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Participatory Radio in Flemingdon Park

Participatory Radio in Flemingdon Park

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Title: Participatory Radio in Flemingdon Park
Author: Macdonald, Alexander
Identifier: MESMP02600
Abstract: Community radio stations are radio stations that are owned, operated and directed by the communities they serve. Typically non-commercial, they broadcast content that is relevant to their local communities, and may be produced by community members.

Community radio stations broadcast from houses, schools, churches, union buildings and community centres. They usually have small broadcast ranges compared with commercial stations, but are nonetheless influential in the communities they serve, allowing people to make their voices heard, and to share ideas.

Participatory radio is community radio that involves input from the community at all levels. This includes involvement of the community members in the decision-making process, from initiation to management, financing, administration, program production and evaluation. The participatory approach can strengthen a community by fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to the station.
Worldwide, community radio has become an important medium for participatory communication, promoting grassroots engagement with issues including education, gender inequality, agriculture, and poverty.

Latin America has a strong community radio tradition, which began with isolated mining communities that began operating their own stations. Bolivia's community radio stations date from 1947 when a station called "Radio Sucre" was founded in the mining districts of Catavi and Siglo. "La Voz Del Minero", another mining community station, followed in 1949. Miners founded these community radio stations to resist the influence of an oppressive military government. 1

The number of community radio stations in Latin America continued to grow though the 1950s and 1960s. In times of political upheaval, when the military captured newspapers and radio stations, community radio stations provided listeners with trustworthy sources of information. While the number of stations has declined since the 1980s, most Latin American countries still have community radio stations serving rural communities in the local language, addressing issues relevant to local culture and needs.2

In Africa, radio is the most widely used medium for providing information to rural audiences. For remote farming communities, radio is often the only connection with the rest of the world. Radio reaches communities without phones or electricity (through battery-powered sets), and people who haven't learned to read or write.

"Farm Radio" is an example of a participatory radio project in Africa that was very successful. The project involved radio stations in five African countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Mali, Ghana, and Malawi. Programs educated farmers on ways to improve their agricultural practices. The participatory radio model allowed farmers to participate at every level in the process. Farmers were surveyed about agricultural practices and needs, and helped design a series of radio programs aimed at improving food security through better farming practices. 3

A community radio station can make important contributions to a community, even if it isn't highly participatory. A small station may start out by playing music from its community, strengthening cultural identity and community pride. Stations also carry news and announcements that strengthen social networks. Eventually, community produced programs may contribute to sharing information on issues of importance to the community. Community radio stations also provide access to media skills training, facilitating capacity building.
Type: Major project
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/30287
Citation: Major Project, Master of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Date: 2015

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