Just imagine of how technology came into existence in the past in the context of radio- at a time when radio was the only electronic communication tool. When it first came people were not ready to use (think of how phones came n people were resisting it due tp cultural beleifs) – in a nutshell think of the general challenges that face technology today and in the past and its advantages in terms of:
3) validity- information on radio follows a scientific approach that dwells on facts, therefore reliable
4) popularity- connects with the hearts of the people especially when availed in local languages
Community media uses a platform like radio with focus on community participation with the goal of transforming society. They are conceived to inform people and allow them to participate in decisions that affect the community. They can facilitate the empowerment of vulnerable communities who are isolated geographically, culturally or linguistically and whose representation is generally ignored by mainstream media – such as women for example. The objective is to create a public social sphere where anybody can contribute and be heard.
In that sense, radio is possibly the most important medium for such form of communication in developing countries.
To introduce the perspective of why radio may be considered a popular medium for development, it is first a portable source of real-time access to information. Radio is financially very accessible – we estimate that over 75% of households in developing countries have access to a radio. Local radio has to potential to act as an actor for development and as support for the promotion good governance.
Community radio are driven by the community for the community. They are not in pursuit of profit but operate according to a social agenda, promoting an inclusive sustainable development. Such radio stations become true social service providers. They involve the populations in decision-making and participation processes, stimulate public debate, promote civic rights and help hold authorities accountable towards the citizens. Citizen FM in Kenya is a great example of what can been achieved. Every week their programme “Vishindo za County” gives the community the chance to question local officials about how government funding is being used locally.
Radio enables isolated communities across developing countries to voice their concerns and to access news on issues of local interest. These local stations have the unique ability to inform and educate while being anchored in the community’s history and traditions.
One social impact we can look into about the impact of radio is the post election violence experienc in Kenya on account that Kass FM was considered as the tool.of incitement used by a popular radio presenter. This explaons just how powerful radio can be especially when used for the advantahe of development
By broadcasting in local languages, local radio can communicate effectively about the issues that matter most locally. Local voices can be heard discussing health issues, for instance, education, gender equality or even disaster risk reduction. In Kenya, Innoro Fm and Kameme FM are popularly known to.influence persons belonging to Kikuyu community in a way that is culturally acceptable to thwm especially when rallying votes for elections. Additionally, the government has also invested in local stations such as the Radio Maa which serves a Maasai community, located and act as the only source of information to the residents residing in areas with poor road infrastructure hence newspaper does not reach the residents. The station broadcast in local Maasai language as most members of the community do not speak Swahili, as such news reports are translated for these listeners one hour after the original broadcast.
Through the UN’s UNESCO project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” aims to raise the diversity and inclusiveness of community radio stations through the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) , radio continues to receive an elevated position in imolementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through what development experts are calling ‘localizing SDGs” so as to achieve total inclusivity of all persons hence promoting the global development agenda of leaving noone behind.
When you look back at the arguments of scholar Bertolt Bretch we are introduced to a certain truth of a time when ‘there was a moment when technology was advanced enough to produce the radio and society was not yet advanced enough to accept it.’
Over time, people have braced technology and its dynamic nature. It’s influence is felt in our every day life and what is most amazing is how radio has transformed to bw accomodated in the new media arena as we can see we now have online radio. This means radio will for a long time serve its active purpose of connecting communities for uniformed and fully participatory development