Development of the Radio in Africa

Topics: Africa, Broadcasting, Radio Pages: 6 (2082 words) Published: March 7, 2007
The development of the radio began roughly a century ago, many say by Guglielmo Marconi, in 1895 who sent and received the first radio signal in Italy. The radiotelegraph began to evolve and develop for popular use across seas (Hey, J. 1975). For example it was used during World War One to receive signals from the European troops. By 1934, the radio had become a common piece of furniture to be seen in ones home (Bellis, M. 2003). The development of the radio continued until it reached the supreme establishment of what it is today. When the radio reached Africa, it began to help with social media issues assisting in the modernization of the continent and many people question if greater technologies will wipe away the radio for future use. The radio is considered to be the greatest device in Africa for the media because of its usefulness and inexpensive advantage. It is the most popular and widespread means for communication because it is a method of raising public awareness for community needs, opinions, and news. It is also a channel for entertainment, education and an exchange of knowledge. It is therefore important that the radio remains available in Africa for all these needs to be looked after. The radio plays a significant role in modern society and in some cases it may be the only mean of communication in developing countries. Three countries in particular that have greatly been affected by the existence of the radio in Africa are South Africa, Chad and Rwanda.

South Africa is located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. It is a middle-income country, which allows for a number of radio broadcasting services to run (Welsh, 1999). The country's diversity is so evident and highly reflects on the radio broadcasting. South Africa's diversity includes its eleven official languages, including English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Sesotho and Zulu, which brings variety and selection to the communities for they are presented with the choices and flexibility of eleven different languages and styles of speech (Olivier, Jako. 2005).

There are four main radio broadcasters including the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Channel Africa, YFM, and 702 Talk Radio. SABC is the state broadcaster with twenty national and regional services given in the eleven official languages, five FM music stations, national Zulu station, national Afrikaans station, and more. Channel Africa is more of an external radio service directed towards all of Africa, however it is still owned by the South African SABC. The other popular radio broadcaster is the most admired music station, which is YFM for it includes soul and hip-hop and Johannesburg commercial R&B. YFM is similar to 702 Talk Radio, although it is more concentrated on local news and informing the listening audiences (South Africa Radio, 2006). Many of the public radio services began operating during the Apartheid era by SABC. The Apartheid government commanded that only several regional stations could be opened but in the 1970's the Bantustans released this command and the establishment of radio stations was no longer in the hands of the government. Over twenty radio services were released for nationwide and regional audiences (Wood, S. 1994). Many commercial regional SABC stations were produced and sold to the companies owned by the blacks (South Africa Radio, 2006). Now over fourteen million listeners tune into South African radio stations.

These stations help provide entertainment such as a popular South African station commonly known as "East Coast Radio". Programming such as music, live comedy, game shows and much more entertainment is provided for listening audiences (South Africa Radio, 2006). Besides the regular entertainment supplied, the radio in South Africa is very useful for announcing news, and public awareness. An example of this is the announcement for the requirement for all South Africans to participate in routine HIV...
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