Local radio stations, as the name suggests, are radio stations that operate within a particular community. They are mostly defined by the geographical areas that they cover. Their frequencies are limited to either a small community or, in some cases, local radio stations can be used to define a broadcasting service that includes a specific county or country depending on the context.
Benefits of Local Radio
- Address Community Issues: Media coverage can sometimes be too broad and focus on national issues without necessarily narrowing down to the problems that are affecting the community. For instance, if there is a need to clean up the neighbourhood or install lights to boost the security of the area, it might not make it to national radio stations, but it provides good content for local radio.
- Allows Better Engagement: Having a local radio station provides a platform for members of that community to engage and consult. Some shows allow people to call in and share their suggestions on a particular topic, or even call to raise an issue that can then be debated on air. This kind of engagement not only allows the community to know what is going on around them, but it also creates some level of cohesion where they feel that they have a shared problem and can together find a solution to their issues.
- Pride of Community : This might sound strange, but many people who listen to local radio stations admit that they get a sense of pride knowing that someone out there is generating content that is specifically meant for them. A sense of ownership gets to them because they feel like the material has been curated for them, and is being produced by people they know or associate with. Some local radio stations are even being supported financially and in-kind by members of the community because of the pride they have in it.
- Source of Revenue: Local radio stations are a good source of revenue. In some instances, the radio stations have a mandate to share part of the income they get with members of the community they serve. In some cases, they exist to champion or support a cause that is meant to benefit their target audience directly. Local radio stations can be commercially owned, meaning they sustain themselves by adverts that come through the station, or they could be community-owned, meaning they mostly depend on the community to send donations to fund the station. Either way, even community local radio stations can find ways of generating revenue, such as getting into partnership deals.
- Employment Opportunities: One of the advantages of local radio stations is that they employ the local people. Some of them broadcast in the language that is commonly spoken by the people in the local community, meaning the job will be reserved for the locals. One radio station can provide many positions, from producers, reporters, sound directors, programming officers, and people who look for grants, among other job opportunities. Besides getting paid jobs, having a local radio station also gives people in the area a chance to grow their skills and experience. For instance, if you are an intern who wants to learn about the basics of reporting, you can apply to a local radio station and help to grow or kickstart your career.
- Platform for Activism and Campaigns: Activists and people who are campaigning for political positions have a good platform in local radios. In most cases, these stations will have segments in their programming where they invite activists and politicians to reach out to the people and explain their manifestos.