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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Seasoned broadcasters provide advice to broadcasters beginning their career

Four long-time Farm Radio International partners recently answered the following question: What advice would you give to a radio broadcaster starting out his/her career?

Sanoussi Mayana Issoufou, the Executive Director of Agri Sahel Services, based in Niamey, Niger, offers the following advice:
“The advice I have to give to a broadcaster who is beginning her/his career is threefold. First, any broadcaster who wants to succeed in his career must have the love for and the will to work in this field. The broadcaster must possess the principles and basic techniques of communication, which include:
-respect for the rules of conduct and ethics;
-the airtime must take into account the availability of the main target audience that one wants the message to get to, a moment which must be specific to the target group;
-she/he must be patient, have initiative and be creative enough to cope with shortcomings (scarcity of resources, etc), and the complex world of radio (several players, several targets with different needs, etc).

“The broadcaster must then know the realities (strengths, potentials, constraints, difficulties, problems, etc) of the cultural, social and economic world in which she/he wants to transmit her/his messages. The broadcast must reflect these realities and should be an interesting alternative to the ills that undermine the community, and must promote the sound development of a number of values (including socio-cultural values).”

Kofi Larweh, the Director of Radio Ada, a community radio station in Ghana, has this to say:
“Broadcasting is breathing fresh air into your personal life and facilitating the same for others around you. You have to daily concentrate on (1) the SELF; (2) the tenets of RADIO, and (3) DEVELOPMENT through the particular subject area your programming addresses. It is a whole new experience for you, your family, friends, community, and the world around you. Approach each day with the enthusiasm of your first day of broadcast and the feelings of the last day [you will be on air].”

According to John Van Zyl, retired Executive Director of ABC Ulwazi in South Africa:
“Any young person who wants to be a broadcaster must first of all listen to hours and hours of radio programming. Any and everything. All sorts of radio programs. Music and talk. Classical and pop. News, and even the weather. Listen to how broadcasters talk to YOU, how they draw you into their world. How they create interesting and fascinating worlds of their own in the studios that you want to be part of. Radio is a magic imaginary world. Radio is a great big family. Radio is indeed the drama of the imagination. Imagine how you can talk to your friends. Imagine how you can talk to strangers and make them your friends. Your tools are your voice and the smile in your voice. That is how you are different to a print journalist. Welcome to the magic world of the airwaves!”

Mahmadou Diarra of Réseau Kayira in Mali offers the following advice:
“…It is important to choose community [radio]. This type of radio is done with the participation of people who are involved in organizing and carrying out planned activities. The program schedule needs to take into consideration topics such as health, education, agriculture and livestock rearing. The radio station needs to connect the different communities in order to facilitate the development of local initiatives.

“The broadcaster needs to arouse consciousness within the heart of populations through news and radio programs. The role of “on-air trainer” that the journalist/host plays is not an easy one. He [she] needs to:
-respect the legislation of his/her country [that is] currently in effect;
-refrain from providing biased information;
-verify all information sources before broadcasting;
-be available and open to listening to people;
-be capable of analyzing a situation in terms of its socio-political and economic impact on the area.”

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