Week Two: Knowing your audience

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Week 2 of Farm Radio International’s e-discussion on addressing sensitive issues on air. We trust that you had a lovely weekend.

Last week, we focused on getting to know each other, understanding what sensitive issues are and shared some examples. We learned from our discussion that the more sensitive an issue is, the more it needs time to tackle it correctly. In most times, this requires knowing the audience you serve, understanding their needs and working towards responding to those needs.

Our focus this week is on knowing your audience.

The following questions will help you contribute in this week’s topic:

  1. How do you portray the audience that you serve? How is it made up? - Here we want a mind picture of the community you are serving in terms of demographic information (age, gender identity, location), psychographic information (aspirations, concerns, values) or behaviour.

  2. What type of station or organisation do you come from? - Is it a public, private, community, or religious radio station? Is it an NGO?

  3. How do you gather information on sensitive issues from your audience? - What methods do you use to get information from your audience especially on sensitive issues?

  4. Does your editorial policy or mandate allow you to tackle sensitive issues related to gender, GBV, sexual & reproductive health, politics, and other issues? Do you avoid certain topics like abortion or LGBTQ? Why? - Are there topics your radio station or organisation will not allow you to broadcast because of policies or mandate? Are there topics you avoid even though they may be important? Why?

You are expected to contribute using the above questions and also comment on contributions of other participants.

If you are new, have just joined us or you have been around but did not participate last week, do it now by participating in Week One: Introductions and understanding sensitive issues.

Please note that active participants who introduce themselves and post at least three meaningful messages (your own contribution and comment on at least 2 others) in each week will receive an ‘active participant’ certificate issued by Farm Radio International.

Have a nice day!


You can potray the audience you serve by interviewing them and asking about their project and happening around them. Broadcasters audience is made up of the different people that listen to your programs . You can design programs based on the time these audiences listen to you.
I am a Media Trainer, I train and mentor Broadcasters.

To gather sensitise information from our audience we can do interviews, surveys, phone in programs among others.

Tackling sensitive issues related to GBV, Sexual and Reproductive rights , Politics among others are now issues that are tackled on air. As a Media Trainer I think we need to coach broadcasters on how to talk about these issues. Appropraite terms to use among others.

LGBTQ or Abortion issues still remain to be highly sensitive issues. I personally rejected a grant to cover these two issues because of the environment and community I belong. But I think it’s high time these issues can be discussed and strategies to promote them


This is how l portray my audience , to start with l am from Radio chimwemwe a Community Radio station wholly owned by the United Church of Zambia here in Ndola Zambia.
on average , two in five women and men between the ages of 15 -70 listen to some of our programs in the markets, homes , vehicles etc. But of course the concerns differs depending on topics we air on Radio which also help us to know the audience we want to reach and understand their listening habits and, therefore, provide them with quality content.

We gather sensitive information from our audience through interviews, surveys, phone in programs and Interact with them.

Sensitive issues related to GBV, Sexual and Reproductive rights , Politics and others issues, these are topics of the day in most Radio stations in Zambia we talk about them with a disclaimer.

On LGBTQ or Abortion , l am coming from the a Radio Station with a mission statement of providing excellent Radio services to all cultures and languages with a christian touch while giving value to stakeholders , hence mainly we don’t talk about them because of our policies.


How do I know our audience as Kuwala FM? Firstly. Iam KUWALA FM is a regional radio station owned and run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Blantyre. It is a holistic evangelization tool meant to supplement the efforts of the limited number of pastoral workers in the vast Archdiocese which covers the districts of Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Mwanza, Neno, Phalombe and part of Thyolo. It seeks to reach out mainly the rural masses of this region and the youth. So the youth seems to be the largest population in Malawi and with that,we know that we are reaching out to many and also being a Religious institution we are assured that most of the Church members listen to our radio and also through feedback like phone ins,the visit by some communities and the like.

Sensitive information from our audience are being gathered through interviews, phone in programs and Interact with them and research.

Sensitive issues related to GBV, Sexual and Reproductive rights , Politics and others issues, are mostly being tackled in different angels, but to us are being covered with cautious especially on reproductive rights,we need to air out only areas that confirms to the Catholic teaching,you ensure that you are not crushing with the Catholic teachings.

On LGBTQ or Abortion,
Kuwala FM programmmes are aimed to cover as many aspects of human development as possible. They fall in the following segments: Spiritual, Devotional, Health, Education, Governance, Sustainable Livelihood, Youth, Children, Women, Men, Profiles, Leisure and Entertainment, Current Affairs,and as I said in my earlier explaination that we ensure that we don’t do programs that are against the Catholic teachings, so for these two issues we write in a spiritual way as in enlightening them with bible say but in support.

