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Radio Mallku, Uyuni (4796 kHz)

by Mika Mäkeläinen

I picked up Radio Mallku in November 1999 on the LEM132 DXpedition. Transmitting on 4796.48 kHz (the official frequency being 4795 kHz), Radio Mallku was booming after 2300 UTC. I heard their programs titled Revista Matinal and Sirena Laboral. The station signs off at around 8 p.m. local time or midnight UTC. On Sundays programming lasts until 10 p.m.

Map of Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, a huge salt plateau, is the biggest attraction of the region.

Mallku is an indigenous word and means cóndor. The station was founded four years ago under the name of Radio A.N.D.E.S, but was legalized only in September 1999 under its present name. Perhaps the illegality of the operation was one reason why less verifications from that period were received - at least I didn't get a reply back then.

Aside from the mountain range, A.N.D.E.S. referred to the initials of the five provinces in the area: Antonio Quijarro, Nor Lipez, Daniel Campos, Enrique Baldiviezo and Sud Lipez. However, authorities wouldn't allow the station to operate under the name Radio Andes, because it closely resembles Radio Los Andes, a Tarija radio station, thus forcing the station to find a new name.

Radio Mallku's postal address is Casilla No. 16, Uyuni, Potosí, Bolivia. My verification letter was written by Erwin Freddy Mamani Machaca, Jefe de Prensa y Programación. He referred to two different slogans, which may also be heard on the air: Voz de los Trabajadores Campesinos and La Voz del Altiplano Sud. The station is administered by Federación Regional Única de Trabajadores Campesinos del Altiplano Sud (FRUTCAS), which Freddy describes as the dueño of the radio station.

In April 2000, when Freddy wrote to me, the station employed only two people, but must be using quite a lot of freelance or voluntary workforce, as the station has five hours of programming each weekday, and nine and a half hours on Sundays.

In addition to the very informative verification letter, Freddy sent me a photo of Hotel de Sal located in the middle of Salar de Uyuni, a huge salt plateau. The 12.400-square-kilometer salt plateau is a major tourist attraction, Freddy says. The city Uyuni itself is an important railroad crossing, but otherwise the area is a neglected backyard of Bolivia where people are poor and climate is hostile.

(published on July 4th 2000)

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