Radio Paraclete, a radio station guided by the holy spirit as its name indicates, has been broadcasting in the diocese of Gbarnga, in Liberia, since early 2020. This radio station was born from Bishop Anthony Borwah’s vision to evangelize through the use of the media, for which he contacted SIGNIS Services Rome to turn it into a reality. Radio Paraclete’s voice spreads not only the Gospel but also news and information that promote justice, human development, peace, reconciliation, and youth development. It does the latter by providing young people with the opportunity to work on the radio and teach them all about it.
A young woman named Florence Flomo is one of the radio enthusiasts that work at Radio Paraclete. In an interview on SIGNIS With You Live with SIGNIS Services Rome, she shared that her interest in Radio Paraclete started in her village, as she would listen to her friends on the radio and thought that she too, could be the voice speaking. Florence was not really sure about doing it, but she remembered that when she was in high school she would read a lot, and the press director of the school approached her to help him in his communication-related work. She says that “it was scary because there were so many people with more experience and knowledge” than her that it would even make her want to run away, until one day the press-director-turned-friend invited her to a radio station to do a report for the school.
Based on the presentation she did, the management of the radio station asked who Florence was, and why was she coming to volunteer there so often. That led the media consultant of the radio to encourage her to keep coming and to get a certificate from a media institution, which she did and ended up volunteering for her local radio for two years, while she studied.
Later on, around 2018, Florence went to Gbarnga to try and make her way through the radio world. “But getting into stations was very difficult. Based on political interest, you could only be appointed by a politician’s recommendation, but I never had that connection”, Florence says. Seeing how difficult it was, she decided to go back to school and focus on her education, even if she still loved the radio, “I always loved listening to the radio because it is something that is informative and educates people on some of the major issues”. It was not until Radio Paraclete debuted that Florence got to return to the radio world. “One day I turned on the radio and heard something different, I asked myself ‘what was going on, this radio was not here before!’, so I decided to ask and go to Radio Paraclete”. Florence saw an opportunity and took it.
Currently, Florence casts news, presents, interviews, and broadcasts at Radio Paraclete, proudly saying that “there are no limits for her in this field”. Even if she has had many amazing experiences, one of her best ones is the fact that people recognize her in the streets. “I now have fans, people that I don’t know stop me in the street and tell me ‘Oh Florence, thank you for doing better. Continue, I like your voice, you flow well. I just like the way you do presentations, keep on!’. So it was surprising, I didn’t know that people like these would be coming around, and even getting to know my name”. Florence is very thankful to the team and management of Radio Paraclete, especially to Bishop Borwah as they have all “made possible improving people’s day by and helping people to know their potential”.
When asked about Radio Paraclete’s impact on society, Florence shares that “Radio Paraclete is always in a quest to disseminate information of quality, no matter the religion and the affiliation because when I look around me, the radio stations that I see are based on interest, [Radio Paraclete] instead, always goes for people’s interests”. Radio Paraclete tells the stories of those that need to be heard, like producers, agriculturists or people with disabilities. “There are a lot of programmes we run here for the communities”, says Florence. “You listen to quality broadcasting. It has always been something that we do, that’s our aim, to promote development instead of interest”.f
Florence Flomo’s story quickly encapsulates the positive things a local radio station can do for society. A young woman, full of potential, is given the opportunity to serve her peers and community by doing what she loves: good quality journalism. This has been the dream of Radio Paraclete even since it started broadcasting right in the middle of the pandemic, and Florence’s testimony shows how it has gone above and beyond to serve the diocese of Gbarnga.