Radio Signal FM and Mario Viau

After the earthquake struck on January 12, 2010 the country's telecommunications infrastructure, including television, phones and the radio all suffered severely. The frightened populace, left stranded from news across Haiti by the destruction the disaster wrought on technology, were given hope as one radio station, miraculously, relatively unscathed, stood to tell the tale.


Port-au-Prince's Signal FM started off its twentieth year as the only radio station still able to broadcast. Not only was the infrastructure intact, but the 50 person staff, all but three of whom were on-site, had been unhurt, and suddenly theirs was the only means of communication for people across Haiti and the concerned around the world.

Station head Mario Viau stated he didn't know how their antennae hadn't succumbed, and, as the only conduit for information, the staff stayed on and continued working, even through personal tragedies and the unlikelihood of timely payment due to the collapse of the banks.

Radio Signal FM became the telephone of the Haitians, and they, the station's journalists. Callers relayed desperately needed information across cities and town, and news of deaths and survivals, information on the missing and messages from the outside world all filtered through the station. Many lives were saved by search and rescue, which used the station as their guide to where they were needed. Understanding the importance of their new-found position, the station stayed on 24 hours and relayed information with only minimal breaks to play music.

As listenership for Radio Signal FM sky-rocketed and people gathered outside the station walls, the shortfalls of satellite radio became blatantly apparent.

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Barbara Collier says...

I am a 67 year-old communication graduate student.

In 2016 I retired and went to China to teach English; I was surprised, but now concerned about how the weather and the unpredictable weather patterns are spreading.

My research papers revolve around the 2010 earthquake (technology that was available - radio, and trust in institutions that may have failed - American Red Cross housing).

I need truth, not case studies that may omit the facts.

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