The use of radio as a means of communicating with communities

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We hope that through World Radio Day 2018 we can use this opportunity to talk about our experiences with getting started with radio in order to underscore the significance and value of Radios Icom as a tool for humanitarian communication.

We’ll walk you through a number of things to keep in mind when using radio to communicate with affected communities, and then explain the different aspects of technology, licensing, and station governance that you’ll need to consider to make your radio a reality. In our experience, there are quite a few comprehensive guides (such as this one from Internews), but we wanted to focus on the aspects that were most important to us.

Starting from the beginning

Understanding the information ecosystem is essential as always. After conducting an information and communication needs assessment, you will get a clear picture of whether radio as a medium would be appropriate, whether people used it in their country of origin, and whether there is the potential for radio to have an impact on your current situation. The radio is generally considered to be a very powerful tool in many different contexts due to its ubiquitous nature, ease of operation, and inherent ability to overcome literacy barriers. To listen to the BBC World News, you do not have to know how to read and write. Moreover, it straddles a generational shift in technology, namely, radio has been around for a long enough time to still be used by many elderly people in communities, but Taking part in a call-in show is also gaining in popularity in many cultures since it provides an opportunity for people to interact with topics, express their opinions, and have their voices heard.

During the assessment, give yourself the opportunity to identify the nature of the challenges that you face with using radio: there is a quite a difference between not being able to access radio because you don’t have a radio set, and having one, but not being able to tune a programme in the language you understand. Is there a need for multi-lingual programming in case there are linguistic differences between languages? In addition to the potential audience for multi-lingual programming, are there also the host communities? As a result, it will be necessary to devise a strategy that takes into account all the challenges you will face.

The next step, in addition to developing strategies to deal with these challenges, is to figure out how to actually implement. In essence, you are setting up a radio station. The process of connecting an antenna to an FM transmitter is often intimidating to practitioners if they have never done it before. For those of you unfamiliar with radio, the technology or the legal aspects behind broadcasting, it’s understandable that it may be intimidating to be tasked with the task. I’m going to work hard to debunk some of these fears, bust some myths, and provide you with some practical steps to enable you to embrace radio as a tool to communicate with communities (if appropriate).

What it means to be a landowner

In order to set up a radio, there are a few things you need to know. The main issue organizations face is trying to do too much, too last-minute with insufficient information. While You cannot predict with precision which channels you will use, but you can prepare nonetheless. If you take steps forward in advance to ensure that the relevant authorities are onside and supportive of the initiative, and that legal procedures for the inevitable licensing process are in place (more on that later), then you will avoid major headaches when trying to coordinate things during an emergency response.

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