Training in Programme Scheduling and Radio Programme Production Techniques
Unfortunately the largely unplanned expansion of the broadcasting industry did not allow for commensurate training with the result that this sector now suffers from an acute shortage of trained or skilled media workers at all levels of the broadcast industry. In a recent study, for each of the broadcast stations surveyed, less than a third of the staff had received formal training. Media managers are reluctant to provide skills training as they feel that persons use media training to launch new careers or that they are training persons for mobility to other things. Radio St. Lucia is the only broadcaster with public service broadcasting within its mandate. Although recently benefiting from IPDC assistance (Digital Newsroom Project), which has yielded some improvements in efficiency of operations of the Newsroom, there is still a lot of work to be done in improving journalistic practice and processes to ensure that the station is fulfilling a critical component of that mandate ? to provide accurate, reliable, and credible information to citizens. But this mandate goes beyond news and must be reflected in a better balance of programming of all genres and formats; programmes that are better researched and produced; programmes that touch every facet of human existence and sphere of activity; and programmes that are more attractive to citizens. The availability of the skills to do this among the core staff at Radio St. Lucia is severely limited. This project is specifically expected to address the lack of training in audience research and developing and sustaining programming schedules that are more diverse in content, formats and programme genres, as well as the lack of radio programme production skills. This is important to ensure that the national radio station is better able to provide citizens with reliable, credible, accurate and timely information, education and entertainment through a diverse range of radio programmes and programming to facilitate citizens' effective participation in rational debate and discussion so necessary to the encouragement and sustenance of a democracy. The project will also develop a cadre of independent producers, particularly in the rural communities who will be able to contribute rural issues to main stream programming while earning a living from a nontraditional activity ? radio production. Alternative solutions are to pursue the rare opportunities for scholarships in these fields.