The head of one Seoul-based radio station that broadcasts into North Korea became interested in the nation's plight while a student in China. It was the 1990s and North Koreans were enduring a devastating famine.
"They were starving to death, and yet they were still praising Kim Jong Il," he said. "I realized that the problem was not in people's stomachs but in their brains. They needed information."
North Korean defectors who now work as radio journalists in Seoul agree that the medium is the best way to influence events back home.
Concrete rewards for the radio operators' efforts are infrequent but inspirational, like the day one heard from a North Korean defector in China who said he had been a frequent listener to his station. "I realized that someone out there was hearing us."
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