20 Jun 2005

Broadcaster in American Samoa says commercial sector could reach outer islands with government help

7:15 am on 20 June 2005

The President of Pago Pago-based South Seas Broadcasting says he finds it perplexing that the government in American Samoa is working with officials of a foreign country to improve broadcast communications to remote islands of the territory.

Larry Fuss was responding to a media report that representatives of American Samoa and the Samoa Broadcasting Corporation in Apia have been directed to find ways to provide broadcast coverage for the Manu'a Island group and Swains Island, especially during times of natural disasters.

Broadcast coverage by the territory's five privately owned radio stations does not reach Manu'a and Swains or even some outlying villages on the main island of Tutuila.

Mr Fuss says American Samoa has the technology and the manpower to provide broadcast coverage for all of the territory but needs government support

He has told government officials that because there's no financial benefit to a privately-owned broadcast company to serve these isolated areas, it could only be done with government funding.

He accuses the territorial government of spending money on new vehicles and other non-essential projects, while ignoring the fact that residents of the Manua's and Swain's Island have no way to receive emergency information during a crisis