9 Big Reasons Why Radio is Important to Africa

Radio’s importance during the Covid-19 pandemic

In a world filled with mobile phones, tablets and computers people often ask us, “Why radio”? The answer lies in its unparalleled reach extending to millions without internet access. Radio’s enduring power to educate and inform in everyday life and in emergencies is just as important today as it has always been for 100 years – and possibly even more so today. Radio proved to be invaluable during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Learners globally tuned to radio stations to receive school lessons via the airwaves. Messages on how to prevent the spread of infection undoubtedly saved countless lives.

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1. Radio reaches the most number of people

Radio remains the most used mass-communication medium in Africa. It has the widest geographical reach and the greatest audiences compared with the Internet, television and newspapers. 

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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. This is an important consideration during pandemics, where lockdowns prevent people going out to earn a living that would pay for data services.

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3. Radio is democratic and inclusive

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

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4. Radio informs and educates

Programmes are broadcast in local languages – whether it’s nutrition information for mothers, medical updates for health workers, how to avoid a viral infection during an outbreak, conservation farming for farmers, or school lessons for children.

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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”.

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6. Radio saves lives

People instinctively turn to radio first when disaster strikes. Whether it’s locating lost loved ones, accessing essential resources or receiving psycho-social support for those traumatized, radio serves as a lifeline. During pandemics, radio reaches far and wide with life-saving information and is a calm voice for all to hear. Information is aid

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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.

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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.

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9. Radio builds community

Radio, a social medium, encourages participation and engagement, in people’s home languages. Even if social-distancing measures are in place, individuals can actively engage in their communities by calling into the radio station to have their say, while also listening to fellow community members.

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.

Lifeline Energy have added enhanced functioninality to the traditional radio by adding MP3  playback to many of our products. This means that radio programmes can be recorded and not be lost to listeners after being aired. Audio content can also be loaded on to the players for on-demand listening.

There’s no question about it, radio just gets more valuable and efficient over time.

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