Radio K’ekchi’ 92.5 FM in Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, Guatemala celebrates its 26th anniversary March 11. Lorna and I lived in Las Casas for 12 months in 1987-88 to train the staff and design the programming. At that time, Radio K’ekchi’ was assigned the short-wave frequency of 4835 kHz on the 60-meter band. While our 2KW transmitter was being shipped to Guatemala, Radio Cultural TGN (the “granddaddy” of all religious broadcasting in Guatemala) loaned us a 250-watt transmitter to get us on the air.
I remember it well. It was 11-12-13: March 11 at 12:13 noon. A small group of us who had worked hard to launch the station was present in the transmitter shack about six blocks from the studios. There was Brother Elías Cuc Quim, president of the K’ekchi’ Baptist Association; Missionary Richard Greenwood and one of the first announcers–Felix Och and I. We formed a circle in the transmitter shack and someone led us in a prayer of thanksgiving. Then–through “walkie-talkies”, we signaled to manager Gilberto Sun Xicol in the control room to start the programming for the first time! What an emotional moment!
During the late 80’s, there were only four telephones in Las Casas, so Radio K’ekchi’ was the main means of transmitting messages. This was a long time before the advent of cell phones. The Greetings and Messages show was the most popular program on the station. Eventually as interest in short-wave broadcasting waned, Radio K’ekchi’ began broadcasting on the 92.5 FM frequency in 1992.
Through these last 26 years, we’ve had our share of problems–technical, legal and political. God protected us through the 30 Years War when at times, the brethren had to disconnect all the equipment and hide it under hay in a barn. When we would be forced off the air because of technical problems–for days at a time–listeners would comment that it was like a death in the family. Congratulations to Manager Coc Yat and Program Director Rolando Ico–and all the personnel.