How Connected are West African Radio Stations? How Mobile?

Posted by PrabhasPokharel on Aug 11, 2009

Panos Institute West Africa released a report in October 2008 exploring the connectivity of West African Radio Stations to the Internet, and their use of other information and communication technology including integration with mobile. The report presents results of a survey that was conducted in 220 radio stations in Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Radio, which "remains the most appropriate communication medium for social and development communication in Africa", does not have great online presence, but has higher use of mobile phone technology. The results vary drastically with type of radio station and the country it is operating in.

Some data from the report:

  • Average rate of access to the internet for the radio stations surveyed is 52%. But variance is large: 94% are connected in Ghana, 89.7% in Senegal, but only 20% in Sierra Leone. Most connections are ADSL connections.
  • Commercial radio stations are more likely to be connected than community or non-profit run radio stations or public radio stations.
  • 70 radio stations had identifiable websites up, but their presence is described as "minimal and precarious." Streaming has limited use (6-12%, depending on how you count), and podcasting is virtually non-existent (3%).
  • Mobile Phone usage is higher. 56% of radio stations report that journalists/reporters use their mobile phones for reporting at least regularly. 52% of commercial, 42% community, and 31% public radio stations use mobile phones to interact with users.
  • SMS use is even higher. 83% use it for interaction between listeners and presenters during radio broadcasts. Cost of sending SMSs are divided between sender, radio station, and telecommunications operators.

The report also contains data on the use of Satellite, the use of technology such as CDs and DVDs, and overviews of both radio and ICT landscapes in each of the countries surveyed. The report is available at CIPACO's Library (direct PDF link) and in MobileActive's mDirectory.

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