Programming, editorial and ICTs skills in South Africa and Lesotho

Radio format
Gender equality
Editorial work
Project outcomes: 
Journalism training
ICT training
Correspondents’ network
Mafeteng Radio
Jozi FM
Radio Atlantis
Bush Radio
Valley FM
Radio Riverside
Training for radio stations from South Africa and Lesotho

In line with the  UNESCO-SIDA project workplan,  four capacity building workshops each for  three days  were conducted between the 19th  of November  to 5th  of December 2012.  A  total of sixty eight staff and volunteers comprising of 30 women and 38 men were trained on  editorial, programming and in use of ICTs in  radio broadcasting. The  sixty eight  staff and volunteers most of whom double up as correspondents, were also  trained on community involvement in news gathering of information, packaging  and reporting of the  issues of public concerns. The trainees were drawn from the five radio stations participating in  the SIDA funded project in South Africa and one in Lesotho. 

Specifically, ten senior managers from  Jozi FM were trained  in Johannesburg from the 26th to 28st November 2012.  This was followed by the training of twenty two staff of  Radio Atlantis, Bush FM and Valley FM from the 26th to 28th November 2012 in Capetown, SA. The training for seventeen staff and volunteers from Radio Riverside took place from 29th  November  to1st December 2012 in Upington, followed immediately by the training of twenty two staff and volunteers from Mafeteng Community Radio in Lesotho from the 3rd to 5th December 2012.


The training was geared towards building the skills of the  6 radios personnel  in  editorial, integration of ICTs in  the programming process, production  and  airing of  gender balanced programmes, community participation in programming process and monitoring and evaluation of the radio programs. The training aimed at addressing the concerns on lack of quality programming in the participating local radio stations.

Capacity building on  integration of ICTs in radio programming  during this training was a priority since the  survey  carried out  on  the use of ICT’s in the six radio stations  found out that there was a high level of familiarity with social media platforms and the use of mobile telephony but not making use of the technologies in radio programming.   None  of the stations in the sample study had documented ICT policies and in most cases the little  integration of ICTs witnessed  was  driven by individual staff members who have an interest in technology.

Areas of focus

1. Community  involvement and participation in radio programming

This session equipped the staff and volunteers with  skills on community mapping,  message and program matrix – which is a process of unpacking identified areas of public concern  in order to understand community knowledge, attitudes, practices and beliefs towards a certain issue and to identify how the challenge or problem could be rectified. This process made  it easier for radio producers in these participating stations  to have a clear focus on the priorities and relevant issues of public concern  as well as  determine how to involve the communities in identification of  information needs of each community. The trainees in these workshops through role play sessions, were therefore capacitated in gathering  and  packaging information in different radio formats that suits and accessible to their audiences.

2. Different Radio Formats

This was a facilitated discussion and presentation. Participants were encouraged to list the different radio formats they know and use. The facilitator presented other radio formats and elements that were not familiar with the trainees. The difference between radio formats and radio components was explained and the facilitator then discussed each format and component mentioned, detailing how, when and what circumstances individual formats were most applicable. At the end of this session participants were asked to identify which of the formats and elements listed were participatory. The main aim was to ensure that participants understand  and are able to recognise which formats to use to maximize community participation.

3. Use of ICTs in Programming

Use of mobile telephony  and social media was identified and discussed  as some  of the main technologies utilized in the whole programming process. Participants  first  shared what resources are available to them and how they are maximizing on  those resources to enhance community participation. Barriers and challenges to integrating ICTs at the respective stations were also discussed in detail. The facilitator then expanded on the use of mobile telephony, internet and social media to integrate ICTs and shared some open source websites where participants could access additional information and share experiences with other broadcasters in Africa.

4. Program Planning including gender balance in programming

This was  carried out through  small groups practical exercise to  plan a 30 minute educational radio program using  at least 4 radio components. As part of the exercise, groups were expected to present a line up for their 30 minute program, an introduction, a conclusion and at least three questions for each interviewee. Groups presented their program plans in plenary. This exercise also aimed at ensuring that participants understand the importance of “Catchy” introduction (getting the listener interested), gender sensitivity, formats used, educational and entertainment value and  having a  clear key message. Participants also discussed a checklist for gender balancing in programming. This session was concluded with a quiz on formats and gender which was followed by explanations relating to responses.

5. Mechanisms of  monitoring and  feedback on quality of programming

The session explored how radio stations could involve different communities in content development as well as in monitoring feedback through both the traditonal meanss as well as by using the modern Information and Communication Technologies( ICTs). Emphasy was placed on  also using listener groups and the urgent need of establishing a pool of stringers or correspondents that should provide regular and accurate reporting from a local perspective.



The methodology used was participatory and  took different formats as follows:

1.Role play sessions in smaller groups

The photographs below depict some of the drawings from different groups:

Trainees drawing of a community set up  reflecting areas of public concern,  resources and interventions required.

The purpose of this exercise was for participants to understand that as individuals coming from the same community, they may not always have the same understanding of what is affecting their communities  hence the need to carry out community mapping and involve the communities in bringing out issues of concerns. They were then encouraged to always involve their communities in content development. Using just a small group, specifically the primary target audience, can help the producer to develop a more balanced program.

2. Presentations and group discussions.

The trainers made  presentations in line with the  workbook( Ref workbook attached) which was prepared for this specific training  and allowed group discussions over the  various topics.

Follow-up- A three months online mentoring

As a follow up to the training workshops,  the trainers followed up  for three months with online submissions from the trainees on outlines for three (3) radio programmes and  provided feedback to each of the participants individually in an attempt to support them through this learning process and ensure that the skills gained are utilized.

Lessons learnt

The success of these trainings were highly attributed to the involvement of the radio stations in content development during the training design. Carrying out training of  radio stations staff and volunteers where more than one radio station within the vicinity were combined proved extremely useful in terms of exchange of best practices, sharing of challenges across the various radio stations and the positive exchanges around some of the elements pointed out by the assessments and surveys outcome of the various radio station. 

First phase (2012-2014)