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Hello everyone

We are almost rounding off Week 2. Thank you to those that have contributed, remember, you need need to submit your own post and comment on your fellow broadcasters posts to be considered for a certificate. Thank you @Mamsul @fredrick1 @Esther @Brenda @Rashid @AnjelinaMkabili

I also noticed we get some visitors who leave without leaving a word behind. @focus32021 @Donjosh @Steward @LUGEMBE @ISAYA we see you and looking forward to hearing from you.

This week is about knowing your audience. We want to know the type of radio station or organisation you come from, how your audience is made up, how you gather information on sensitive issues from your audience as well as if there are any policies or organisation mandates barring you from broadcasting certain sensitive issues like gender based violence, sexual reproductive health issues or politics.


Am Mfaume Paastory from Kings Fm Njombe Tanzania i visited as you said and late me go direct to my contribution.
Our audiance are all peole in our society because we gave defferent types of Radio programmes so we have radio feature called Jamvi late here we use to discus about gender issues politics matters (this is good governance program) our audience here are Decision makers, politician stake holders and people in in the society.

In collecting dater we allways city in news room, we identify significant news ideas, we i densify sources , we do research, we prepare our equipment’s, we consider about ethical matters and we go field for dater collection.

We gate obstacles to the government offices because they cant talk without permission, they are selective for what they want to be aired, the changes of fairer for transport we go we return for one issue!! and aur radio are local with small investoers so this lead us to perform bellow our goals.


@LUGEMBE is Kings Fm a community Radio station ,or what because from the look of things you are working under difficult condition …

Yes insome communities talking about LGBTQ is a taboo.

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No community fredrick its commercial and we are suppose work hard for profits at the same time we are suppose to save our society!

  1. Our audience age can be from 6 years to 70 years , because we also have radio show for children which is always once per week on Saturday. Audience mostly would like to here what’s happening with the community and also all over other places in country and even allover the world, there also choice of words matters as way to ensure the information they want they would understand it well.

  2. Am Angelina Mkabili from Mwanedu FM in Kenya which is a community radio and not an NGO.

  3. We gather information through community leaders after it is reported to them, also community organisation which deal with human rights and also the affected.

  4. There are stories which the company can’t allow to be aired especially when the all parties involved in issue won’t be available or ready to talk about it.


Thank you for responding to the call and deciding to join. Welcome to our e-discussion. We are delighted to have you on board. Thank you for introducing yourself and sharing a bit about your audience. Are there issues you are not allowed to talk about on air?

On Thu, Nov 10, 2022, 5:20 PM Isaya Burugu <buruguisaya@gmail.com> wrote:

Thank you Busi,we are very much around and on this platform.I work for a radio station owned by the Catholic church in Kenya, the station is known as osotua radio and broadcast from Narok town south rift region of Kenya.Yes in as much as we use an all inclusive system of broadcast content provision where our programs are designed in a way that every member of society benefits,we have reservations when it comes to airing of some adverts.We have a policy which can not allow us to air adverts to do with alcohol, family planning methods or even tobacco.This is because the Catholic church in Kenya is highly conservative.We broadcast in two languages the national language known as Swahili and the local language known as maasai.However we do cover politics, gender related issues, early child marriage and outdated cultural practices like Fgm because they are still rampant in the region.

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Hello @ISAYA

Welcome to our e-discussion platform. We are happy you have joined us. We are looking forward to learning more from you and from other participants.


Yes at Njombe we hard a series of children’s killings! more than 8 child ware killed in contradiction surroundings and the government wont the media to report the number!

Now at Njombe we are suffering from malnutrition for our children but the government since 2016 says we have 53% in region and they command the media to report only that percent your not allowed to came with research and reporting against!!

