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Labour Community Radio Project: An Audience Research Evaluation of Local Community Radio Stations and the Weekly Labour Show

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Author: 
Yuri Ramkissoon
Mukondi Nethavhakone

Publication Date

April 1, 2008

This 62-page evaluation report shares finding of research conducted by the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) on behalf of Workers World Media Productions (WWMP) to assess the Labour Community Radio Project (LCRP). The LCRP consisted of the production of a weekly one-hour labour show broadcast live on 38 community radio stations serving the economically poor and working class in South Africa. The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which community radio stations and the weekly labour shows are listened to, and whether they are relevant and meaningful to the listeners.

Of the 1,125 survey respondents, 58% were female, aged mainly between 18 and 35 years old. The research suggests that community radio stations had very low listenership with people older than age 45 or those groups of retirement age. Similarly, the weekly labour show was not effective in reaching community members who were just entering the labour market in particular communities. Most respondents preferred the radio as a media form, but 29% enjoyed television the most.

The research indicated the following key findings:

  • About two-thirds of all survey respondents indicated that they listened to the weekly labour show on the local community radio station. Just under two-thirds of respondents listened to the show frequently, while about one-third listened to the show occasionally.
  • Those respondents who did not listen to the show cited irrelevance, lack of time, and lack of awareness of the show as reasons for not listening.
  • Over three-quarters of respondents felt that the show was relevant and interesting, while fewer than 20% felt that the show was "only a bit interesting" or "okay." A minority felt that the show was "irrelevant" or "boring". Most respondents of the focus groups agreed that the labour show was helpful and effective for various reasons. One aspect of the show that was deemed particularly useful was the awareness that the show raised amongst listeners on issues of unemployment and workers' rights. Most respondents felt that the show assisted in making people aware of their rights and of labour issues, and that it empowered people who were otherwise marginalised.
  • The language in which the show was hosted was considered appropriate.
  • Focus group participants did feel that the show was too short and should cater to more interaction with listeners.

The majority of focus group participants felt that the labour show and that radio as a medium for communication were effective in addressing labour issues. Participants did, however, stress the need for training of presenters and the need for a lengthier show to ensure that topics were covered accurately and thoroughly. In addition, participants felt that the format of the labour show could be more participatory (as opposed to prescriptive) and that advertising would make more people aware of the show and the broadcasting times.

With regard to the aims and objectives set out by the LCRP, the researchers commend the WWMP for meeting many of these, despite challenges and obstacles. They noted that most respondents of this study found the show to be relevant and important and favoured the format and language in which the show was presented. In addition, the researchers conclude that the aim of empowering communities and promoting participatory media and communication is on course for being achieved, as evidenced by the continual engagement of communities and training of local community members to act as presenters on the show.

To inquire about accessing the full document, please see the organisation's contact details, below.

Contact Information: 
Source: 

Email from Lynn Taylor to Soul Beat Africa on August 15 2008; WWMP website on November 15 2008; and WWMP website on January 25 2010.

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