Audience Dialogue

Participative Marketing for Local Radio, Chapter 1
What is radio marketing? sections 7-8

1.7 Marketing and community development

A community radio station's marketing isn't intended to directly benefit the station. Of course, there must be some benefit, in terms of audience and funding, but the main beneficiary should be the community itself. This should also be the case with government-funded stations, but for commercial stations the main benefit is financial, and it flows to the station's owners. (Even so, a community can still benefit from having a commercial station.)

In developing countries particularly, radio has an important role to play in improving the standards of health, education, governance (and perhaps even happiness) among the population. This is done by

Governments, NGOs, and other funding agencies in developing countries look to radio to inform the population and carry out social marketing campaigns. (Chapter 9 covers this topic in more detail.)

Marketing as peace-building

Some parts of the world are shared by two groups of people who distrust and even hate each other. The members of each group have been brought up to regard the others as dangerous monsters, and there's little communication between members of the two groups. In recent years, we've seen this in Bosnia, Israel-Palestine, Rwanda, and some parts of Indonesia. Occasionally, radio has fanned the flames of hatred - for example the notorious Radio Mille Collines in Rwanda, which encouraged its Hutu audience to kill the Tutsi people.

A related problem is separatism. For example, the Indonesian government has spent 50 years trying to hold that huge nation together. The Radio Republik Indonesia network, educating Indonesians that they share one country, has been a major force for solidarity. Now there's a proposal to introduce community radio to Indonesia. But, thinking of the separatist movements in Aceh and Irian Jaya, and the inter-religious battles in the South Moluccas, the government has hesitated to allow community radio to exist.

However, radio can be a powerful force for peace. For example, after the 1990s killings in Rwanda, a station called Studio Ijambo was set up in Burundi. One of its main aims was to calm down the racial tension that was spilling over from neighbouring Rwanda. Studio Ijambo has been very successful in this, by broadcasting programs that help the two rival tribes communicate with each other. These include discussions between the two groups, and a very popular soap opera featuring two neighbouring Hutu and Tutsi families.

In some of these areas of conflict, one group is far more powerful and wealthy than the other: in such cases, radio programs cannot much soften the grievances of the powerless. But in other cases, where most people on both sides simply want to live in peace, a radio station that is known to be shared between the two groups can be a great help in reducing conflict.

1.8 Using all aspects of marketing

In deciding on the arrangement of chapters in this book, I thought about the needs of a radio station that might want to review its approach to marketing. It would be useful, I thought, for the station to organize a series of discussions on the main topics, using a sequence in which each topic flowed into the next. That thought has determined the plan of this book.

Before discussing the practice of marketing, it will be useful to consider the methods and concepts of audience research. This is dealt with in chapter 2, while chapter 3 presents some key research findings.

Chapter 4 is about marketing strategy: how marketing is influenced by programming, and how in turn programming influences a station's marketing.

Chapter 5 covers publicity and promotions, both on air and off air. If a station has a publicist, he or she would manage the issues covered in this chapter.

The three legs of funding are covered by chapters 6, 7, and 8. Chapter 6 is about advertising and sponsorship, and how to earn income from this: what many people consider the heart of radio marketing. Chapter 7 discusses listeners as a source of funding, while chapter 8 covers the third leg: funding from the government, NGOs, and similar sources.

Chapter 9 considers additional funding sources for a radio station, such as selling airtime.

Chapter 10 is about internal marketing: dealing with the staff and volunteers. Though you might not think of this as marketing, in fact it's an important element of participative marketing.

Chapter 11 considers the extension of a radio station into other areas that will support the broadcasting activities. These include sound recordings, print media, email, the Worldwide Web, and telecentres.

The book ends with chapter 12, which discusses ways of weaving all these strands together in a marketing plan.

A radio station reviewing its approach to marketing might find it useful to organize a series of meetings. In each meeting, one chapter of this book could be discussed.


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