South Africa’s campus based radio managers discuss ways to amplify the sector

Amid the official kickoff of Africa’s largest radio conference, Radio Days Africa, managers of campus-based radio stations in South Africa have highlighted the possibilities to amplify the sector.

The radio landscape of South Africa includes nineteen campus radio stations based at tertiary learning institutions.

Despite having a rich history in the local media landscape, being the voice of the youth by the youth, and serving as a training ground, and as well as ultimately creating tangible employment opportunities for those involved, campus radio in South Africa receives less attention for the role it plays.

Although it adds to the listening landscape, commercial clients, and educational institutions, through experiential learning and marketing), the sector receives little formalized assistance and training.

Ahead of the formal opening session of this year’s Radio Days Africa, managers of South Africa’s campus-based radio stations had the opportunity on The RDA Fringe to discuss their challenges in amplifying their sector.

Focusing on ‘The Campus Radio Question’, SMU FM’s Station Manager, Precious Pheelwane, PUK FM’s Station Manager, Charonike Nel, Program Manager of Tuks FM, Michael Bower, and Peter Maluleka, a Music Compiler at Turf highlighted the important roles and contributions of campus-based radio, including the during these times of the covid pandemic.

PUK Station Manager, Charonike Nel disclosed campus-based radio must stick to its mission as a training institution and provide quality to its students or trainees.

“We as skill developers, we must train well-rounded radio broadcasters,” Nel said during the discussion.

“Stick to your community. You’re not going to please everyone. Give the best possible radio you can give, rather than overstepping your reach.”

Nel noted, they must stop feeling sorry for themselves and start to provide local and national clients whose money they are worth.

“We don’t care what’s on your ID. As a campus radio station, we are not speaking to an age group, we are speaking to a state of mind,” Nel added.

For SMU FM Station Manager, Precious Pheelwane suggested creativity in creating content that will generate interest.

“Advertising and revenue have gone down. If we can come in a room and share ideas and issues, we can learn more as campus stations,” Pheelwane said.

“A lot of people look at campus stations and think we only broadcast to our communities. Each radio station is unique and comes with its own problems.”

“For Tuks FM 107.2, we focus on young people in Pretoria, not just from the University of Pretoria,” said Tuks FM Program Manager, Michael Bower.

“We have been able to push the boundaries a little bit with our programming mandate.”

He highlighted quality as the meet for better radio programming. “Radio has so started hiring students that study media. Every single thing that we speak about today comes down to quality.”

At the same time, Radio Turf music compiler, Peter Maluleka identified access to contents through technology as a new model of radio programming.

“What we should be doing is taking a captive audience and selling them to clients,” he said

The session was moderated by Voice of Wits Station Manager, Shoeshoe Qhu.

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