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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 16, 1998 - Fiji Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire/Media Watch)---Communications Fiji, Ltd. -- the company which owns FM96, Navtarang and Viti FM radio stations -- is forming a joint venture FM radio station in the Solomon Islands.

The station will be based in Honiara and the local partner is understood to be John Lamani, publisher and owner of the Solomon Star, the Solomon Islands' only major newspaper.

The venture will make Communications Fiji the biggest broadcaster in the Pacific Islands.

Apart from its three stations in Fiji, Communications Fiji also runs two stations in Port Moresby in a joint venture with a local company.

The Port Moresby stations are called NauFM, which broadcasts in English, and YumiFM, which broadcasts in Pidgin.

The stations use state-of-the-art satellite technology to overcome the high mountains that make FM broadcasting restrictive in Papua New Guinea.

It is not yet certain if it will also use the same technology in the Solomon Islands.

Communications Fiji's Managing Director William Parkinson, the driver behind the company's Pacific Islands expansion, is overseas and cannot be contacted.

But company General Manager Ian Jackson confirmed the Solomon Islands plan yesterday. He said work had started on the infrastructure and broadcasts should start in seven months.

Mr. Parkinson worked for the Fiji Broadcasting Commission before starting Communications Fiji in 1985. His other shareholders include companies like Punjas.

Initially, he launched FM96, which serviced the greater Suva area and which introduced for the first time to this country the concept of 24-hour radio broadcast services, anchored on music and news.

He expanded the service to the west of Viti Levu and then moved to cover Vanua Levu. He then launched the Hindi station Navtarang followed by the Fijian station Viti FM.

This year he launched the company's Internet website, which carries news and advertising. He also holds the exclusive license to rebroadcast the BBC on a 24-hour basis.

Title -- 1817 MEDIA: Fiji in joint radio station in Honiara Date -- 16 November 1998 Byline -- Press release Origin

Source -- Daily Post (Fiji), 16/11/1998 Copyright -- DP Status -- Unabridged PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organization comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

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