Know and involve your listeners

Local radio staff at the final workshop

Local radio staff at the final workshop (Photo: GIZ)

Radio is the most important medium and source of information in Burkina Faso. But radio stations have failed to analyze their listenership, thus bypassing listeners and their priorities when designing radio programmes. As a result, local radio stations have not been able to act as genuine intermediaries between citizens and public authorities with regard to local governance issues. But how exactly do radio stations know the topics affecting their listeners? How can listeners be involved in the design of radio programmes? And how then can radio stations assume a role as honest brokers of information?

To answer these questions, the project started off with workshops introducing uncomplicated and cost-efficient tools for audience analysis to local radio stations. Based on these trainings, the radio journalists together with civil society organizations developed a strategy for and eventually conducted such an analysis. Doing this, they found out which radio shows and overall topics their listeners prefer and if they were willing to get involved in participatory programme design. Another way of involving one’s listeners is by listeners’ clubs, whose concept was also introduced to the workshop participants. In listeners’ clubs, citizens can exchange and gather ideas for radio formats. They also serve as a platform of discussion with radio editors on pressing issues in the community. The audience analysis thus served as a first step towards finding ways for radio station’s audiences to participate in programme design and thus making radio broadcasts more relevant to people’s everyday realities.

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Burkina Faso: Listen, Participate, Transform – How local radio can make a difference