Tag Archive for 'UK'

Community media and SMS text messages

SMSAt first glance SMS text messages would seem like a natural for inclusion in a community radio station’s essential toolkit. SMS messages are inexpensive and easy-to-use and in recent years the mobile phones that are needed for sending and receiving them have become ubiquitous. However, a survey of recent projects indicates that use of SMS messages among community media in the developing world is still at an early stage. In most stations SMS use is informal. The few cases identified of community stations making more complex use of SMS messages have accompanied political crises or natural disasters and have inevitably been donor financed. There are few, if any, experiences of complex uses of SMS by community media without external funding and technical support, even though the financial and technical resources required are minimal.

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Podcasts to broadcasts

The ICT for development community of the Development Gateway has collected a number of links to podcasts in a feature about “Podcast Libraries“. There is a mention of the SIRU (Sistema de información rural urbana) podcast experiment in Cajamarca, a largely rural province in northern Peru. The BBC programme Go Digital recently did an optimistic story on this project a few years ago, but the project never went beyond the pilot stage. There are also links to the OneWorld Radio development news service and AGFAX Radio, a monthly package of programmes featuring interviews about agricultural issues.

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Texting to pirates

pirate radioI found an article about London pirate radio stations first published in Sunday Times magazine in September 2003. In it the author, Matt Munday, tells how mobile phones and SMS are being used at Xtreme FM to keep contact with listeners:

A show is in progress, the DJs taking turns to mix records together and exchange banter in a cockney pirate patois. The music veers from chunky hip hop to saccharine R&B – like most contemporary pirates, Xtreme champions “urban” sounds, a term that originated as a euphemism for black music. When not DJ-ing, they fiddle with their mobile phones: texting, reading texts, taking calls. Everyone has a top-of-the-range handset.

There is a studio mobile too. It vibrates every few seconds like a faulty alarm clock, as listeners call and text. Scrolling through its inbox, I notice scores of “missed calls”. Big N explains that this is how pirates gauge a record’s popularity. If listeners like a tune, they call in and then ring off, so the studio mobile registers a “missed call”. This costs callers nothing. If Xtreme receives over 20 missed calls from different numbers before a track ends, the DJs play it again. This is why teenagers listen to pirate radio: it’s interactive in ways legal stations can’t match.

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CR Toolkit & CR websites

CR toolkitFrom its base at Radio Regen in the UK, the Community Radio Toolkit is a website (and more) that features resources for community radio stations. Currently the site is featuring a Spotlight on making the most of your station’s website with lots of information for how to build a webite, make it more interactive, use social networking sites, and even how to make money with a CR station website. An online discussion forum is currently talking about content management systems (CMS) for community radio.

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