Community Radio: Lessons from South Africa
As consolidation of ownership and homogenization of commercial radio in America continues unabated, proponents of a resurgence of service-oriented, community radio can look to an unexpected place for inspiration — South Africa. In South Africa, 82 community radio stations have signed on during the last decade, and 150 are expected to be on the air by the end of 2004. For many in South Africa, non-profit community radio is the medium of choice. 75% of South Africans, mostly those in the former townships, get their news from community radio stations. South African experts say that community radio is especially important in former townships where, as a legacy of apartheid, many residents still can't read or write. Community radio bridges the information gap between the literate and the illiterate in South African communities. The workshop will examine community radio specifically in Cape Flats, near Cape Town, which hosts many former townships, and in the former township of Soweto, near Johannesburg. We will look at the relationship between the communities and their radio stations, and examine community-oriented programming that centers around issues like HIV/AIDS. The presentation will also offer a glimpse of some resources available for the further study of community radio. The last segment of the workshop will be a brainstorming session. Using the same rubric that they use in South Africa, participants will produce tentative plans for community-radio style shows that they might air in their home countries.
Keywords: Community Media, Community Radio, Media, Media and South Africa
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts; General Manager-KGSP-FM, Communication Arts International Education , Park University