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
"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
as the interviews were quite short - four or five minutes
each," said Loihuranta.
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 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,"
Nations of SFOR: Finland,
SFOR at Work