Rwanda | Radio; easiest way to inform the public
Radio remains Rwanda’s most popular media source that covers almost the entire nation. It’s factual that a quarter of the Rwandan population is illiterate while many are too poor to purchase a television set.
Radio history in Rwanda, has had a dark side. The station Radio Mille Collines helped incite the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that claimed more than a million Rwandans.
With other factors constant, radio remains the fastest growing medium in Rwanda that covers a wider range of issues than print or any other kind of media.
Currently Rwanda boasts of 32 radio stations since 2004 when private radio stations were allowed to start operating officially .The long radio journey started with pioneers like Contact fm, Flash fm, City radio, Radio 10 and Radio Maria.
Today statistics show that radio listenership in Rwanda is approximately 99 per cent and people are interested in the news and development programs on radios. Newspapers are not accessible to the population because they are expensive and access to them is limited in rural areas.
The government of Rwanda after realizing the impact of radio coverage in the public sphere, they introduced community radio stations which support people in their development programs like one cow per family.
“Our listenership capacity differs from one radio to another in terms auditoria structure, we at radio Ishingiro, we deliver content for our community like government programs , currently we have total listenership of 1.5 million” Alphonsine Yankurije, Director of radio Ishingiro, a community radio in Gicumbi.
Radio medium provide news, educate and also looks at freedom of expression of the population. Radio stations allow the public to engage in current and live discussions by calling live on air, without being restricted.
Radio over years, has played an important role in behavior change of Rwandans, especially those in the remote. An example is RTLM (Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, 1994) which influenced people to commit a horrible genocide.
People trust radio and look to it for education, communication and entertainment, though radio still faces different challenges, for example political, religious and professional ones.
With all the amplified recent machines that evolution has availed to radio means of communication, another pending problem remains low salaries for radio presenters. Their salary ranges from eighty thousand to three hundred thousand francs which is pea nut, compared to today’s needs.
Radio stations also lack professional radio presenters who can create and design educative programs for the audience and on the other side earn get on board big companies to sponsor radio programmes.
The radio station business is booming in Rwanda-no doubts about it. However like other print medium, some radio stations lack the capital and professional journalists to keep them in the market. Remember there are big giants in the radio world, the likes of KFM, therefore outcompeting them is never a simple task.