South Africa: Govt to launch online radio station

Internet

Government says an Internet-based radio station was chosen over a mainstream radio station because of the effectiveness, influence and listenership of Internet-based radio stations.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa (Dirco) has announced it will launch an online 24-hour talk-radio station aimed at enhancing communication on South Africa's foreign policy.

The station, named Ubuntu Radio, will be the first to operate under the auspices of a government institution for non-commercial purposes, and is reportedly the first of its kind in Africa.

In a statement released by Dirco, the department says an Internet-based radio station was chosen over a mainstream radio station because of the results of extensive research conducted on the effectiveness, influence and listenership of Internet-based radio stations throughout the world. "Research indicates that Internet-based radio has gained momentum over the past 10 years, and its benefits are visible," says the department.

Dirco spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, says, because the department recognises the poor Internet penetration in the country, the station will exchange content for broadcast with identified media partners, including SABC's Channel Africa and community radio stations, to increase its reach. He adds that the targeted listenership of Ubuntu Radio is not limited to South Africans, but includes the international community.

The department says the objective of Ubuntu Radio is to create a platform for exchanging of views and opinions by various stakeholders. "These would include opinion-makers, think tanks, academics, scholars, students, diplomats and other key players in the field of diplomacy and international relations."

Ubuntu will run live broadcasts of major Dirco events, announcements, and campaigns, as well as "reliable and trusted" news on South Africa's foreign policy.

The SABC's national radio network currently comprises 18 radio stations, of which 15 are dedicated specifically to public-service broadcasting and three are commercial stations.