Last i prepared my radio feature looking about risky lifestyle for the elderly and i asked the number of elders in our district from the government officers but they have no proper number they gave me their approximation and they enphersised me use that number not from other researchers. There is so many matters

Hello everyone

Thank you for sharing about your audiences. This week has come to an end, before you enjoy your weekend, let me share some of what came out from the WhatsApp discussion:


  • My target audience is made up of mainly women and youth. I try as much as possible to represent them on gender based and domestic violence issues.
  • We respect both genders of different ages & we have to provide a platform to them all making it simple for them to express their views and needs.
  • My program accommodates all age groups that have an interest or are into farming.
  • We understand that our audience is very diverse. Those who listen to us are adults, young people - it is different age groups, followers of different faiths, different tribes
  • Our audience is the general public because our programs cover all groups, all segments of society and profession.
  • Both educated and non - educated.
  • Men, women, family, youths, students, children, married, singles, religious, government, politicians, business. Traders People Living With Disabilities, or People With Special Needs etc.
  • Our audience is basically those interested in getting authentic news about Nigeria and Africa.
  • Our audience is basically made of all ages ,primarily christians and other non believers
  • We operate on a community level,where we cater for all categories of people.we have different types of programs that fits in every set of our audience.
  • We target mainly the youth plus women, then men. Unemployed youths are targeted as well so that we change their mindset and they start looking for work or start something
  • We attract more of the working class/business class who care about policies of government and current affairs in the country.
  • The audience we serve is mostly from 18- 50 and the gender which mostly contributes to most of our topical phone in programmes are men which gives us a picture that a large percentage of our listener are men followed by women, in as much as we are a national radio station we are situated in an area that is more of a community so we are careful with the way we handle some issues.
  • My audience or target groups are both men and women, children above 15 years of age but vary with time in airing the program.


  • government owned station but we are given ample free hand to discuss issues that affect our vulnerable unabated.
  • Community radio station
  • Private or commercial radio station
  • Christian organisation


  • We gather information through vox pops, content from our news bulletins, reported cases from social workers, federation of female lawyers and Nigeria association of women journalists who are our major partners.
  • When we want to have a live program on GBV we mostly focus on offices that deal with GBV like police support, victim unit officers, social welfare, faith leaders. When we focus on GBV among sexual workers, we allow them to hide their identity
  • We gather information through many sources; we receive calls from affected people or groups off air to establish the issue. through a tip off from an observer or neighbor, through research into archives of stories or documentaries and make follow ups
  • Research, observation, meet them one on one and get some discussion
  • We visit experts who give us more explanation on sensitive issues and also we use internet to get information


