Radio Haiti was the first independent Haitian radio station and the first public media platform to broadcast largely in Creole. Under the leadership of journalists Jean Dominique and Michele Montas, the station spent decades covering the social, cultural and political stories often ignored by most other Haitian media. Radio Haiti was shut down by the government a number of times and was under constant government pressure while it was on the air.
Dominique was assassinated in 2000 and Montas continued running the station until an attempt on her own life in 2003 forced her to close the station for good. Thousands of tapes from the station still remain, and last year Montas decided to donate this archive to Duke University who has digitized the tapes and made them available on the web. They will live permanently at radiohaitilives.com.
Host Frank Stasio talks to two Duke University employees working on the project: Laurent Dubois, professor of romance studies and history and the founder of the Forum for Scholars and Publics, and Laura Wagner, an anthropologist and writer. Stasio is also joined by Radio Haiti’s former co-director Michele Montas.
Watch how Duke Library staff are preserving the Radio Haiti tapes:
Here's a preview of the documentary The Agronomist, a 2003 documentary about Jean Dominique, Michele Montas and Radio Haiti: