Building skills of community radio editors and producers in digital radio programme production
The media landscape in Uganda (including new media) is characterized by diversity, independence and sustainability. The number of licensed Radio stations as at July 2010 is 244. Out of these, only eight are community based radio stations. In reference to the African Media Barometer Uganda report 2010, the editorial independence of print media is protected adequately against undue political interference. A number of universities offer degree courses in journalism. One, Makerere, has a Master’s programme. In 2002, the Eastern Africa Media Institute – Uganda Chapter developed a National Diploma in Journalism which has been adopted nationally. Unfortunately however, there are not enough courses available to upgrade the skills of mid-career practitioners, with only the two major dailies offering such opportunities.
In April 2011 in Kampala, verbal discussions were held among managers of the beneficiary community radio station, Apac FM, during a recent Uganda Country Level Round Table on Communication for Development (C4D). The round tables were organized by Makerere University’s Department for journalism and communication in partnership with UNESCO. It was discovered that most of the staff at the community radios/telecentres were lacking skills in new technology and digital production. Hence, there is a need to build these capacities. The main issue that needs to be addressed is the lack of professional programme production skills of staff of community radio stations. This is leading to low sustainability of creation, storage, publishing or broadcast of locally-generated content. There is currently no formal academic institution providing training in these kinds of skills, and community radio volunteers and staff are unable to afford the exorbitant charges for training offered privately.
The solution to this problem is to carry out training of trainers in order to equip at least two staff from each community radio station with digital production skills. They will then be able to train other staff at their radio stations in these skills. This proposal seeks to provide skills in digital production to editorial and production staff through a two-week intensive radio production training course in which 20 staff will be trained. The training will be institutionalized through close collaboration with the Department of Mass Communication, at Makerere University whereby the two-week training module will be developed/and adapted from, among other sources, the UNESCO model curricula and community broadcasting manuals.