Participatory communication in radio broadcasting in Zambia : The case of the Mazabuka community radio station
Lingela, Brian Muletambo
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This attachment, on which this report is based, was at Mazabuka Community Radio Station in Mazabuka, 120 kilometers South of Lusaka and assesses Participatory Communication in Radio Broadcasting in Zambia, using Mazabuka Community Radio Station as a Case Study. The study uses both quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection. Specifically, it uses the survey, content analysis, personal interviews, and observation methods to come up with these findings. These methods revealed that there is no comprehensive, adequate and holistic participation by all stakeholders in the community of Mazabuka in the origination, selection and production of programmes on Mazabuka Community radio station. This means large majorities of the people are being left out in contributing to the community's development because their viewpoints and ideas are not being projected to the marketplace of ideas through the radio station. There is limited participation by residents in the community either as panelists on discussion programmes, general meeting or real volunteers who work part-time. This is not withstanding the fact that the station constantly attempted to invite for programme ideas and participation from the community. The station had not succeeded in supporting participatory dialogue and communication among the audience and community to a large extent as many voices, mainly ordinary community residents, continue to be absent from the station menu. It appears that it is more of a process of distributing knowledge not from the professionals, who in this case appear to be volunteers, to more passive listeners. Professionals who work at the station continue to dominate the station's airwaves while leaving out the other professionals in fields such as health, education, agriculture etc and ordinary residents who could contribute positively to the development of their community. It is not only the professionals that should participate but other members of the community also. The study also revealed that other voices continue to be absent from the station's airwaves, including those of children and females. Although the station boasted of having established women's listening clubs in various areas, these tried to a less extent to enhance participation as the women clubs revealed having originated and selected ideas from which they produced programmes on identified issues. However, this was mediated by operational and technical challenges that the women faced including infrequent production of programmes, poor or no radio station signal and lack of tape recorders and wind up radios. From the results of the survey, it is very clear that more women voices need to be involved in programme origination and production. The study, however, revealed that the station has succeeded only to a lesser extent in meeting the information needs of the community. It also found little developmental content, as opposed to entertainment and social content, which were high. The study recommends the need to allow more ordinary residents and other professionals, other than volunteers only to originate and produce programmes. More female members of the community should be encouraged to originate and produce programmes in order to supplement programmes produced by the existing women's clubs.
Radio broadcasting -- Zambia
Communication -- Mazabuka
Radio stations -- Mazabuka
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