"I was born in the village of Sveta Petka. I graduated from the Pristina University in 1993, majored in biology, and have been working as a journalist for more than five years," says Miroslav Jocic, adding that the opportunity to do something in the biweekly "Srpski Venac" [the Serb Wreath] and the eponymous radio station existed until JUL took over the local authorities in 1997. The new authorities in the Bujanovac Municipality merged the radio station and the magazine into one company and Mirjana Petrovic, a Serb literature teacher at the primary school "Branko Radicevic" became the director. The new authorities changed the name of "Srpski Venac" to "Bujanovacke Novine" [Bujanovac newspapers] and Radio Srpski Venac to Radio Bujanovac. The municipal organization of the Socialist Party of Serbia immediately founded "Novi Srpski Venac" [the New Serb Wreath]. Soon Oliver Trajkovic opened his music Radio Ema, which never had a news program.
After the arrival of Mirjana Petrovic to "Bujanovacke Novine", which were at the time left to its own devices, and Radio Bujanovac, these companies lost more than 65 percent of journalists and technicians. On the eve of the local elections in 2000, Tatjana Logar came to Bujanovac with the intention to stimulate the remaining employees in the Bujanovac radio with a bonus amounting to 20 percent of their salaries, otherwise below 2,500 dinars a month.
"During the last year or so, we were not allowed to greet on the street any declared supporters of the opposition, let alone to invite them to be guests in the studio," says Jocic adding that the AM transmitter in Borovac was totally destroyed during the bombardment, and that the only remaining transmitter never worked at more than 15 percent of its full capacity.
Thanks to the help from the Serbian state and Federal authorities, Radio Bujanovac paid on the New Year's eve more than 300,000 dinars for outstanding electricity charges, which haven't been paid since the founding of the station on February 26, 1997. The government invested more than 1,500,000 dinars in purchase of the equipment for the new station and replacement of old, obsolete equipment. The salaries of the employees were increased by 95%.
"We are currently working on the new program, which will have to be approved by our owner, the Bujanovac Municipality local council," says Jocic, adding that, "we intend to above all improve our news programs. Because of the current situation we every day broadcast press conferences from the Press Center. We plan to broadcast our news programs every other hour, while Radio Belgrade news would be broadcast in between. We would also like to bring back some programs that used to be popular with the youth, as well as to offer new programming to our listeners."
In mid December Biserka Matic-Spasojevic promised that the government would assist the founding of a radio station in Presevo. According to Behlull Nasufi, the editor-in-chief of Radio Presevo, the station ought to start broadcasting in less than three weeks.
"In several days, more precisely on January 15, we are supposed to receive new equipment and to install it in the Culture hall," says Nusufi, who has just submitted a request for a broadcasting license to the Federal Telecommunications Ministry.
"Minister Matic has approved the distribution of Albanian language newspapers printed in Kosovo in Presevo, as well as cooperation with journalists who live and work in Kosovo, and even in Albania. However, although we received the necessary permits, the newspapers still haven't arrived to Presevo. I requested from Stole Filipovic, the Police Chief in Presevo, to provide us with Albanian language newspapers for at least the internal use in the library, but he was not willing to do that."