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The Community Radio Station

 

There are over ten distinct indigenous languages in the region. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, in the regional capital, broadcasts in some of these languages. Fistrad came up with the idea of Sandema-based educational community radio broadcasting mainly in the local language, Buli. In addition to musical entertainment, comedy, current affairs, health issues and social satire, Radio Builsa 106.5 FM, ’Voice to the Voiceless’, broadcasts news daily, starting with local and ending with regional. It is read in three languages, Buli, English and Kantosi. National and international news is broadcast via a link to City FM, a highly professional and competent commercial radio station in Accra.

Thanks to mobile phones, ordinary people can express themselves publicly on the radio, interact with broadcasters in the studio and make their views known to governments. Most people have never seen a newspaper; so opening up air space to the general public has enormous potential for democratic development. People in this remote rural community are no longer ‘fish in a well’. Community radio is transforming lives by helping to create more knowledgeable and critical citizenship – a very important and ongoing challenge.

In 1994, Sandema was a sleepy, obscure village and now all that has changed. From 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. the community radio, which started in March 2008, transmits to over a million listeners. Essentially interactive, it enables ordinary folk (90% of them are rural farmers) to express views, discuss public affairs and be part of public decision-making. Local radio enables people to play a watchdog role and promote human rights. All aspects of culture and community are openly explored: agriculture, environment, public health, sanitation, funeral rites, school dropouts, maternal and child health and many more. Light relief and entertainment are provided by a range of local and international music presented by lively and humorous DJs.