Posts Tagged ‘world radio day’

Radio is thriving in South Africa: 80% are tuning in

12/02/2022
Cecilie Arcurs/Getty Images

Tanja Bosch, University of Cape Town

Almost three decades into democracy, radio is thriving in South Africa. Radio listenership in the country is consistently higher than the global average. And it in fact increased during the COVID-19 lockdowns of the past two years.

This is perhaps not surprising given that radio acts as a companion and that people were confined to their homes and so more likely to tune in, more often. But during the pandemic, radio has also played an important role in bringing educational broadcasts to youth who did not have access to the internet. People also listened to radio station podcasts during lockdown, and podcast listenership in South Africa is also higher than the global average.

Despite South Africa’s divisive history, I have argued that this is because radio listening provides background texture to everyday life. It’s a social activity which reminds people that there is a social world “out there” and helps them link to it.

The numbers

Radio is a universal mass medium in South Africa, since more people have access to radio receivers and broadcasts than they do television sets. In fact, radio remains the most popular and pervasive medium across the continent. This is despite the proliferation of cellphones, the growth of social media apps and on-demand streaming music services.

One might assume that fewer people would listen to the radio given these technological innovations. But the most recent measurement figures show that radio audiences in South Africa continue to grow.

In 2021, about 80% of South Africans had tuned into a radio station within the last week, with most people still listening on traditional radio sets. There are 40 commercial and public broadcast stations and 284 community stations in South Africa.

Radio audience numbers in South Africa have not declined as they have in North America, due to an increase in streaming service options. There is, in particular, high listenership among young people, who listen to radio as a source of both news and companionship.

Vernacular radio

World Radio Day is a good time to reflect on the role of the medium in a country like South Africa, characterised by inequality and a ethnically divisive history under apartheid.

Historically, South African broadcasting has not provided a common space of public communication, but instead reinforced notions of separateness, in line with apartheid narratives of difference. As I argued in my book Broadcasting Democracy, people “consume” radio, making strategic choices about which stations to tune into on the basis of their personal or group identities.

Commercial music radio stations in particular are still often seen and sometimes even explicitly framed along racial lines. There is a plethora of radio stations in all 11 official languages available at the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

South African scholar Liz Gunner has shown how a station like the Zulu language Ukhozi FM has been significant in connecting with urban and rural listeners to navigate post-apartheid Zulu identity. Ukhozi FM has the highest radio listenership with nearly 8-million listeners. While during apartheid language and ethnic differences were used as a means to segregate citizens, today these are celebrated as part of a diverse “rainbow nation”.

The public sphere

Despite the continued popularity of vernacular radio, English-language talk radio stations and shows still attract African language speakers who frequently phone in and participate. This could be linked to the dominance of English-language media in South Africa and the fact that English media spaces are also often dominant.

In other words, despite the range of vernacular options, English stations are perceived as being sites of the public sphere and attract debate and conversation between a diverse range of South Africans.

A young man in bright blue shirt sits in a high tech radio studio.
YFM DJ Kutloano Nhlapo, 2017, Johannesburg. Leon Neal/Getty Images

Regardless of language, talk radio shows are booming with vibrant conversations, highlighting the important role of radio as a space to bring together geographically diverse South Africans to debate matters of social and political importance.

Aside from identity, radio also plays a key role as a companion for people, as in this study where the majority of youth said that radio “keeps me company”. Another recent study confirmed that listeners often see their preferred radio station as a companion and feel a deep connection with both the station and its DJs.

Social media

While traditional listenership is growing in South Africa, people are also listening more online and interacting with radio stations in different ways, for example via social media platforms.

Whereas in the past listeners could only access radio hosts via calling in to the station, they can now easily and instantly reach them via apps like Twitter. And equally instantly receive responses. While calling in to a station usually implies negotiating one’s way past a call screener or producer and engaging on a specific topic, Twitter communication is often more casual, relaxed and personal.

Radio is thus no longer a one-dimensional platform or “blind medium”, and this is a key contributing factor to its growth. And radio listeners are able to now communicate directly not only with the station, but also one another.

Community radio

And with 284 stations, the role of community radio in South Africa also remains key to continuing to build and consolidate democracy. Originally designed as the “voice of the voiceless”, community radio emerged as part of the liberalisation of the airwaves in the early 1990s. They were a key strategy in the repositioning of the apartheid-state media landscape.

Like many other organisations in the NGO sector, community stations have faced financial challenges after the withdrawal of international donor funds which sustained them during the apartheid period. But they are still flourishing, as evidenced by the large number of stations still in existence.

Stations like Bush Radio, the oldest community radio project in Cape Town, still boast an exciting lineup of alternative talk and music content. And smaller community projects like Rx Radio, a children’s radio project based at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, also play a key role in providing children’s entertainment produced by children themselves.

Radio plays a significant role in South Africa as form of education and entertainment. The diverse and vibrant range of stations is a unique feature of the South African media landscape.

