Finns on The Airwaves

Capt. Russell Craig
First published in
SFOR Informer#139, May 23, 2002

Finnish Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) officers use SFOR Radio Station Mir to broadcast a thirty minute programme in order to aid the return process.

Camp McGovern - In a small hut adorned with the smiling image of radio Mir, Finnish CIMIC and American soldiers work together to create a radio programme that will be effective in influencing Displaced Persons to return to the CIMIC officers area of responsibility.
"This is one way to reach out to possible returnees and let them hear the story of people that have already returned to the area and give them some kind of vision, of what could also be for them in the future," said Finnish 1st Lt. Peter Hellman, Finnish CIMIC officer.
Hellman and Finnish 2nd Lt. Kalle Loihuranta, CIMIC officer, explained that the programmes contained basic information on how the Finnish CIMIC works, as well as interviews with two local returnees who were telling their own stories.

Content and Aim
"They are good examples of returnees. If there is someone out there thinking about returning, if we talk about it, it's just theoretically. Now we can give a concrete example of how things could go, and can go, so they learn from other peoples' experiences," said Loihuranta.
Loihuranta explained that the returnees were chosen, not only because they had returned, but also because they were community leaders, and could, therefore, talk about wider issues. The CIMIC team conducted the interviews. They have had no formal training in interviewing.
"The (CIMIC) team wrote the questions we wanted to ask, it was interesting to think about what to ask, to relay the message that we wanted to give, and to give significant information…(especially) as the interviews were quite short - four or five minutes each," said Loihuranta.

Radio Mir
The Finnish officers, however, were only one half of the process. The Radio Mir staff provided the technical expertise to ensure that the programme was effective for the stations target audience.
"(The show) will be targeted towards our audience, young people. If we can get the message to them, then they in turn can get the message out to their parents and elders, as who has more influence over parents, other than children and young people?" said American Sgt. Jason Stoddard, NCO in charge of Radio Mir.
To achieve this, the show is edited for the target audience.

"We edit it in a way to make it interesting to listen to. We lay it over a background of music - popular music - that's catchy and that the audience is interested in … and the message too will be something that our audience will be interested in, something upbeat and lively," said Stoddard.
Stoddard explained that the editing process involves a varied staff who consists of Bosnians from all three ethnicities, as well as American Spec. Eric Frazier, who helps with forming scripts and live remote broadcasts.
The Finnish CIMIC, Radio Mir mix provides another tool for aiding the return process.
"Hopefully some displaced persons who are thinking about returning can hear these two stories and get some inspiration or motivation to start the return process themselves," said Loihuranta.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Finland, US
SFOR at Work

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Photos: PO Susan Rose

American Spc. Eric Frazier helps to edit the CIMIC radio program.


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Spc. Eric Frazier and American Sgt Jason Stoddard chat about technical aspects of the show.


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The smiling face of Radio Mir.


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The interviews are carefully translated into Bosnian.


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Radio Mir staff pick jingles for the program.


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The winning team, Finnish CIMIC officers and Radio Mir staff stand in front of Radio Mir.