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METRO FM SERVES A LUNCH WITH SECRET INGREDIENTS

Posted by radio On January - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By: Kgomotso Moncho

 

Metro FM’s lunch time show, The Secret Ingredient (TSI) from 12 – 3pm with Amon Mokoena and Thato Mataboge is just over a year old, having been launched in April 2011 when Metro FM announced its new programming. In its short tenure it has created a favourable following and has gone through a few changes.

 

In the beginning there were three hosts: Amon Mokoena, Thato Mataboge and Kgopedi oa Namane. The three of them together were a formidable force and brought a novel lightheartedness to afternoon radio. Namane’s presence brought a level of intelligence to the show. She initiated the Africa Watch feature – which concentrated on what is happening in the African continent while creating awareness, interesting and necessary conversations about Africa and its people.

 

Mokoena and Mataboge brought in the silly and funny and there was, and is, a clear camaraderie/chemistry between the two. As a result it often felt as though Namane had to fight for her place within the show. And with her off beat intellect, it sometimes felt like she could not fit in or permeate the boys club. The subtleties of this could be felt in the humour between Mokoena and Mataboge. In a sense, Mokoena and Mataboge represent the identity of TSI which focuses less on being newsy and more on the irreverent and funny, as producer, Mike Ndlovu pointed out.

 

Mokoena has gone to add that “a lunch time show is difficult as people are usually not concentrating, so you cannot bombard them with a lot of info. The show has to be lighthearted to allow people to multitask.” As it stands now, Namane has been relegated to her original role as the newsreader on the show. She is no longer actively involved in anchoring. This probably has to do with the fact that she now also presents a new current affairs show on Top TV called Real Issues (on Top One – channel 150), which is more her style.

 

On the occasional Friday she presents her Africa Watch slot on TSI where she quizzes celebrities on well they know their continent. This has not been consistent hence the emphasis on ‘occasional.’ Mokoena and Mataboge are now running the show as a tag team. And they pull it off well, except you can’t take them seriously most of the time. This can be good and a bad thing. Good in that they’re doing their brief justice and bad in that they might not be able to pull in more audiences.

 

Mokoena, who’s worked for stations like YFM, Motsweding FM and 94.7 Highveld Stereo is a good lead anchor, he has experience, but at times his authority is questionable. And although Mataboge has held the fort when needed to, he proves himself to be a very good sidekick. And this might take you back to the breakfast show he did with DJ Fresh during their YFM days, which was phenomenal. Other features on the show include What’s On The Menu, an interactive platform where the presenters get to pique society’s mind on societal issues which are at times controversial and topical – a good quality to the show.

Every Thursday there is a prominent guest which also helps to elevate the profile of the show.

 

The music found here is RnB, hip hop and House or kwaito. Since South Africa is the biggest market of House music, and since emerging local DJs are starting to produce original music instead of just compiling international tracks, we’re getting more local airplay of house music.

 

The After School Is After School feature is a favourite and it seems to be a winning formula to end the show. Here the anchors each choose a song and listeners vote for the best or winning tune. The songs are chosen according to a theme which changes every week.

So TSI is a funny, irreverent show which engages its society, but if you’re looking for intelligence or more, this is not your show.  

    

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LISTENER DRIVEN RADIO, THE POWER OF A CLICK

Posted by radio On January - 8 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 By: Abongile Zizi

Interactivity and audience participation is no new concept to radio; it is a concept that is ever changing and constantly evolving. Radio is immediate and mostly live, Listener driven radio (LDR) is an exciting component of content generation.  LDR has made it possible for stations to further interact with listeners through their technology platforms, their websites, mobiles and viral widgets. The technology behind LDR allows for stations to build communities around their brand and amend programming and content to respond to feedback from listeners. It also presents multiple opportunities for advertisers when used in digital radio. The role of the listener in content production and content decisions is continually increasing.

According to music compiler and presenter at Highveld Stereo, Zane Derbyshire, LDR puts the power back in the listener’s hands and is a cool way to do song requests. Since the station bought the application, it has launched multiple platforms where the opinion of the listener reigns supreme. On Highveld Stereo, Alex J and Phabi Moloi’s shows play music requested by listeners through LDR, the listener then gets an opportunity to dedicate the song to anybody they wish. Furthermore, between 8pm and 9pm listeners are treated to a countdown of the songs that have proven to be most popular throughout the day. “It is typically the songs we would play on the station which shows that we are on the right track in terms of scheduling” Choosing the music that plays on a station through a digital platform by voting for your favourite song is an exciting prospect to listeners, it is an opportunity for them to be in control of the music they listen to.  K94.5 FM also uses LDR technology as part of programming, like in 94.7 Highveld Stereo, listeners can request a song by logging on to the station’s website in order to request and vote for their selection which is then played on air.

