The President of the University of Liberia, Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., has relaunched the university’s radio station Lux FM 106.5, rebranding it for broadcast to various counties from Louisiana in Montserrado, five years after it was put off air by a  fire disaster. 

“And now, my friends, I am very, very pleased, ladies and gentlemen, men and women of the University of Liberia that it is my distinct pleasure and privilege to announce to the University of Liberia family and the public that Lux FM 106.5 is back in business,” Dr. Nelson said Thursday, July 23, 2020 on the university’s Fendall Campus.

For five years, he said the university has pushed all the cells to mobilize resources under admittedly strenuous conditions to restore Lux FM, adding that a new transmitter of 500 watts was purchased, a building was renovated to host this radio station and a 175m – atena was erected.

“We are here today, I really, really mean today, Thursday, 23rd of July, 2020, few days from the 173rd Independence of the Republic of Liberia, thankfully, not to apologize or agonize [about] when the radio will come on, but to put an end to a long wait and agony experienced by the University of Liberia,” he said.

UL President Dr. Nelson delivers statement at the ceremony marking the reopening of Lux FM
UL President Dr. Nelson delivers statement at the ceremony marking the reopening of Lux FM

He indicated that Lux FM is now a full-fledged radio station with capacity for a nationwide broadcast. He hoped that not just the students, faculty and staff, but the people of Louisiana community will take ownership of this rebranded, relaunched Lux Radio.

With the corporation fully restored and broadcasting from the township of Louisiana in Montserrado County, Dr. Nelson said he is confident that the University of Liberia will utilize the platform to engage more with its students, faculty, staff and the public in these thriving times.

Under this new dispensation at UL, Dr. Nelson disclosed that Lux FM will be a subsidiary of Lux Investment Corporation going to the future and its Advisory Board will be chaired by Atty. Norris L. Tweah, the UL’s Vice President for University Relations.

 He noted that five years is a very long time to be off the airwaves, adding that this long wait has meant deep frustration to many, especially those who ran the radio station.

“Certainly, Lux FM has been duly and dearly missed by the people here at the university. Thank God it is back. Lux Radio , Lux FM 106.5,” he noted.

During the ceremony, Dr. Nelson recounted that on March 21, 2015, the University of Liberia’s radio station, popularly known at the time as Lux FM 106.6 was gutted by fire.

Spot interview with Dr. Nelson and team following the relaunching of Lux FM 106.5
Spot interview with Dr. Nelson and team following the relaunching of Lux FM 106.5

He said their hearts were broken as they watched in shock that dreadful incident when firefighters struggled unsuccessfully to stop Lux FM from going down in flames.

Dr. Nelson confessed that the loss of a radio station to fire was one too many for a public university like the University of Liberia that must constantly reinvent itself to meet expectations under suboptimal fiscal conditions.

As a member of one big university family, Dr. Nelson said the station was a key component of the institution’s messaging system as well as an important academic infrastructure that served Liberia College through the Department of Mass Communication.

Broadcasting from Capitol Hill at the time, Dr. Nelson said Lux FM provided valuable radio experiences for Mass Communication students specializing in Broadcast Journalism.

“The fire disaster took away popular programs such as the President’s Hour; Watch Tower; UL Panorama, amongst others,” he said.

Lux FM studio
Lux FM studio

Immediately after the fire disaster, Dr. Nelson recalls that students and faculty embarked upon the effort of restoring the station that included raising funds, led by the Alumni Association of the Mass Communication Department to assist with the cost of restoration. 

According to Dr. Nelson, the university invested substantially in the effort, especially after the decision was made to relocate the station from Capitol Hill to Fendall.

He reminded the audience that Lux FM helped the work of the university in image – building, presented a neutral platform of airing of views and kept UL students adequately informed about developments at the University of Liberia.

(L-R): Dr. Zinnah (VP for Academic Affairs), Mr. Togar (Chair, Mass Comm) & Dr. Nelson (President, UL)
(L-R): Dr. Zinnah (VP for Academic Affairs), Mr. Togar (Chair, Mass Comm) & Dr. Nelson (President, UL)

“From a general perspective…”, Dr. Nelson added “…radio is a reliable tool for reaching a mass audience in a cost – efficient and cost – effective manner.”

 He said it has stood the test of time and absorbed the often uneasy creative disruption of the rapid technological advancement being experienced today. 

Amidst genuine threats of new media platforms becoming default channels for engagements with mass audiences globally, Dr. Nelson indicated that radio remains the most popular medium for mass messaging in Liberia as well as many parts of the developing, transitioning and developed worlds.

He thanked all those who have worked so diligently to achieve this milestone, and also expressed special gratitude to the Chairman of the Mass Communication Department, Liberia College, Mr. Euriahs Togar for spearheading the university radio restoration project and seeing it through.

Atty. Norris L. Tweah, Vice President for University Relations, University of Liberia
Atty. Norris L. Tweah, Vice President for University Relations, University of Liberia

He also thanked UL Vice President for Institutional Development Prof. Weade Kobba – Boley and his predecessors Dr. Emmett A. Dennis and Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks for their commitment to restore Lux FM after the incident.