While struggling to gain legal status in the mid ‘90s, all community stations were forcibly shut down by the government, except for Radio Sumpul, which resisted!
With assistance from the U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Network, PICA and MOFGA, WERU collaborates with Radio Sumpul to cover important issues, promote cultural awareness and support delegations of people from Maine and Chalatenango to visit each other and strengthen sistering relationships. Representatives of Radio Sumpul have traveled to Maine and visited WERU, and our staff and volunteers have also traveled to El Salvador and visited Radio Sumpul.
Radio Sumpul broadcasts daily from 5 am to 9 pm. A typical day of programming starts off with Ranchera music, morning announcements (such as public events, patron saint festivals, community assemblies and birthdays) from 6:30 to 7 am, followed by a mix of different Latin music styles: Grupera, Merengue, Bachata, and Tropical music, played in blocks until 11:40 am when they wrap up the hour for more announcements. Between noon and 5:30 they have “Hits from Yesterday,” then they take requests, have a children’s hour, folk music and then eclectic music. News is from 5:30 to 6:30 pm followed by Reggae Techno Youth Music until 9 pm.
Operating a Community Radio Station in rural El Salvador presents many challenges, including a variety of technical problems that must be overcome in order to serve the people. Radio Sumpul is part of a social movement working to empower rural people and all Salvadorans struggling against economic, environmental, cultural and political oppression, and it is difficult to provide the most timely national news and information to its community without such up to date technology.
We invite listeners to help contribute to future Radio Sumpul needs by sending checks to: WERU, P.O. Box 170, East Orland, ME 04431, with “Radio Sumpul” on the envelope and in the memo line of the check.