Tanja Bosch, Associate Professor in Media Studies and Production, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Celebrating World Radio Day #CapeTown to #NewYork #BushRadio #WHRU

12/02/2021
Video clip of Bush Radio streaming live in New York
Listen to the Bush Radio / WRHU broadcast

The broadcast consisted of a “Taste of Cape Town with Wayne McKay, Lerato Mashile and Mitchum George followed by the WRHU team interviewing a Bush Radio panel consisting of:

From the Cape Flats to NY #WorldRadioDay #NewWorldNewRadio #WRD2021 #radio #BushRadio #WRHU

11/02/2021

This year in the lead up to World Radio Day, Bush Radio was invited to participate in a broadcast with WRHU Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM in the United States as part of their global celebration.

Join us this Friday, 12 February at 3pm as we take the Cape Flats to New York and beyond.

Wayne McKay, Lerato Mashile and Mitchum George will host a “Taste of Cape Town” and this will be followed by the WRHU team interviewing Bush Radio Alumni and discussing the power of community media, its role in Africa, challenges, innovative radio programming, training and the impact of the station in Africa and globally.

The panel to be interviewed will consist of:

*Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD). This year WRD is divided into three subthemes:

  • Evolution – The world changes, radio evolves.
  • Innovation – The world changes, radio adapts and innovate.
  • Connection – The world changes, radio connects.

SUPPORT BUSH RADIO’S WORK

Basic protective measures against the Novel #Coronavirus – click here

Official websites for accurate information regarding COVID19:

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

Regulations and Guidelines – Coronavirus Covid-19

World Health Organisation

Western Cape Government Health Department

Radio, dwasdeur jou porridge #WorldRadioDay

13/02/2019

13 February is World Radio Day. A day we celebrate the power of radio in our lives. This year UNESCO’s theme for the day is “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace”.

We thought it appropriate that we ask our listeners, supporters, trainees and everyone who has used the medium to send us whatsapp video clips (because community radio moves with the times).

We received clips from listeners, Alternative Radio, BBC, activists, media professionals, editors and artists. The range of the responses we received clearly shows that Bush Radio lives up to this year’s theme of “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace”. More than just being one of the most sort after training radio stations, it truly is building bridges between the various communities we serve.

Watch some of the clips online via our YouTube channel.

wrd2018_profile_sq-03 EN

Have you hugged your radio today?

13/02/2018

hug radio 2018 wrd

13 February 2018 is World Radio Day – a day to celebrate radio as a medium: to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognised as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium

For more visit World Radio Day.

Radio is YOU! #WorldRadioDay

13/02/2017

wrd-bush

Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face.

1-wrd2017_logo_en_blackblueRadio informs us and transforms us, through entertainment, information and audience participation. Having a radio means you are never alone – you always have a friend in radio.

wrd-2017-info-copy

infographic, text and worldradio day logo courtesy of UNESCO

Celebrate World Radio Day

13/02/2014

radio day 2013

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has declared the 13th February as World Radio Day. As Africa’s oldest community radio station project we at Bush Radio fully support this intiative as we believe in the power of radio to help build communities and improve lives.

click here – LISTEN TO WHY PEOPLE LISTEN TO RADIO – click here

Whether it is through our Children’s Radio Education Workshop (CREW) launched in 1996 where young people learn to use the medium to develop their skills and understanding of media or one of our programmes like Sakhisizwe – Bou die Nation, Build the Nation or even our specialised music programmes like Blues in the Bush where we connect the music to its roots in Africa – radio plays a vital part in almost everyone’s daily life.

Through technology like internet streaming Bush Radio is able to connect to the entire planet with it’s audience not just from Cape Flats but with dedicated listeners in Asia, Europe and the Americas tuning into the station online through computers or mobile phones, Bush Radio truly is more than just FM radio.

Related: How to listen to us online

The Mother of Community Radio celebrates World Radio Day 2013

13/02/2013

radio day 2013

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has declared the 13th February 2013 as World Radio Day. As Africa’s oldest community radio station project we at Bush Radio fully support this intiative as we believe in the power of radio to help build communities and improve lives.

click here – LISTEN TO WHY PEOPLE LISTEN TO RADIO – click here

Whether it is through our Children’s Radio Education Workshop (CREW) launched in 1996 where young people learn to use the medium to develop their skills and understanding of media or one of our programmes like Sakhisizwe – Bou die Nation, Build the Nation or even our specialised music programmes like Blues in the Bush where we connect the music to its roots in Africa – radio plays a vital part in almost everyone’s daily life.

Through technology like internet streaming Bush Radio is able to connect to the entire planet with it’s audience not just from Cape Flats but with dedicated listeners in Asia, Europe and the Americas tuning into the station online through computers or mobile phones, Bush Radio truly is more than just FM radio.

Related: How to listen to us online


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