  • We are often given free hands on handling critical issues that affect members of our society. Our main challenge is that we lack the facilities to provide safety for victims and strong arm of the law to adequately punish perpetrators. Hence laws on children’s rights and violence against persons must be implemented fully to guarantee the required verdict.
  • We have an editorial policy that allows us to articulate sensitive issues because it’s one way of making our community know what are sensitive issues and what to do when someone gets affected.
  • We gather sensitive information through calls, SMS, or visits to the station. For instance when a man raped a minor, some people wanted to kill the man but some one informed us and we called the attention of Rights Group, "Save And Secure The Child Initiative ", who took up the matter and the culprit was arrested by the police.
  • We are not limited in any way. We are free to tackle any issue, as long as the presenter plays by the rules. Again, presenters should use their initiatives in handling sensitive issues so as not to create unnecessary tension or distaste in the ears of the audience.
  • One thing is clear, in most parts of Africa, if not all, we still operate in a conservative environment so we should mind our language and choose our words carefully when on air.
  • On whether there are topics we avoid… We don’t avoid any topic once they come up. We only mind how we go about it. As I said earlier, "Choice of Words.’ A broadcaster should not be vulgar, crude or raw
  • When it comes to issues like LGBTQ We all know that our people still frown at them seriously. There could be people practicing these things but the truth is that our people including the law of the land still see any of them as taboo, unacceptable, offence or crime. Attracting 14 year jail term!
  • We still have our norms and societal values but they don’t hinder us from handling sensitive issues
  • We comfortably talk and discuss, GBV, Sexual reproductive health, but not LGBT. People are not interested in this.
  • We comfortably discuss topics of interest to our listeners and are always careful when discussion religious issues since the region we operate in take very keen interest on religious issues aside that be it LQBTQ+, etc are discussed without any major issue
  • On LGBTQ issues, the government of Nigeria isn’t in support hence we toll the part of our Govt
  • For abortion we can only discuss about it in the positive way, we can say abortion is not good to do, but we can not say go and do abortion we are not permit to say that, because of the community we find ourselves is a religious community
  • Our editorial policy works because we need to present the facts and accurate news but sometimes we’re hindered by the government laws, roles and regulations
  • In Ghana the case is quite different…the government isn’t clear on its stand…just that the citizens are highly against it cus majority of the citizenry in the country are religiously ascended and are not in anyway ready to accept or allow LGBTQ+ and it’s stuff in the country…so when discussing cases like that…we always very careful about it…
  • Even in terms of adverts ,religious media is too selective ,then issues of homosexuals are considered as a sin
  • LGBTQ or Abortion issues still remain to be highly sensitive issues. I personally rejected a grant to cover these two issues because of the environment and community I belong to. But I think it’s high time these issues can be discussed and strategies to promote them
  • Yes to issues related to gender ,GBV, sexual and reproductive health and politics but abortions or LGBTQ audiences are too sensitive and medical issues sometimes in mass communication they are not easily digested as people perceive things differently on air we can just refer to doctors or work with organisations that operate in that field.
  • LGBTQ except if it’s a hard news story to be read in a news bulletin but those issues are still very sensitive.
  • There are rules of engagement in order not to sound bias, unfair or go against the regulatory broadcast codes as stipulated by the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. There are no topics to avoid as long as we use the appropriate radio format that will do justice to every subject matter without being judgemental, untruthful, propagating fake news or misinformation.
  • On issues relating to abortion, LGBTQ+, it is always best to source medical experts in the field of discourse, human rights activists, people who are directly affected or legal luminaries can speak for/against issues based on laws and international best practices. In all, it is best to educate and inform rather than ride on sentiments.
  • For us in this part of the country,we have to be selective when it comes to sensitive issues,more especially when it come to abortion and LGBTQ+ because our community is 80% full of religious people…and for us as radio we find it difficult to talk on some of these issues,reason being that…some of our people,more especially the religious ones saw it as taboos,for you to be sitting on air,educating your audience on abortion and LGBTQ…
  • You almost always want to be on the side of the people. Especially since you’re from there too. Sharing the same belief.
  • Some sensitive issues like GBV, sexual and reproductive health, politics we do tackle but with boundaries, but issues to do with LGBTQ are a bit difficult for us to tackle coz like I have already said we are a radio with a religious background and knowing religion and LGBTQ it’s hard to freely talk about it coz its like we will be contradicting the faith. So yea topics of minority rights in as much as they are important we mostly avoid them.
  • No matter how much we would want to talk about abortion and LGBTQ+, the fact that we are sought of religious in nature makes it difficult to air such
  • My organization, as a public entity is allowed to handle and discuss everything except with conflict situation… We are being trained to always do diligent background checks before airing programs seems to be sensitive. LGBTQ is not considered as a sensitive issue at all in my country especially my catchment area. Almost everyone is against. The traditional leaders, the religious leaders and our political leaders are not in support of it.
  • Abortion is somehow sensitive. Because all the churches are against the act of abortion but the 1985, act 8, constitution of Ghana allowed abortion as legal but must be done in government hospitals , registered private hospitals or clinic by qualified midwife or medical practitioner. In the cases of incest, rape, diseases, defilement or fetal abnormality. So getting resource persons like a physician and a lawyer on your program to discuss on this subject will be of good. Female circumcision for the past few years was a sensitive issue in my locality but with resource persons like the physicians with the law in force personnels on our programs, sensitization has gone down to the people and it has stop now. Notwithstanding, getting your resource persons recorded on sensitive issues and aired is the best approach.
  • In Zimbabwe most radios are neither prohibited nor aloud to address freely issues like LGBTQ rights and abortion. There could be programs that may be aired but those things just spoken about in passing like for example; the hospital authorities bemoaning the number of illegal abortions being carried out in communities sometimes with the help of health professionals who usually supply abortion drugs. Abortion itself is illegal in the country and is only permitted in case of rape or when the life of the woman is in danger. Despite that, a lot of illegal abortions happen every year being carried out by health professionals and it seems a new normal. As for LGBTQ rights, the constitution clearly states that they are not allowed to marry. However there is an association for gays and lesbians and it’s very powerful with a lot of members. In the end the state and the LGBTQ community exists in peaceful detachment. There is a tendency here that certain laws are just passive and it should remain like that whilst life continues
  • The issue in my own community (country) is that the LGBTQ are not recognised. So no one speaks for them.
  • It is difficult to address such issues to do with LGBTQ because even as a country and leaders we have not accepted it and opened up to talk about it, in our case the radio would not allow us to broadcast such because of our Christian background, we do talk about various rights that people have and how to go about it but the latter, eish
  • As broadcasters we are indeed the mouthpiece/ the voice of the people in helping to address SRH issues. For me addressing LGBTQ issues will be ideal. But the problem is the community has not accepted this notion fully. They are so rigid. You can broadcast in good faith but our listeners can’t accept it cause the Lgbtq are not accepted in the society.
  • It is not that people will not air issues to do with LGBTQ, but what angle will a Radio station be willing to advance. Everyone has sides on these so called sensitive issues. As someone from Christian background, we will broadcast but then not promote it per say but find areas that will conform with our values. So what is tricky to me is that Radio stations would either lose their audience or even be heavily criticized because our nations do not recognize such a norm. Ethically we would be right with both the government and the audience.
  • As broadcasters even if the government would accept that LGBTQ should be recognized, our stations would still present the same in a negative way. Stations would play victims in this case.
  • But for me the best approach to deal with LGBTQ is to start addressing the matter using already made statistics or research. That will help people to understand what the issue you are presenting is originating. So that they know it is not your opinion but a fact based on research.
  • You have explained it so well, no matter how people might want it to be addressed but the fact remains we are a conservative people who believe it is a taboo for such things to happen and later talk about them openly
  • It’s either conform with the community or be silent unless you are ready to be an outcast.
  • Our station is mandated to tackle sensitive issues but what maters most is to whom we are communicating or presenting the issue
  • Whenever we want to interact with people we need to know the characteristics of our audience in that particular community. We need to get to know their typical religious, cultural, political and moral persuasions. In that way it’s easier to communicate with them even on sensitive matters. Allow them to be ‘experts’ in their own right
  • On LGBTQ - we are operating in a rural Community where some issues are regarded as taboos, immoral and should never be spoken. As a result we are keen to do content that does not create more commotion/conflict and thus we are careful. Lesbianism is one of these,
  • Very true sometimes we broadcaster we put aside others things because of "what will people,friends and family think of me
  • Our main core objective as presenters or producers are / is to educate, inform and to entertain our audience.