Last year Jacaranda FM launched an online radio offering called Ja.FM focusing on Afrikaans music, it is a good example of how LDR can cater for a niche market and target a specific group of listeners. The site also allows listeners to copy and paste an embed code elsewhere, this allows them to still be part of the activities on the site without actually being on the site itself.

A big part of radio content is music, it is an aspect that can draw listeners to the station and it is a big part of why they tune in. According to the latest SAARF RAMS, on average, over a million people listen to 94.7 Highveld Stereo weekly. Putting the power in the hands of listeners and allowing them to form part of the decision making process with regards to the music they listen to speaks directly to the impact they have on content.

Listener driven radio provides a very unique opportunity to artists who are starting out in the music industry, if audiences want to hear a song over and over again; this platform allows them to show exactly how much. LDR Total Request with Alex J on Highveld FM gives listeners the opportunity to choose songs they would like to hear being played less or played more on the station. Like in any democracy, majority rules, the more votes a song receives, the more airtime it receives. Through technology, radio content keeps breaking all the rules and making better what is already the best medium in the world.

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[By Kgomotso Moncho]

Vukile Zondi (28) is the Programmes Manager at Gagasi FM 99.5. He speaks to Radiobiz about life, radio and why he calls Gagasi (The Sound of the city) home. 

 Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? 

Picture taken from iol.co.za

The early part of my childhood I grew up in Eshowe, in a township now known as King Dinizulu.  It used to be called eGezinsila back then.  In the latter part of my childhood I grew up in Westville in Durban.  I’d say I had a happy childhood with a close knit family and friends, some of whom are still close to me to this day.  I also grew up being exposed to people from all walks of life so I am able to relate and interact very well with people as a result of that.

Did you always know you would end up in radio?

Not really, although I always took a keen interest in radio as a child.  I only really realised I wanted to be in radio when I went on a rugby tour in Joburg in Standard 8 and heard YFM for the first time.  I think it was because it was the first time I had heard a station that I related to entirely.

What did you study and where?

 I studied B.Com Law at the University of Johannesburg.

What do you love about radio? 

Oh wow, where do I begin?  More than anything music is a big part of my life.  So music radio allows me to be exposed to all kinds of music all the time.  I have worked for a rock station, a pop station and two urban contemporary stations, all with their own unique music offerings.  I have therefore been exposed to the best of various kinds of music.  Another thing is the immediacy of radio which appeals to me as a person who easily gets bored with routine.  There’s never a dull moment in radio and on the spot decisions are the order of the day, I thrive under such conditions although they get highly stressful at times.

How long have you been working at Gagasi? 

For a year and 3 months.

 What do you love about it?

As a KZN boy who lived in Jozi for just under 10 years, I love how Gagasi’s staff and audience are uniquely and proudly KZN.  We live in a beautiful province with immense potential in numerous areas.  Gagasi is all about KZN and that’s the thing I love most about us.

 What have been some of the highlights of working there? 

It has only been a year but being part of our Back To School campaign earlier this year was a big one.  I also think that the current summer promotion “Ila Ngil’ Thola Khona” is a huge highlight for me as we have interacted with our listeners all over KZN having thrown parties in PMB, Ladysmith, Port Shepstone and this weekend Ulundi and Richards Bay.  In addition the whole concept revolves around something unique to KZN, our number plates.  It has been an awesome campaign for which we have received a lot of positive feedback and insights.

Do you remember your first day at Gagasi?

I actually don’t.  I was on a month’s leave before starting at Gagasi and in the last week I had already started coming in, so by the time my official day came I was already at home.

 What are the challenges of your job? 

There are too many to count.  I think to put it broadly, as a programming manager you have about 20 something DJs reporting to you, you are also accountable to an MD, the board and 1.78 million listeners.  So there’s a plethora of challenges of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis that one deals with.

What was your first job? 

My first job that I got paid for was as a shop assistant at the Westville Hardware store when I was 15.  My job was to help customers around the shop and carry their stuff to their cars, including stuff like bags of cement, river sand and stones.  My first full time job was as a programming coordinator at YFM.

How do you unwind? 

I watch sports, go out partying, have people over for a braai at my place; I exercise and listen to music that I don’t normally listen to.

