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TARAWA, Kiribati (Radio Kiribati/PINA, Dec. 12) - Tarawa's first non-government radio station, FM101, hopes to be on the air on New Year's Day. It follows approval of its broadcasting licence by Kiribati's Ministry of Information.

Permanent secretary of Information, Communications and Transport Francis Ngaalu told Radio Kiribati News that he had signed the FM broadcast station license.

The owner of FM101, former president Ieremia Tabai, said that they have been waiting over the past four years the license, which he said was held by the ministry without any good reason.

Its approval came just three days before the hearing of a court action by FM101 over this.

FM101 already has its equipment in place.

Mr Tabai said they are close to being ready to go on the air but will probably wait to launch the station on January 1.

Mr Tabai said the station will offer news bulletins, talk shows and music.

He told Radio New Zealand International:

"What we are trying to do is offer the people, the public, an option as to what they can listen to. And we will be a better service than what's been provided by the government. In my view it is going to be an exciting period, because it is the first time in our history that a private radio station has been on the air."

December 12, 2002

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