Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Masakhane Radio Show & future plans

Radio Grahamstown. Our audio partnership enjoyed another milestone, as the name of the show was identified, as being the Masakhane Radio Show. The inspiration for Masakhane, which means “let’s build”, is taken from the show’s aim to build knowledge of gardening and healthy living within the listenership of Radio Grahamstown, and to promote the community-building aspect of the radio show, something which is an aim of Umthathi. In the week after our last workshop with our audio production partners, I had the opportunity to think of the learning I have gained the past months, and how I have applied it in my work. Drawing up the Term Two Plan of the participatory production project with Annie, I saw the opportunity to reflect on this.
Behind the mic: Xoliswa Mbewu-Maaotla, co-anchor of Masakhane.

The Term Two Plan  of the project includes all that we had planned in the weeks preceding the broadcast of Masakane, and our plans for the partners in this process. We have also included the themes, topics, people and logistics that will inform the show. Coming up with our estimates and plans has been a combination of the result of service-learning and taking into account the aims of Radio Grahamstown as a community radio station, and the interests of Umthathi as a community-based NGO. Service-learning includes incorporating a service to academic work. This is exactly what I have been doing in the production partnership. It has taken Annie and I the past six or so weeks of interacting and learning from Umthathi, to identify their main aims and interests in the work they do in the community. We have observed this through our meetings with them, the workshops, and our previous first-hand experience of them interacting with the community during Masilimeni Day. In our interactions with Radio Grahamstown, we got to understand some of the dynamics within the radio station, as when meeting Station Manager, Phumlani Wayi, we also met with other staff members of Radio Grahamstown. This is where I got the belief that the radio show being produced in my audio production partnership, should take a particularly conversational tone, taking into account the tone of the shows in Radio Grahamstown, and the station’s relationship with its listeners. Service-learning characteristics have also enabled Annie and I to facilitate a simple integration of the production partners, where our partnership has managed to have a common vision for Masakhane, and each member of the partnership knows their respective role in the partnership. These roles are made clear in the Term Two Plans of the project.

M.K (standing) giving mic and intweviewin hints to Xoliswa
Since the last workshop, where the partners came up with a vision for the show, we have had another workshop, focusing on interview skills. We arranged this workshop in such a way, that all the partners could impart their knowledge of how to respond to different kinds of interview situations in a live radio situation. Radio Grahamstown representatives of the partnership played a major role here, as they gave practical examples of how they have dealt with such in a live show situation. We too imparted more theoretical advice on how to deal with such situations. This is the process of knowledge sharing, of learning and imparting knowledge that forms the basis of social-learning.

In terms of the Term Two Plan, the aim of the immediate future of this project has been made clear in this document. We will go through an extensive process of marketing Masakhane, before its first broadcast. This is the result of seeing the need to create as much interest as possible for the show. We will also prepare for the first broadcast, by having a mock-show, to see if the themes identified for the show, will work well in a 30 minute show. There is also the need to start thinking of ways in which the show will continue when Annie and I have left the production partnership with Umthathi and Radio Grahamstown. This is something which has been reflected in part in the Term Two Plan, but will need a larger investigation in how things materialise during the Second term of this partnership.

The basic logistics of Masakhane, such as the themes of the show, editorial aims, show vision, personnel, etc. have been identified. What now needs to be worked at is ensuring that such a show as Masakhane aims to be, will be successful as a 30 minute radio show, and how the hosts of this show will carry it. The legacy of this show, and its continual at the end of Annie and my tenure in the production partnership, is also a potential challenge that needs to be looked into.

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