Advertising, community radio and mandate : a case study of Radio Maritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.
In South Africa, community radio is a growing phenomenon and over 100 radio stations have been licensed since the establishment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority. Ever since their emergence, their number has been growing dramatically and they have managed to attract 10% of the radio listenership in the country (NCRF charter). The proliferation and increasing demand for community radio broadcasting in South Africa and elsewhere demonstrates their significance and contribution to the socio-economic and cultural development of society in general, and to communities in particular. Nonetheless, despite their substantial contribution, communjty radios face challenges, especially with regard to resources and finance. As non-profit making institutions, they are funded by donors and subscribers and thus often suffer due to lack of reliable financial resources. The South African National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) states the decline of donor support as the main bottleneck to the proper functioning of community radio stations in the country (NCRF: July 2002). Thus, as with other commercial and public broadcasting stations, community radios in South Africa are expected to incorporate advertising as a source of income to cover some of their expenses without becoming dominated by profit motives. This study takes Radio Maritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal as a case study and attempts to explore the main financial sources of the station and its management. As its main. objective, the research in particular assesses the contribution of advertising as a financial source to the radio station and the way the station attracts advertisements without jeopardizing its mandate.
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