Frequently Asked Questions
What is the history of Community Radio?
Since the enactment of the Broadcasting Act of 1936, the SABC was an ideological channel and propaganda arm of the National Party (NP), which had sole jurisdiction over the appointment of board members and employees of the SABC, as well as the licensing of stations and the determination of content and program of the stations.
Media were used and abused as an instrument of political power, oppression and non-democracy. Images and interests of holders of political power could thus be communicated and transmitted to the public – in short, propaganda could be carried out. No editorial independence and no private ownership of radio stations was the reality in South Africa.
The hegemony of the SABC as mouthpiece of the apartheid regime was a major propaganda machine in the hands of those wanting to clamp down on the free flow of information.
In sharp contrast, a significant part of the struggle for liberation in South Africa, was the struggle over access to, and ownership of, the media.
With liberation in the early 1990s, came the establishment of the Independant Broadcast Authority (IBA), which later became the Independent Communictions Authority of South Africa (ICASA). This Chapter 9 entity was established to regulate broadcasting and ensure that local communities gain access to, and ownership of, their own media.
Over the years, over 200 Community Radio stations have been licensed by the authority. However, many Commercial Radio Licenses have also been issued and the dividing lines between these two sectors has, over time, become somewhat blurred.
How is Community Radio funded?
Within the commercial media sector, the overriding motive is profit. Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and levies to the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA), for example, form part of this picture, but the main motive is profit and the means to that profit is to build an audience to which commercial products and services are promoted and punted.
This is often done by the use of coercion through peer pressure (after all, everyone’s doing/using it), producing consumer “hunger” (you’re not complete until you have product x, y or z), status (having this product imbues perceived status) and in some cases, outright misrepresentation.
However, Developmental Media is something quite distinct from the above. Whereas commercial media tends to isolate the individual, create dissatisfaction, increase interpersonal competitiveness and encourage acquisitiveness and debt, developmental media promotes community spirit, social cohesion, dialogue, equity, altruism and peace i.e. social capital.
Although the qualities of social capital are self-evidently critical for the smooth functioning of society, they are not necessarily good for selling products and services.
This phenomenon is indicated in the graph below.
In terms of interfacing with Advertising Agencies, Community Media’s paradigm does not dovetail well with agencies expectation of narrowly defined “Target Markets”, “Listener Demographics” and the like.
Community (and in particular, Developmental) Media’s focus is far too broad and scattered to be taken seriously by an agency needing to talk to a narrowly defined demographic.
Additionally, many of the media owners also hold significant shares in advertising agencies, which then ensure that media plans are beneficial to that particular media owner. By it’s non-profit status then, Community Media is excluded from this economy.
So, the avenues open to community media for funding their projects, includes:
- MDDA funding (The MDDA, as a Chapter 9 institution, is tasked with building an environment where a diverse, vibrant and creative media flourishes and reflects the needs of all South Africans.)
- Government Communications at the National, Provincial and Local level.
- Local independent businesses, through advertising their products and services.
- Membership fees.
- Local fundraising.
How is Community Radio managed?
By law, Community Radio can only be managed by a non-profit entity. This entity would typically be a Co-Operative, an NGO, an NPO or a Non-Profit Company (NPC).
Oversight is provided by a Board, who are drawn from the community and elected at an AGM of the organisation. In turn, the Board appoints a station manager to manage the station.
The station manager is responsible for running the station on behalf of the community. The manager employs administrative staff, sales staff, presenters, producers and the like, in order to roll out the station.
The station manager reports directly to the Board, who provide oversight and ensure that the station remains compliant with its licencing and fiduciary responsibilities.
How can I become involved?
There are a number of ways to serve the Overstrand community through Whale Coast FM.
1. Serve on the Board. If you have a passion for social justice and social cohesion, and are not politically alligned in any way, you can make application to serve on the Board
2. Serve on our Programming Committee. The Programming Committe is made up of members of the community, who advise the Board on the programming needed by the community. Contact us
3. Volunteer your services. We always need community journalists, producers, presenters, music compilers and content creators. Contact us
4. Advertise your products and services on Whale Coast FM. Go
here for more information.
What is Community Radio?
There are different kinds of Radio Stations in South Africa today.
1. Commercial Radio
Commercial Radio, like all commercial businesses, has a profit motive. The busness model is one of enticing listerners by providing them with relevant content, and then exposing those listeners to advertising messages, of one form or another, placed within the content.
In a music station, this content will be primarily made up of music, whilst in talk radio, the content is primarily comment, interviews and debates.
Advertisiers place messages on the stations based on their "target markets" i.e. the narrowly defined set of listeners that the station seeks to attract.
2. Community Radio
Community Stations do not have "target markets" as such, but serve geographically defined communities. Here the motive is not profit. Rather, Community Stations seek to deliver content that is relevant to the broader community.
Also, the content is not primarily produced to entice listerners, but rather to enrich the community in terms of what is called "social capital." There are two primary forms of social capital.
a) Bonding refers to social capital created within a group with shared interests and goals. A neighborhood association is a good example of how bonding works.
b) Bridging, on the other hand, is the creation of social capital across groups. When bridging is successful, individuals in the two groups discover shared interests and goals and work together to achieve them. A neighborhood association that links up with a local police department is an example of how bridging works.
Community Radio seeks to address both of these dynamics, by promoting shared values and vision, as well as helping with social cohesion across cultural groups.
3. Developmental Radio
Developmental Radio is similar to Community Radio. However, Developmental Radio is focussed on what could be called 'grassroots" issues. These would be issues that are critical for the developing of societies in crisis: societies that have experienced some form of trauma and/or injustice.
The impetus here is on social justice and the righting of past injustices. Developmental Radio seeks to bring healing and dignity to communities and restore them to their rightfull place in the broader context.
What are Whale Coast FM's values?
Whale Coast FM is committed to:
Promoting harmony and diversity in contributing to a cohesive, inclusive and culturally diverse Overstrand community;
Pursuing the principles of democracy, access and equity, especially to people and issues under-represented in other media;
Enhancing the diversity of programming choices available to the public and present programs which expand the variety of viewpoints broadcast in the Overstrand;
Demonstrating independence in our programming as well as in our editorial and management decisions;
Supporting and developing local arts, music and culture in the station’s programming, to reflect a sense of the Overstrand’s identity, character and cultural diversity;
Widen the community’s involvement in broadcasting.
Broadcasting only that which will enrich the lives of our listeners.
Treating all our listeners and interviewees with the utmost respect.
Broadcasting content that is focussed on the Overberg region.
Broadcasting news that is accurate and comment that is fair.
Creating space for all the voices of the Overstrand to be heard.
Encouraging and training those wanting to serve the community through Whale Coast FM.
Working with other organisations in the Overstrand committed to social development.
Raising the consciousness of our listeners around our unique ecology and the protection and promotion thereof.