Star FM in Zimbabwe ensure Young People are the Stars

Republished from the FrontlineSMS:Radio blog: Star FM in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe was established in October 2000 to address a specific need for a platform to allow young people living in the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province to discuss issues affecting them. The founders also realized that there was no radio station targeted at youth in the country. Although Star FM does not have a license to broadcast, they distribute audio content on CDs, over the Internet and via satellite. Amy O'Donnell and Emily Cholette from FrontlineSMS:Radio recently spoke to Star FM’s Director, Philani Ncube, about how the station is expanding opportunities for youth participation.

Check out an excerpt below or read the post in full here.

As with other community radio models, the Star FM community owns, manages and determines the content for programs – and in this case it is a community of young people. It is important for Bulawayo Youth Broadcasting to encourage youth participation because, as Philani explained, “They are the future leaders. The youth are encouraged to participate as they know that these issues affect them directly.”

Young people are engaged with the station in varying degrees, with some taking very active roles like presenting programs and being interviewed on the day’s topic or participating in roadshows. Philani shared the ways Star FM is looking to expand options for listeners to respond to content they hear: “We do not have phone in programs since we do not broadcast live, but the audience give feedback using our Facebook page and most recently through SMS coming into FrontlineSMS.”

High mobile penetration in Bulawayo presents Star FM with an opportunity to open new channels for participation, and Philani shared some of his ideas: “SMS is very important for Star FM to reach the youth since we are not live on air.” Being asynchronous means opinions can be gathered in an ongoing way and presenters can incorporate messages into the content they develop. Philani and the other presenters have recently started using FrontlineSMS to involve the youth audience on the discussions covered in the show.  “It seems to be a better method of reaching quite a huge number of youth in the community with limited channels of communication.” Philani explained. “Further, it will benefit the radio station as the listeners will get timely updates of the station’s activities so as they become more engaged, we can expand our followers.

To read this post in full click here

More photos and information can be found on Star FM's Facebook page.

To learn more about uses of SMS with radio, visit the FrontlineSMS:Radio website

With thanks to Emily Cholette for initial research into this great use case!