 What’s playing in your iPod?

Too many things.  I’m a hip hop head first although I enjoy all kinds of music according to my mood.  At this moment I am listening to a lot of Rick Ross albums and mix tapes, a bit of Big Sean’ mix tape “Detroit” and recently rediscovered an old Busta Rhymes’ album “When Disaster Strikes” which I used to know off by heart as a kid.  Also, as a Durban boy I obviously have my classic slow jams.

 What is your vision for the station? 

 To put it simply I would like to see Gagasi grow more into its role as the authority and sound of KZN youth culture and lifestyle.  Naturally, I would also like to see the station breaking the 2 million listeners mark and also growing its profitability so we can stamp our authority as a powerful radio station in the industry.

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PRODUCT PLACEMENT ON THE AIRWAVES

Posted by radio On December - 14 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

[By Kagiso Mnisi]

Product placement is a well understood phenomenon on television and cinema. A brand such as Aston Martin naturally associates with the James Bond franchise or Miway sponsors a prime time soap opera. But recently the phenomenon has appeared more on radio too. The embracing of convergence by radio where the traditional radio conversation now ranges across social media and sms has enabled the medium to extend conversations beyond the live broadcast. Radio is thus rendered fertile for endorsements, branded entertainment and subtle public relations.

How has television fared?

According to the Journal of Management and Marketing Research due to media fragmentation, traditional advertising has seen a decline in pushing products in favour of strategic placements. Cases in point are prime time soapies such as Generations, Muvhango and Isidingo, which have endorsed material like clothing, furniture and banking products. These products are strategically placed throughout the soapie’s plot narrative which audiences can relate to. The consumption of imagery resulting from a well-loved television programme has allowed marketers to influence behavioral patterns through products. Pervan and Martin’s research on the Exploratory Study Of Television Soap Operas reveals that “soap operas are defined by their serial nature where the narrative is controlled not by the reader, but by the producer or distributor”. The recent flurry of reality TV programmes has seen the small screen’s nose peeking ahead of the rest in the race. As seen on SABC 3, Justin Bornello’s Ultimate Braai has elevated Pick n Pay’s banner as the go-to hypermarket for meat products.

Has radio caught on?

Drive time radio slots are considered flagships by many radio stations. They are the advertiser’s main attraction to paraphrase Joanna Wright in an article for The Media. Gareth Cliff’s morning radio show on 5fm, for example, is marked by a mix of news, music and entertainment. The show’s narratives encompasses different characters with Cliff being the protagonist cum agitator, this has seen a franchise such as News Cafe sponsoring the show’s news segment. Cliff’s commentary and parodies of the country’s political landscape give the product mileage via the general ‘Cliff narrative’. The emergence of multi-platforms such as blogging by radio personalities as well as their presence on social media means product placement has room to thrive.

Who is winning the battle?

As much as radio is still the title holder in information purveyance to households across the country, there are still great challenges in getting sound returns on investments from product placements through the medium. Television triumphs through its ability to visually tell desirable stories that viewers aspire to. A trip to a picturesque destination such as the Maldives sponsored by Glenmorangie on Top Billing is too herculean when compared to a live read by Kaya FM’s T-Bose on the latest BMW offering. Internet radio is dealt a sour deal by the perpetual red herring that is this country’s bandwidth issues. To add salt to the wound, marketers are still grappling with models to monetize online content effectively.

Is radio news tainted by commerce?

Brand sponsorships of the radio news broadcast is a common trend and practice. But has the line between sales and news started blurring? News by nature has to be objective, balanced and offer insight into the socio-political paradigm of a country. But what implications are there when a commercial interest is married to this paradigm? Whether editorial premise is set or influenced by the sponsor is an often open question.

Interesting facts

• Generations is viewed by over 4.9 million people daily.

• The latest SABC TV rate setting has become very aggressive. SABC 1′s 20 spot schedule is a massive +34.4% up which with a slump of -9.2% in viewership yields a massive +48.0% Media Inflation Watch (MIW), cost per thousand (CPM) increase.

• According to Mike Leahy’s latest Media Inflation Watch figures, radio rates are up by +7.38% and MIW Index (CPM) is up by +7.38%. Black format stations upped their rates by 8.18%, which with no Performance measure possible, provided a +8.18% MIW Index (CPM). The CIW format stations rates/MIW Index (CPM) is up by 7.01%.

