Even with the proliferation of communication platforms and technology, radio remains our community’s foolproof solution for connection, information and entertainment—almost every home you visit will have a battery-powered radio. You will find the coveted device up high—out of reach of curious, little hands—with the antenna positioned just right for the best sound, constantly playing in the background of daily life.
Unlike commercial radio, which is often driven by profit and ratings, community radio serves the needs and interests of the community. At Bulungula Community Radio (BCR), our programming is produced and presented by volunteer DJs from our community. We play popular music in our area, expose local and up-and-coming artists, share information and news relevant to our community, interview various stakeholders and promote local events.
More than just accessing information and entertainment, radio bridges the gap between the vast distances that separate people in our sparse community. In a recent questionnaire that we created for listeners, 100% of the respondents said that BCR makes them feel more a part of the community. Community radio strengthens community cohesion and cultural identity.
Equally as influential as our live radio broadcasting, BCR has an active WhatsApp group of over 130 participants. The group discusses news and information and shares various job or volunteer opportunities. Active members of the group include stakeholders such as our Senior Traditional Leader and Ward Counsellor, who use the group for effective communication. Because the group is monitored and has active participation, it has earned the credibility and trust of the community.
“I trust the job opportunities shared on the Bulungula Community Radio because it means that they are real and not scams”Young person interviewed for a report by Youth Capital
The only complaint we received from our questionnaire is that BCR doesn’t play for 24 hours. In rural areas where access to information and communication is limited, community radio plays a crucial role in providing a voice to underrepresented people, sharing information that is relevant to daily life, promoting social cohesion and linking people to opportunities.