What has happened to Kyushu International FM?
In the November 2002 issue of Fukuoka Now, we printed an editorial about Love FM, the local “international” radio station, and asked our readers to give us their opinions. Here’s a sample of what we received.
Love FM began broadcasting five years ago with the goal of contributing to the internationalization of the Japanese community while providing information for our non-Japanese listeners. When we first went on air, our shows had a strong “information for non-Japanese listeners” flavor to them, and we became known simply as a “foreign language station”. But this alone is not the goal of Love FM. Contributing to our Japanese listeners’ international understanding is one of our biggest goals. We are working to increase opportunities for Japanese people to understand foreigners and foreign countries through international programs that can be enjoyed by all Japanese listeners. Can one say that foreign-language programs are “international” because they are done in a language other than Japanese? Unlike the days when Love FM began broadcasting, today the development of the internet and BS and CS broadcasts allow us to have access to information from around the world in a matter of moments. With an information infrastructure like we have today, what is the role that Love FM must fulfill in Fukuoka? Our answer to this question is our current lineup of programs. The weeknight show “Insight” is an international program with a polished atmosphere, unlike anything that could have been produced in Fukuoka before now. Of course we are very prepared to provide non-Japanese people living within our listening area with information when it is necessary. For Love FM to continue broadcasting in Fukuoka this is a necessity.
Takashi Sakata, Sales & Production Manager, Love FM
Love FM is free to use more Japanese announcers and play more Japanese music – but if they do, they shouldn’t receive government funding, nor sponsorship from local companies on the assumption and promise that they are serving foreigner’s needs – because they aren’t. They get funding and sponsorship now on the promise of providing us foreigners with special programming at reasonable listening hours – but now they DON’T. Local companies and governments thinking they are supporting “internationalism” are being cheated just like us gaijin.
When I heard Love FM was dropping most of its English-language programs, I was horrifiedﾑuntil I listened to the new version. It’s much, much better. The music mix is better and the personalities sound more professional. It is a shame that so many programs come from Tokyo rather than being local, but it’s worth it for something decent to listen to.
Very few Japanese people are into the international music scene. Love FM can’t be against what listeners want, and the fact that it’s more and more Japanese reflects the lack of interest in international programs.
Miguel Yasuyuki Hirota
I thought that that Love FM was about reflecting the foreigners who are a part of Japan. I’m sad to discover the station I enjoyed was wearing me like a set of novelty clothes off the rack. Just to suit an occasion and attract attention. But we all deserve it. We are so divided! We allowed Love FM to feature a high-profile and well-employed portion of Fukuoka’s foreign community and ignore the majority who aren’t from Western countries. Yet if foreigners in Japan saw themselves as a single group they would represent much more than a disposable resource. I hope the foreign community gets its act together. Then projects like Love FM will really fly.
Love FM has gone beyond the bounds of stupidity by employing a Japanese personality who had never been to Kyushu to broadcast from Tokyo. It seems local news in foreign languages is no longer the purpose of Love FM. Maybe we can apply to the government to set up another station to do the job Love FM was supposed to do?
Name withheld by request
I doubt Love FM can even make it another year with these cost-cutting policies, because they’ve betrayed their loyal listeners by sacrificing the most important element of their existence, providing information in foreign languages to non-Japanese in Fukuoka. I think it’s time we foreigners were given fair treatment as members of the community. More thought should be given on how to allow us to contribute to Fukuoka’s development. A special committee of foreigners and Japanese involved in international exchange activities and professionals related to radio broadcasting should be set up to help Love FM regain its course into the hearts of its loyal listeners and the people of Fukuoka.
I completely agreed with your editorial. When the station first started, there was a mix of different languages but there are a lot less recently. I love traveling and want to get used to hearing foreign languages so I only listened to Love FM. But recently there has really been too little foreign content and Love FM has become just like every other FM station.
It’s been a month since the big changes at Love FM. I’ve been listening to Love FM since the beginning, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the station has lost its international flavor. I do think there are a lot of Japanese personalities and I wonder what their programs are about now. The new Love FM AJs don’t talk as much as other station’s DJs, and that is something I’m glad hasn’t changed. It’s too bad that there is so much Japanese on Love FM now, but I want to keep a watch on the station and see how it goes.
These days Love FM is not interesting at all. It has more Japanese personalities, plays more Japanese music, and is pretty much like all the other stations. Since most Love FM listeners are interested in foreigners or international issues, this change is unfortunate. Admittedly, many of the Japanese personalities can speak some English and have had experience overseas, but I doubt that this is what listeners of an “international station” are looking for.