GRTS is The Gambia's only public service broadcaster. In December 1995 the Government commissioned the Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) TV station.
Under the umbrella of Gambia Telecommunications Company (Gamtel) it was to perform test transmissions from a 5KW transmitter situated at Abuko covering for the Greater Banjul Area.
Later, a couple of transmitting stations were erected at the villages of Bansang and Soma inland to achieve national broadcasting coverage. Despite these earlier efforts some areas of The Gambia, in particular the up-river regions still remain outside the airing range.
Since the moment of its commissioning, GRTS has operated as a public service station in the tradition of the older established Radio Gambia. The majority of the programmes are dedicated to a news
, public service announcements, education, entertainment and religious programmes. Broadcasts are made in all the 4 main languages as well as English and French. Some programmes from foreign sources like the BBC News of the UK, CNN of the USA, Deutsche Welle of Germany and CFI of France are also regularly shown within the GRTS station’s programme schedule.
As more and more television units become financially accessible to local families, GRTS has become an ever more vital and effective means of communication.
In 2002 the Government completed building the station's headquarters to accommodate the GRTS's administrative, technical, and operational needs. GRTS, Programming & National Development:
The importance of Television broadcasting for socio-economic development of the Gambia cannot be over emphasised. Knowledge and information are fundamental drivers of increased productivity and are seminal to invention, innovation and wealth creation. GRTS runs programmes on new innovations in appropriate technology in agriculture as a way of educating our farming communities. This has tremendous impact on agricultural output of farmers and has resulted in improved production, especially in rice and vegetables.
Agriculture being the backbone of the country’s economy, it is crucial to show programmes that can improve farming methods, increase yields and ultimately increase food sufficiency and food security. This in turn is believed to reduce poverty levels, improves health status of the Gambian people, in line with the goals and objectives of their Poverty Reduction Strategy.
One of the critical problems facing Gambian society today is the spread of HIV/AIDS within population. This disease if not contained or minimised will have a detrimental effect on The Gambia's socio-economic development as it also affects the young and most energetic members of the society. With a series of programmes shown by TV on the AIDS epidemic many in the society came to grips with realities that the disease is real and can be avoided.
These and other educational programmes are a very essential ingredient of poverty reduction strategy and need to be expanded to cover all areas of the country.
Other GRTS programmes of major importance to poverty reduction carried by the national TV relates to women and women-related issues. In the Gambia, women do the majority of the agricultural production, and programmes that help educate and empower them are crucial in the drive to gain self-sufficiency in food production and economic prosperity. Plans for Future Development:
It is apparent that if GRTS television is to become a truly credible national service, it must establish a widespread presence throughout The Gambia and be more up-to-date with recent developments in education, agriculture, infrastructural and health care service provision.