It has been almost a year since a private company took control of the financially ailing public radio service in the Cook Islands.
Privatization may have been an attractive option for a government wishing to cut its payroll, but it has not improved the radio station’s fortunes.
Two of the four owners of the Cook Islands Broadcasting Service (CIBS) withdrew from the business in March. The company is in debt and losing money. It is also being sued by an equipment supplier in Tahiti following the collapse of a US $55,000 purchase in which shares were to be transferred as partial payment.
Following privatization, radio programs were cancelled and staff members lost their jobs or took deep wage cuts. An owner described relations with advertisers as “not so good – we didn’t have their support.”