Enjoy your weekend!

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My name is Jipson Banda, Nyanthepa Radio Station, Nsanje Malawi.

  1. Audience
    Nyanthepa Community Radio serves an audience of ages from as young as 5 to 80years.

Most of the people are not into the advancement of technology and other aspects that determine/shape the way people socialize.
Most of the people we serve are farmers and SME holders. Most SME are grocery shops,farm produce et cetra

Our audience is very sensitive to new or strange information and would do anything to protect what it holds truth.

  1. Type of organization
    Nyanthepa is a community radio station of geographical interest. It is a not-for-profit organization.

  2. Gathering of sensitive information
    We gather by conducting interviews, observing and public documents.

  3. Mandate
    Our policy does not bar gathering of sensitive information, in fact it promotes coverage of issues such as GBV, gender equality and equity, SRHR and politics.

Some most sensitive issues are barred by editorial judgement (editors perception on whether an issues is worth coverage or not)

The judgement comes in to control immorality, violence et cetera promotion through content.

At one time a certain broadcast was broadcasting content on safe abortion only around midnight and I found some people discussing about it.

And I came in to joke saying, our radio would also wish to broadcast these and the reaction was strong.

They told me that they shall burn the radio the same day we shall air that content.

However, other organizations have ever aired already produced programs on our radio that promoted safe abortion. They used their own personnel as presenters.


Mphangwe Community Radio Station audience is diverse,it is made up of people of all ages with different needs but most of them are farmers despite others being in other fields.

Mphangwe Radio is purely a community Radio Station.

We go in the field to gather information, sometimes we use community journalists and radio champions who usually give us information and we verify.
We also use walk in interviews while others give us information anonymously if it borders on sensitive issues then we go further to investigate.

Our editorial policy allows us to tackle sensitive issues related to gender, GBV, sexual and reproductive health, politics and other issues. But it does not allow us to tackle issues relating to LGBTQ because of the cultural norms and traditional values in the area.


I work with a non profit organization and the audience I serve is composed of Women and men working in Broadcasting, other media, government and Non Governmental Organizations; to reach millions of farmers and other people in rural communities in Uganda.

I mainly gather information on sensitive issues from my audience through interactions have with them through online discussions, individual phone calls, and organized workshops and trainings.

The organization i work with doesn’t limit me on tackling issues to do with gender, GBV, and sexual & reproductive health but politics are one area I don’t venture in because we are not mandated by law and other regulators in Uganda to do political activities.

It is worth noting that LGBT activities and Abortion are illegal in Uganda, so it is not about avoiding them for topics but ensuring one is working with in the laws of the country.


I like idea of doing anonymous interviews for issues considered sensitive…Just that I can add that it is very important to protect the interviewee’s identity even in situations of extreme pressure. Ensure you have a copy of the audio interview and photos where possible which may be vital in ensuring that your organisation or media house protects you in case such protection is needed.

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