Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LTAS: Behind the Scenes

Listeners love listening to the 30-minute exciting, energy-packed radio show but would probably be incredulous to know how many hours every week need to be put into the production of a single episode of the “Let’s Talk About Sex” radio show. The hit weekly youth radio show is the result of a combined team effort, with the four youth hosts committing up to 40 hours of work each week, in addition to those of other staff and radio producers who work on the team. But even more, there are some prominent organizations and institutions that provide the logistical and technical support needed to make the show formidable tool that it has become today in the fight against HIV and unintended pregnancy in Liberia.

Kula Fofana, Bookman Muapoe, Janice Pratt and Mahmud Johnson are the four young people who present the show. But their work extends far beyond merely sitting in the cozy UNMIL Radio studio and talking. The hosts themselves research content for the show, develop the live show and drama scripts, create the monthly newsletter, manage the web blog, book guests, host outreach events, amongst a myriad of other challenging tasks. Joseph DeMarco is the coordinator of the program. Hear what he has to say about his hosts: “LTAS is a program where the youth control all the programming. They write the script, host the show, create the monthly newsletter, and provide their voice to all of the planning and executing. Working with such talented youth leaves you awestruck at their limitless abilities. My main focus now is continuing to find opportunities to ensure their voice is heard for the benefit of not only their peers, but Liberia as a whole”.

The show has segments and corners that are aired at specific time intervals during the live show- “Fast Facts”; “What’s In Your Hood?”; and the weekly LTAS Drama Series, which has to be pre-recorded. This requires a small crew. Lisa White, Senior UNMIL Radio Producer leads this crew as the official LTAS producer. She is assisted by producer Facia Harris and intern Edwin Genoway.

As the famous adage reads; “money makes the world go round.” LTAS is no exception. This show is funded by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). UNMIL Radio provides the air time, and the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare, and Youth and Sports are partners.

Producing a youth-tailored radio show that serves both the purposes of education and entertainment in contemporary Liberia is not an easy task. But the individuals and institutions throwing their weight behind the LTAS show are not ones to support unchallenging projects. Although the task is demanding, the LTAS show has unending potential in fighting HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancies among Liberian youths.

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