Community radio, as the name implies, are stations that cater to the needs and wants of communities. They play a personal role in listener’s lives, as people form close bonds and connections with them and the talent they have working there.
Access to information for everyone and inclusion are the main tenets of community radio, allowing individuals to shape their own socio-political, cultural and economic environment.
Right2Know’s new training manual is a comprehensive look at why community radio is important and why the public should be supporting, engaging with, and become involved with this sector.
“We envisage to work with communities to raise awareness of and encourage communities to claim their stake in the governance of community media and to actively advocate for sustainable funding models to ensure that community media remains an important cog in the dissemination of and education of society,” the mission statement says in the manual.
A reflection of the soul and character of a community
As Nkopane Maphiri, CEO of The Media Connection, explains, “Community radio commands immense power within its audiences because of its close proximity to community issues, making it relevant and hyper targeted to its defined community. They often are a reflection of the soul and character of that community.
“Community members should remain involved in their stations to inform and shape its programming, its flavour and certainly its intimacy to the issues and nuances of the socio-political developments of the target community.”
He adds that World Radio Day provides an opportunity to reflect and take stock of the extent to which community radio stations in South Africa are meeting and keeping up with this expectation. “The growth and popularity of the sector is evidence enough that on the whole the stations are meeting these expectations,” he says.
Factors to be successful
The manual goes beyond simply community radio to other forms of community media as well, outlining the role they play and the specifics of their type.
According to the manual, three factors are needed for a community media entity to be successful; social sustainability, institutional sustainability and financial sustainability.
It also stresses that sustainability and development needs to be a long-term, ongoing process, concluding, “Sustainability is often seen as a goal or end point, as something that organisations must achieve. However, communities are dynamic — they change all the time. Community media organisations that do not respond to changes in their communities’ needs and contexts become irrelevant — and unsustainable, because they lose their value. What is sustainable today may very well not be sustainable tomorrow.
“The models mentioned have similarities and differences. What they all agree on is that sustainability is not just about generating income and managing it efficiently. It is about mobilising the right kinds of resources at the right time, to fit changing needs and contexts. It is about communities, institutions, and finance. It is about mission and ideology. It is not just about the money.”
Click on this link to download the manual: R2K_Love Your Community Radio_Training Manual_v02 (3)
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