The above article was developed through research using the following sources: The Bottom Line with Evan Davis, South African Country Report Context, and Product placement effectiveness: reinvented and renewed, Exploratory Study Of Television Soap Operas and Media ShopTalk: w/c 10 December 2012 – Media Inflation Watch.

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Director of the Wits Radio Academy, Professor Franz Kruger

[By: Abongile Zizi]

At a time in our country where the fate of journalism is being discussed on multiple platforms ranging from parliament to journalism classes nationwide, it is heartening to know that the future of radio broadcasting is in good hands and moving from strength to strength.

The Wits Radio Academy presents a well-rounded approach to the world of radio offering courses in marketing, programming, management and presentation. Launched in 2009, the centre is primarily funded by the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and Kagiso Media and is part of Wits Journalism. The Advanced Radio Certificate is a holistic approach to the business of radio in its entirety with courses like Radio studies (which is a compulsory aspect of the certificate), radio presentation, local radio journalism and radio sales amongst others. This year, the academy opened up applications for their new offerings, Honours in Journalism and Media Studies and masters in Journalism and Media Studies.

Director of the Wits Radio Academy, Professor Franz Kruger said the seven modular courses run at the academy are mainly aimed at community radio. Around a hundred broadcasters from all tiers of radio have done courses at the Wits Radio Academy since its inception.

The need for proper training and skills is very evident within community radio and this has not gone unnoticed, the academy is developing a radio station health check and Station Advice, Mentoring and Support service. This is intended to offer support to community radio stations. “I do worry about the news on the community radio side because they are strongly recycled. There are all sorts of dynamics at play within community radio, they are struggling financially and a lot of stations have skills difficulties because a lot of people come and go.”

The academy has been drawing radio practitioners at various levels from different parts of the world through the Joburg Radio Days conference. This year the conference focused on the future of radio looking at themes such as; the Zimbabwe broadcasting reform, the current state and future challenges of an old medium, how best radio stations can make use of the opportunities of online and social media and examples of great new programming concepts. The conference aims at getting a conversation going from all spheres of radio, commercial, PBS and Community radio. “Probably the most significant platform for radio people to talk, across the continent”

In a country where community radio continues to grow, the opportunities seem endless.

 

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MTN PLAY RADIO, A NEW DIRECTION

Posted by radio On December - 7 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Abongile Zizi]

 As the first mobile radio station to be launched in South Africa, MTN play radio gives MTN subscribers around the clock access to five mobile music radio stations. Subscribers pay R35 a month to access the service. Currently it offers the latest Hip Hop, Afrikaans, Gospel, House/Kwaito, and Pop music, 50% of which is exclusively local music. What sets MTN Play radio apart is that unlike conventional radio stations, the content is exclusively uninterrupted music.

 According to SAARF, 20.7% of cell phone users in the country use their cell phones to listen to music. MTN’s Lucky Mokabane says what sets this service apart is the amazing niche music and entertainment features that are not currently on offer in the free to air broadcast space. Intrinsic in the nature of online radio is the niche experience; audiences are spoilt for choice, from terrestrial stations that stream their content live to exclusively internet based radio stations like 2Oceansvibe Radio and Bakgat. What separates MTN Play radio from 2Oceansvibe and Bakgat is the format; these stations have kept some of the traditional aspects of radio format by having continuity as part of their content.

The mobile network has very big plans for the service, aspiring to be the best radio service in the country for young South Africans looking for new music. MTN Play Radio is expecting to offer an advanced media rich interactive experience. “Unlike traditional radio, the service will provide customers with exactly what they want, when they want it, in great audio quality. The content offering is going to grow into a more media rich interactive listening experience, with more than 20 radio stations.”

As a subscription service, MTN Play requires that subscribers pay upfront for their music experience while other online radio offerings are free. The arrival of the Apple Itunes store in South Africa can be interpreted as further indication that there is a market for pay to play services in the country.

The service has been operational for two months and made news when renowned media personality Majota Mandlakayise Isaac Kambule, popularly known as Phat Joe left Heart FM to focus on his other media ventures, one of which is MTN Play radio. “Phat Joe is a multitalented broadcaster, techie and businessman. His talents are being used to help establish the MTN Play Radio brand and set it on a course to being the number one radio platform in Africa” said Mokabane. Phat Joe’s career in broadcasting spans over seventeen years. He has worked with a number of radio and television stations from Radio Bop, Yfm, Metro FM, Kaya FM, Heart 104.9 FM and e.tv. Joe now hosts the popular The Real Goboza on Sabc 1.

