MOELING COMMUNITY RADIO in Botha- Bothe Receives Second IPDC Funding Geared Towards its Sustainability
November 24, 2016
Within the framework of the IPDC support entitled “Production Studio and Sustainability Training for Moeling Community Radio in the Botha-Bothe district of Lesotho”, the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU) received financial support to the value of US$ 11,500 meant to capacitate Moeling Community Radio (MCR) in Botha Bothe district, Lesotho.
Through this initiative, LNCU was able to among others: purchase and install the production studio equipment, Training of the Board on Management, Ownership and Sustainability of MCR, and lastly the training of radio volunteers on investigative journalism, developmental Journalism, media ethics.
The production studio equipment procured and now installed at the radio station include:
Broadcasting mixer, monitor speakers, microphones, voice recorders and station logger, to mention a few. In order to reach a wider audience through live streaming and marketing purposes, a website for the radio is being developed and hopefully it should be accessible to the public in general by 1st December, 2016.
A three day training workshop was held for presenters and news correspondents of Moeling Community Radio Station at the training hall of the Department of Education in Botha-Bothe town from 9th to 11th November, 2016. Fifteen (15) participants took part in the training which covered the basic principles of news, ethics, developmental news, investigative reporting and the use of ICTs in reporting news.
The objective of the training was to equip MCR presenters and news correspondents with news reporting and news gathering skills, identifying and understanding Botha-Bothe community news sources as well as incorporating ICT skills in reporting news and enhancing community participation in their news programming.
The training was further aimed at improving news collecting and writing skills for the staff as well as producing quality news programmes for the benefit of Botha-Bothe community.
The Workshop Mode:
The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Keketso Lawrence- a renowned local media consultant. The consultant used both theory presentations and practical sessions through class work and field work in attaining the desired results for the training. The participants were first re-introduced to the basic principles of gathering and writing news, identifying community news and its sources, the ethics of news reporting and skills of interviewing, using ICTs and their applications in news coverage and broadcasting.
With the varying experiences and academic backgrounds of the participants, during some of the topics covered, the participants were asked to share their experiences, and take a lead in furthering understanding of each and every one taking part in the workshop.
Daily assignments were given to individual participants to cover news as a way of learning while at the same time providing content for the daily news bulletins and news programmes at the radio.
As one of the practical sessions, the participants applied the skills they learned in the production of a live radio news reporting where they made live contributions on air, with interviews from the community members. Participants also send audio clips practicing with their newly acquired recorders and send audio using their cellphones to the presenter on air.
During the training, the radio station was also advised to have regular news coverage during normal programming as a way of attracting listenership and beefing up the coverage of Botha-Bothe community.
At the end of the training, participants were expected to be able to use and apply ICTs in their daily work, be able to identify news and news sources in their community and understand the concept of community news while also bringing relevance of their radio station to the community of Botha-Bothe.
As has been the case with similar trainings for community radio in the past, many of the participants at the training believed they had to be in competition with the national or commercial radio stations in their news reporting and programming. The concept of community news programming was very little understood, with the correspondents, who are also presenters of different programmes, other than news, working more on promoting their names than to seek community participation and contributions in their news programming.
At the end of the training, the participants were able to draw the line on how to bring in community voices as opposed to their own voices. They were also able to identify more community stories that can be told on the radio and the sources which can be approached from time to time to bring on air community voices on all the issues of development and wellbeing of the Botha-Bothe people.
The participants were also encouraged to use their cellphones, as a primary ICT tool, to gather and report news and on how to use different social platforms available through their cellphones to get news tips and information that can be used in their news programming.
The Moeling Community Radio management was further encouraged to engage the participants (presenters and news correspondence) in regular diary meetings in order to improve the content of their news programming and for the management to know exactly what to expect in their programming and news bulletins.
The other workshop on community media ownership, management and sustainability was held from Tuesday 15th November to Thursday 17th November, 2016. The main objective of the training was meant to equip radio managers and the board on how to effectively run a community radio.
Topics that were covered in the three day session were: guiding principles on establishing community radio; creation of the mission, vision, values and objectives of the radio, structure of the board, code of conduct, formalization of engagement of volunteers and other staff as well as exploring marketing strategies for MCR. The workshop was attended by 11 Board members and three managers form the radio.
The Way Forward:
As a way forward, the participants and management in the first workshop undertook to hold regular meetings at the station to discuss the news diary, while also will be providing their daily diary through the social platforms such as WHATSUP or simple SMSing. The management further undertook to hold regular meetings with correspondents and other staff to discuss any issues and deal with matters of concerns as and when it becomes necessary.
They participants further committed to work in such way that community voices will be heard more regularly on radio and that in all their work they will strive to always be accurate, fair and truthful in their reporting.
As regards the consultative Board and Management workshop, the end result was the establishment of the Editorial, Engagement and Management policy of the radio station. It is our fervent hope that this important tool will be a guiding principle that will lead to the sustainability of the radio station.
With the availability of the internet at the station, the board of directors resolved to expand their revenue avenues as part of the sustaining the radio station through a tele-centre. The primary service would be internet café and printing.
Recommendations and Conclusion:
Participants in both workshop felt that the training was relevant and to the point and liked the fact that the facilitator spoke the lo
cal Sesotho language and was able to dissect some of the complex terms in the field of journalism.
Volunteers on their part, further wished there was more time to be able to do their practical sessions more on studio than in the workshop setup.
In some of their recommendations, the participants want regular trainings as a way of refreshing and catching up with the ICT world. Some even felt they needed ongoing monitoring to see if they are always on the right track.
The managers and board members strongly felt that both staff and themselves need regional exposure through internships and exchange programmes. This would give them a chance to exchange skills and share notes with their counterparts who are already successful in running community radios in the sub Saharan region.