Turn on WBOI, 89.1-FM on a Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. and you will hear something completely different – a Burmese-language show.
The half-hour broadcast, the brain child of Thiha Kyi and Thin Koko, gives listeners in the Fort Wayne Burmese community and Burmese across the country their own voice.
Thin Koko said they reach out to Burmese across the United States for debate and discussions on politics, both here and in Burma, as well as social, and health issues. They also have music, education and lifestyle features.
So far they have talked to Burmese in the Carolinas; Buffalo N.Y.; Indiana; and California – basically anywhere Burmese have resettled in the United States.
The show is recorded both on location and in their studio in Fairfax, Va., where Thin KoKo said they can record five people at one time from outside the studio.
The first show aired July 1, and Thin Koko said the response has been excellent. They have listeners from across the country as well as in Singapore and Japan.
The program is modeled after the Golden Moon cable TV program that began on Fort Wayne's public access channel two years ago. Last winter the producers realized if they started a radio program they could reach a lot more people then the TV show could. Thin Koko said radio show reaches people all over the world. It was then that they began looking around for a station to broadcast from and called Will Murphy, General Manager of Northeast Indiana Public Radio.
Murphy said the Burmese producers put the show together and then send it into the station, ready for broadcast.
Currently they are working to get the show broadcast in Burma.
“We are just waiting to get the green light,” Thin Koko said.
A few years ago Thin Koko said this would not even have been a possibility but now that the Burmese government is beginning to ease its hard-line isolationist policies, Thin Koko said it could happen.
“We have to try, for the people,” Thin Koko said.
So far they have been funding the program out of their own pockets and using their own time to put it together. Once a month Thin Koko travels to Indiana to touch base with the Burmese community there. He said they do the show because they know their people need it.