To listen to MTN Play Radio right now, go to MTNPlay.co.za or sms MTNRADIO10 to 083 123 686.

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SPEAK MY LANGUAGE

Posted by radio On December - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Abongile Zizi]

 

Picture taken from joedawsonvoiceovers.com

As an integral part of communication, language in radio plays a vital role in how the station communicates with its listeners and how the audience interacts with the station.

Throughout the years, South Africa has become a melting pot of diversity; different groups of people with different languages share the same spaces and interact with each other on a daily basis. In dealing with language, certain stations like Umhlobo Wenene in the Eastern Cape broadcast exclusively in IsiXhosa, Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) broadcasts in Afrikaans while SAFM broadcasts in English. Many radio stations have this formula; where one language is dominant over any other language that may be used during broadcast. Some stations use a single language exclusively as the broadcast language.

 A lot of youth stations and campus radio stations have a different approach to the language rules of radio using slang and a mixture of languages TruFM in the Eastern Cape prides itself in being “like no one else” broadcasting in both isiXhosa and English. The station’s target audience comprises of the listeners between the ages of 16-24 and the 25-34 groups.

Gagasi FM, KZN’s biggest regional station also has its own brand of language mix branded “zunglish” this is a mixture of Isizulu and English. It is the only bilingual commercial radio station in Kwa Zulu Natal targeting 18-34 year old listeners. The move towards a language blend in radio is indicative of the blurring line between languages in the 16-34 year old age group.  The biggest consumers of media and technology in the country belong to this very group and stations targeting them are having to find new ways to engage with this perceptive bunch. Aside from social networking and hosting events, stations are also using language in order to further appeal to the audience.

Branding itself as a lifestyle, YFM is a youth station that has branded itself as the station that runs GP. As a youth station, YFM has positioned itself as an authority on youth culture. Looking at the youth of Gauteng, YFM uses more than language and social media to communicate their brand and connect with their audiences. Providing a platform for up and coming artist, playing the latest music and delivering news that are relevant to their target audience, the YFM brand has a mass appeal to the youth. According to the latest SAARF RAMS, YFM has an average listenership of 513 000 listeners weekly. RAMS are not the only signifiers of appeal and popularity and as of the 2nd of December this year, the station has 52759 twitter followers and 118239 likes on Facebook. These numbers change on a daily basis. YFM’s social media accounts are highly active with audiences interacting with the station on a daily basis.

Language is the cornerstone of radio as it sets the tone for interaction with audiences and communicates the brand for the station. Appealing to the youth and urban adults is becoming increasingly hard as this group of listeners is constantly changing and broad.

Looking at social media usage and how the youth use these platforms to communicate their identity, radio stations targeting this group are always faced with the challenge of change and need to constantly be dynamic in their approach to delivering content. Delivering economic indicators during broadcasts, YFM listeners are treated to a different experience, these figures are delivered using burger prices! For example, a burger is R19.95 Jozi; the same burger would cost you R31.98 in New York City, R29.08 in London and R33.72 in Paris. This is how YFM audiences are made aware of the exchange rate.

The adaptation of content to suit the target market is a solid marketing principle that is used universally in order to sell goods or services. The use of a language mix in radio targeting the urban youth and adult market is one way that stations are guaranteeing they speak their audiences’ language.

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[By Abongile Zizi]

Teachers in action
Image courtesy of Mindset Learn

The power of radio to educate is once again proving why radio as a medium has become a part of so many lives. Since August this year, high school students across Limpopo, Kwa Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape have been benefiting from the MTN Learn School Programme. An initiative of Mindset Learn and the Department of Basic Education, MTN Learn is a revision broadcast that is being aired by 12 community radio stations across the three provinces in a bid to ensure that matrics are ready for their final exams.

The programmes are transmitted from Mindset’s studios to selected community radio stations. Participating radio stations are Mohodi FM, Univen Radio, Moletsi FM, Greater Tzaneen FM and Sekgosese FM in Limpopo, and Forte FM, Vukani FM, Radio Graaff-Reinet, Mdantsane FM and Nkqubela FM in the Easter Cape. In KwaZulu Natal, the programmes are available to learners through Hindvani Radio and Maputaland Community Radio.

The daily broadcasts are presented by semi-experts and teachers in the Maths, Science and English learning areas.  The programmes are designed to create an interactive environment where learners can engage with the material being discussed on the radio. This is done via, telephone, SMS and on Facebook. 22 000 learners engage with the programme on Facebook where they also receive tips on how to approach exams. According to Mindset Learn’s Goodman Chauke, the programme brings a fresh angle to learning with the number of interaction between learners and programme increasing during exams.

