Given the current rate of unemployment in South Africa, which rested at a reported 23.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, the spirit of entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged, supported and driven by government.
This brings the question whether a business model of a 24hr business & sports talk radio station would be feasible.
Let’s look at the following options that government might consider to try and influence the young people of this country through radio communication.
A combination of Business talk, Sports Talk and music.
The Department of Communication could apply to ICASA for a national radio station licence for a public service talk radio station; the station would be part of SABC’s 18 public service radio station portfolio. The idea is to make sure that it is not a commercially driven station because profits and development sometimes don’t go hand in hand in the long run.
The format of the station would ideally look like this:
A breakfast show in the morning that will be interviews intensive, it would be a mix of business and sports talk to avoid making it too heavy for early morning radio. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) would be given a slot once a week to come to the studio for an hour to explain to the listeners how they work, the processes of applying for funding etc. Whatever queries that are raised with them would be followed up by the station and feedback given to the complainant. National Empowerment Fund (NEF) could also have its own hour slot whereby they will also provide advice to the emerging entrepreneurs on how to write a proper business plan, things that they look for when they get an application for funding. A sports slot would be in between the news and interviews.
A bit of music could be played every now and then just to give listeners a break from attentive listening. Company news would also be covered in detail, getting some of the leading business leaders to come and share their success stories with the nation. Once a week have an audience live on the studio interviewing these leaders, the station could also run a mentorship programme whereby they connect the young entrepreneurs with seasoned business men and women. Organization like Raizcorp could also come to the studio and explain their programme that they are running of saving ailing small businesses, as most start-up companies usually struggle or end up failing within the first 2yrs of operati
What about SAfm?
Some people might say SAfm is a national talk radio station owned by government and run by the SABC, so why would we waste taxpayers’ money by duplicating products? The answer is that SAfm is a current affairs talk station, yes it covers a bit of business but so does Metrofm. The idea here is to promote entrepreneurship among young people of South Africa by driving the same message everyday and offering support and advice, so far the most effective way of communicating would be radio.
Would it sustain itself or be funded by taxpayers’ money?
If run properly the, this type of station would generate more than enough revenue to cover its running costs and even make profit even though that shouldn’t be the focus. The only threat to the sustainability of this station is politics; we’ve seen in the past five years or so what has been happening at the SABC. If this station were to be used to score political points or settle political scores then it might as well be left in the hands of the private sector.
Outsource the whole station
The other option for the government, in order to avoid political manipulation and influence in the content would be to outsource the management and running of the station to a private company. However the mandate must be clear that it’s not a commercial venture but a public service station, whose objective is to create a platform for the young entrepreneurs and athletes to develop and enhance their skills through listening and participating in the shows. The only challenge is that this has never been done before in the country, it will be a ground breaking broadcasting model that could be used in future.