Why reality-based radio?
Radio for Social Change is a response to a lack in the communication landscape, in West Africa. Although the radio documentary has an enormous potential in the region in terms of social impact on the audience (real life stories are the best way to convey content in a society with a low literacy rate), there is no training in the field of documentary for radio broadcast in West Africa (in Africa in general, for that matter). Our training is going to bring the workshops in far away rural areas because we know the importance of capacity building in communities where the local radio is the heart and the brain of the circulation of the information, at all levels (from health to agriculture, from the weather forecast to law enforcement).
Why making radio documentaries?
Documentary is the “genre” that has the most positive impact on the audience, more than the current affairs and news. A documentary is inspired by current affairs but the result is a more global product that impacts a much bigger audience for a longer period of time, whereas the current affairs and the news have a short impact span.
A well done documentary on an important social issue can grab the attention of a wide audience on the local and international level (for example in the whole West Africa); a well done documentary has a longer shelf-life (it can be aired many times over a long stretch of time) then most current affairs news and keeps being relevant virtually forever. A documentary is a personal story told in such a way that it becomes a paradigm, an example capable of touching all audiences at once.
Making documentaries for broadcast is very important for a network of community radios because it allows for a wide distribution and sharing of content (via the airwaves, the social networks, podcasts, festivals, websites…) whereas normally radios do “news” that remain within their small communities.