Community radio : the beat that develops the soul of the people? : a case study of XK fm as a SABC owned community radio station and its role as a facilitator of community based development.
This study is concerned with the potential of a community radio station under the ownership of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in being a facilitator and social actor of community-based development. XK fm is a radio station run by members of the !Xun and Khwe (two ethnic San communities), but owned and governed by the SABC. It was established to preserve and protect the cultures, languages and histories of the two communities as well acting as a facilitating and promoter of development. The focus of this research is on the examination of the station‘s day-to-day development programmes, the processes involved in operation, production and transmission of these programmes and the outcomes of these processes in the reception of the programmes among the two communities. As a means of critically analyzing the multi-layered aspects of operations within the radio station and the listening habits of its audiences as a whole, this study is situated within a Circuit of Culture (du Gay et al, 1997) framework of theory. It is also based on a case study approach of methodology that utilizes ethnographic methods of data collection from semi-structured and in-depths interviews to passive and participant observations that have been recorded on video. Based on the principles of both forms of development radio broadcasting, this study concludes that XK fm has been successful in utilizing indigenous knowledge and culture to produce radio programming that is sensitive to the development needs of the !Xun and Khwe communities. It has created awareness of development issues through both its cultural programmes and it informational programmes, and through the SABC has been enabled to be productively sustainable, technically advanced and participatory in nature. However, the SABC‘s control over the station does limit the two communities‘ ownership of the station and participation in policy construction, thus constraining the station in more effectively acting as a community radio station. It suggests that XK fm cannot act alone as the sole facilitator of development and needs other mechanisms to enhance participation and effective dialectical information exchange such as radio listening clubs.