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Haitians Take To The Airwaves In Jacksonville

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Peter Haden
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Radio Puissance Inter - 1530 AM - is north Florida’s first Haitian radio station.

"The main idea is to educate and communicate with the Haitian community," said Dr. Ernst Michel, co-owner of the new station.

Michel and two other Haitian doctors went in on the deal. They plan to offer medical, legal, news and entertainment programming in French and Creole.

"We know the main problem of our people is a lack of information, a lack of education, a lack of communication, and a need to get together," he said. "This station will be a way to meet those needs."

Martina Addie, a Haitian immigrant and manager of a local nonprofit, says she thinks the time is right.

"I think it will be great," said Addie. "I know there are large communities in Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. It’s time for Jacksonville to get on the map."

Community organizers estimate the number of Haitians living in the station’s broadcast area - from Brunswick, Ga. to Daytona, Fla. - at around 40,000.

You can follow Peter Haden on Twitter @HadenMedia.