Importance of Radio in Katine, Uganda

Africa In the FieldPublished October 18, 2011 at 09:43 No Comments

For the past four years, the Guardian (a British Daily Newspaper with large online readership) has supported a development project in Katine, Uganda. A team from the Guardian Development blog recently visited to catch up on work being done there by Amref and asked readers to submit questions they could investigate.

Amy from FrontlineSMS:Radio asked a question about the interaction of radio stations with their audiences via text message:

“I know AMREF have been supporting talk radio in Katine with a project launched in 2007.

I’ve also been following the work of the Community Animal Health Network, as a tool to train farmers and in this CAHNET article they explain how

“In Uganda, Radio is the most listened mass medium commanding a large listenership especially in the rural areas.”

Elsewhere on this Katine blog Ann Perkins has said radio

“can work as a kind of poor man’s internet, with radio broadcasts soliciting citizen journalism to report on local events and conditions”

I’d love to know more so my questions are: to what extent is radio seen as a focal point for communities in Katine: what kind of topics are discussed and who is the audience? What are the most popular types of show?

Also, if this medium solicits feedback, how does the audience interact with the radio station?”

Here is the answer from Andrew Serekedde, Amref’s ICT support/trainer republished with permission from The Poverty Matters Blog:

“Radio is definitely seen as a focal point in all rural communities across Africa, including Katine. It’s accessible whether you’re literate or not, community radio stations use local languages, they’re cheaper and battery powered. Popular stations in Katine are Voice of Teso, Delta FM and Etop Radio.

Topics and audience have a huge range – talk shows, music, dramas, news, education, and just like anywhere the audience depends on the content. Radio stations will plan timing to reach audiences. For example, to reach women they would time a show for the evening when the radio would be back in the home, if the husband had taken it with him during the day. Also in the evening women would be finished with their work for the day.

Radio stations do solicit feedback on different topics in different ways such as phone ins, where people will call or SMS in to air opinions, or request for specific topics to be covered. As well as music requests and dedications, which are also very popular.

SMS is preferred as it’s much cheaper than calls. Stations will also invite specific guests in to discuss topics, for example community representatives – committee members etc, would also be invited in to discuss topics relevant to listeners. And last Friday Amref went to Delta FM to promote the resource centre in Katine, where people can register for classes.”

This is illustrative of the hybird ways in which audiences interact with radio stations in Katine and potentially somewhere that FrontlineSMS:Radio could be a useful tool.

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