Where’s the Love?

Oct 24, 2011 19:18 No Comments

What has happened to Kyushu International FM?

Love FM, officially Kyushu Kokusai (International) FM, began broadcasting in 1997. The station’s objective, and presumably a major criterion in the station’s licensing, was to provide information in foreign languages to non-Japanese residents. The need for which became obvious after the 1995 Kansai earthquake when many foreign residents were literally left out in the cold.

Over five years have passed since Love FM’s debut, and each season it continues to lose its “international” flavor. In 1997 there wasn’t a single Japanese announcer; this season there are over a dozen. The scheduling of the surviving foreign-language programs also seems odd. Considering China and Korea’s proximity to Fukuoka (“the gateway to Asia”) and their importance to Japan, why are the one-hour Korean and Chinese programs on at 7am on weekend mornings? Philippinos, Thai, Indonesians, Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking people are presumed to be early risers as well, since their meager 30-minute weekly shows begin at 6:30 am. Is Love FM proud of its international programming, or ashamed of it?

In 1997, only the late-night show “Horizons” (26:00~06:55) was wired in from Tokyo. This season at least 12 shows are being piped in from outside Kyushu. Great if you’re more interested in Roppongi than Tenjin.

But why the changes? Presumably the need to cut production and operating costs combined with poor advertising sales. But wasn’t Love FM originally intended to be a community-oriented station? Wasn’t broadcasting in foreign languages a key part of its original constitution? Where’s the “Kokusai” in “Kyushu Kokusai FM?” Where’s the “Kyushu”, and most importantly, where’s the love?

As a part of the Fukuoka’s international community, we’re concerned about Love FM’s new direction, and we’d like to hear your thoughts as well. Send us your comments by email. Email in either Japanese or English to editor@fukuoka-now.com

See “Where’s the Love? Part Two” for a sampling of comments we’ve received from our readers.

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