9 Big Reasons Why Radio is Important to Africa

Dialogue, tolerance and peace was the well-chosen theme of World Radio Day 2019.  Radio plays a crucial role in opening up dialogue during times of conflict or in emergencies. This is more likely to foster tolerance and result in a greater chance of peace. We highlight why radio is so effective – often where other mediums fail.

In a world filled with mobile phones, tablets and computers people often ask us, “Why radio”?  

Its power to educate and inform in everyday life and in emergencies is just as important today as it has always been.

Radio goes where newer technologies can’t. Beyond electricity, beyond a mobile signal. Beyond literacy.  It’s the most effective way of delivering information in remote corners where having the right knowledge can mean the difference between a harvest and hunger, between feeling confident or humiliated, or even between life and death.

And what we’ve done, is to add an MP3 capability to many of our products, which enable radio programmes to be recorded and never lost to listeners.

Africa icon

1. Radio reaches the most number of people

Radio remains the most used mass-communication medium in Africa with the widest geographical reach and has the greatest audiences compared with the Internet, television and newspapers. In Tanzania, 83% of adults surveyed said they get news and information from radio, as did 89% in Kenya.  When adding an MP3 recording feature, people need never miss a broadcast.

radio signal icon

2. Radio doesn’t run out of air time or data

Who needs a phone package, when you have radio? Radio is free. Always and forever.

radio is democratic icon

3. Radio is democratic

It reaches rich and poor alike. Educated. Uneducated. Young. Old. Every tribe, every region, each gender and race.

education icon

4. Radio informs and educates

Programs are broadcast in local languages – whether it’s nutrition information for mothers, medical updates for health workers, conservation farming for farmers, or school lessons for children.

trust icon

5. Radio is trusted

Africans trust news and information on the BBC World Service, for example, as well as local and community radio stations. People often refer to the voices on the radio as their “friends”.

crisis icon

6. Radio is life-saving

People turn to radio first when disaster strikes. Survivors need to find lost loved ones, access food, shelter or medical aid. It provides psycho-social support to those traumatized. Information is aid.

portable radio icon

7. Radio is portable

People can listen to radio anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to be plugged into the electrical grid to do so.

piggy bank icon

8. Radio is low cost

Radio sets are more affordable than other forms of tech and cost less to power. The cost of producing radio shows is low in comparison to creating TV and other visual content.

radio community icon

9. Radio builds community

Radio is a social medium, fostering participation and engagement, in people’s own home languages.

share this article: