SOLOMONS LOCAL TELEVISION STATION ON RISE

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One Television has gone from 5 to 50 employees

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 17, 2010) - In just fours years, Solomon Islands One News television station has grown from an operation with five employees to one with fifty.

The country has never had a local television service before. But One News is now in the process of gaining the Solomons first local television license. And it still operates out of an old house that its founder, Dorothy Wickham, bought off a relative. Not long ago, the country was close to collapse because of internal ethnic conflict. But as things have stabilized since an intervention by the Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI, Dorothy Wickham has seized every opportunity.

Dorothy Wickham began with a fifteen minutes a day news service produced in a tiny room at the King Solomon Hotel.

They burnt their news onto a DVD which they then rushed across the road to Solomons Telecom which would put it to air interrupting their relays of Australia Network or the BBC.

Dorothy's team broadcasts the local matches but her real break came with the World Cup four years ago.

"We didn't have the money, of course, so we got it on a sort of credit basis. So we went and sold the World Cup and gave them their cut and kept ours and that was the first bit of cash we got and started rolling from then on. Fifteen minutes a night, then we went to four hours. Then we stayed at four hours for a while and then, on the World Cup this year, we actually went 24 hours right after the World Cup" said Dorothy.

Her real skill has been cutting deals - getting sponsors to buy cameras for her operation as well as paying for the product.

"I'm amazed myself that we're still around. But we're still here. Let's hope we'll be here for the next ten years putting out what we do best and that's local programming."

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