I am reading an interesting document produced by scholars at the University of Hyderabad titled the “Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit.” Sponsored by UNESCO, it focuses on best practices for community radio stations around the world. The survey is quite long, but I direct your attention to the section called “Content Generation and Programming,” which provides standards and formulas for community involvement in a community radio station, especially in regard to historically excluded voices “such as women, dalits, tribals, etc.”
“The need for a community radio station to offer a diversity of programmes (in various formats) as well as for constantly formulating fresh ones cannot be overstated,” the section explains. “When a station manages to involve members of the community in the various phases of programme production, they develop a stronger sense of identification with the station. Listening to one’s voices over the radio can be an important step towards a sense of ‘community ownership’.”
And so the scholars offer the following participation evaluation chart:
The above is followed by various formulas for community participation, such as these:
” . . . a certain CR station has a total number of 10 people involved in Programme Planning out of which two people are staff of the CR station and the other eight are members from the community, then the percentage of members from the community would be:”
” . . . . a certain CR station has a total number of 10 people involved in Programme Production out of which five of the members are women then the percentage would be:”
“The more the number of programme formats that a CR station uses in its programming, the greater is the diversity in content, appealing to different audience interests,” the section concludes. “Community radio should be able to showcase the range of possibilities in radio production that are often missing in commercial radio.”
Interesting stuff. Some of you know that I have opinions about this sort of approach, but I’ve got to look into the context of this project a bit more before going there. Meanwhile your contextual observations are welcome in the comments section below.