Women as radio audiences in Africa

Authored by: Tanja Bosch

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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Radio is still the most widespread, accessible, and popular form of communication in many countries in Africa. The costs of radio content production are comparatively inexpensive, and access to radio receivers is higher and the cost much lower than for other devices, including television sets. Despite the increasing prevalence of new media, and in particular mobile phones, radio has retained its position as an important space for the production and dispersion of national political and cultural discourses. The growth of the talk radio format (e.g. in South Africa and Kenya) has resulted in the use of the medium for the development of a range of public spheres (based on gender, ethnicity, sexuality, social background, region, and so on). In Africa, this format has allowed diverse and sometimes geographically disparate audiences to engage in debate and deliberation, often resulting in the formation of public opinion on controversial matters of social and political importance. The primary stimulus in the growth of the talk radio format has been the changed political situation in these countries, more specifically a move to democratically elected systems of government. The growing international trend (particularly in the United States) of politically oriented talk radio in the late 1990s has also had a strong influence on development of the genre in different African countries.

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