The initiative is also a positive addition to participating community radio stations as it allows for them to fulfil their regulatory mandate of providing educational programming to the communities they serve. Community radio stations are struggling to meet their financial obligations; this programme has also brought some revenue to participating stations.

The future of this initiative looks bright, according to Chauke, the goal now is to build relationships with Grade 10 learners who will be in Grade 11 in 2013 and expand the broadcast content to cover both Grade 11 and Grade 12 material. Covering more subjects and expanding the initiative is also on the cards for the programme.

 

 

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DESTINY MAGAZINE CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS

Posted by radio On November - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

South Africa’s only women’s business and lifestyle magazine, Destiny is celebrating its fifth birthday and to mark this occasion 13 women have been chosen to grace the magazine’s cover. The cover features eight readers and five mentors. Founding Editor of Destiny and Managing CEO of Ndalo Media Khanyi Dhlomo said the fifth birthday issue of Destiny presented an opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved by the magazine as a platform for beautiful, powerful and visionary women in business and lifestyle but also the relationships that have been forged with the readers of the magazine.

The mentors; Khanyi Dhlomo, Founding Editor of Destiny and Managing CEO of Ndalo Media, Terry Volkwyn who is the CEO of Primedia Broadcasting, Highveld Stereo’s Anele Mdoda, Sonja de Bruyn who is the co- founder of Investment Boutique Identity partners and Judi Nwokedi, Senior Executive for the French nuclear firm Arvera held a round table discussion with the mentees. At the session the mentees were given sound business advice and tips on how to balance work and home life.

In keeping with true destiny style, this issue also has the much-anticipated Power of 40 Report sponsored by Mazda. This annual report showcases 40 women, under the age of 40, who are making waves in their respective industries, including fashion, science, aviation, education, film and entertainment. These women have taken their industries to greater heights and are a true example to all South African women.

Issued by Ndalo Media

Picture taken from www.Bizcommunity.co.za

 

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Community radio…For us, by us

Posted by radio On November - 5 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

[by Abongile Zizi]

Community radio in South Africa is enjoying a strong foothold on audiences that is growing daily. SAARF RAMS released in August 2012 show that community radio listenership sits at 8720’000 listeners. Around the same time last year, total community radio listenership sat at 84466’000. These numbers indicated a slight growth from 24.8% to 25.0%. A single percentile might not seem like a drastic jump but the steady and consistent climb of this type of radio is very telling of the impact community radio is starting to have on audiences. The consistent growth of community radio is due to a myriad of factors that intrinsic to its very nature. The existence of agencies like the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) which give financial and structural support to community based media organisations has created a fertile environment for community radio to flourish. Earlier this year, the oldest community radio station in South Africa, Bush Radio experienced severe financial difficulties; this is not a unique situation. Many community radio stations experience financial difficulties because they are funded through grants, sponsorships and the little advertising revenue they generate.

Community radio is for the community, by the community. In this instance community is a broad term as it refers to both geographical communities and communities of interest. Catering to a niche market is part of the reason why there’s a growing listenership base for community radio.  Within communities localised media serves to create a common ground for the group to explore their shared concerns in depth and on their own terms be it through language, religion or shared geography. Within geographical communities, community radio further extends the already intimate relationship that radio stations share with their listeners as it speaks directly to their needs in a language they can understand.

While PBS and Commercial radio cater to a multitude of interests that are relevant to their target market, the ground level approach and localised content provided by community radio has a stronger appeal to audiences because of the localisation of the content. The foothold that Commercial and PBS stations had on audiences has been shaken by community radio because these stations compete with them for audiences and enjoy somewhat of an advantage.

Currently, there are over a hundred community radio stations in South Africa, these stations cater to multiple communities with multiple needs. In community radio not only is content aligned with national interest, content approach is focused on localised impact. Isolated communities have found a voice though community radio. Most community radio stations are made up of volunteers from the community who can be seen as a representation of the community within which these stations function. They also nurture raw talent by affording interested community members an environment to learn and grow as radio presenters, producers, reporters and newsreaders. Radio personalities like Metro FM’s DJ Sbu and 702 Talk Radio’s Niall Collie started off at community radio level. Community radio not only trains and produces media practitioners who can rival those of PBS and commercial stations, it gives communities a voice.

Sources: MDDA, SAARF

Picture taken from: www.Bushradio.wordpress.com

 

 

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