Roots 96.1 FM is the first urban-based community radio station in the English speaking Caribbean. It was launched by the Mustardseed Communities on May 25, 1998, with the gift of a 20-watt solar powered transmitter and basic studio equipment from UNESCO.
Mustardseed Communities are homes for children born with severe physical and mental disabilities and children born with HIV/AIDS. It is a not-for-profit founded by Roman Catholic priest, Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon in 1978. The organization which started as one small home in the poor community of Mona Commons has expanded to include 10 Homes across Jamaica as well as care missions in Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic.
Over the years Monsignor Ramkissoon actively pursued his vision of “people empowerment” the philosophy that by giving residents easy access to the information they need; they will make better decisions about the quality of their lives. Consultations with residents revealed overwhelming support for a radio station and the citizens themselves coined the name ROOTS and the accompanying slogan:
“The Voice of the Inner City”.
Roots 96.1FM resides in the Heart of the communities of Kingston and St. Andrew and serves a population of approximately 400,000 residents. Over the years the station has maintained strong ties with dedicated listeners who actively participate in Programming.
ROOTS FM Mission Statement
To become a sustainable community radio station, an effective outreach instrument of Mustard Seed Communities, an agent of change through high standards of broadcasting, addressing inner-city community marginalization and challenges of inter-generational poverty through the empowerment of people.