Week Two: What is interactive radio?

Hello all

I am happy with the points people are raising here. Indeed it shows one way or the other people have an understanding of what interactive radio is.

The second part of the task asks us to share a program we know of or a program we are involved in that has features of interactive radio. I would like to hear about that as well in your contributions.


Can you share with us your program’s facebook page?

Hello all,

Interactive radio means involving the listeners in programming e.g using their voices, getting feedback and using it to improve the programme

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/143kasa

Program website: www.143concepts.com

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@obolo - This is great. I have liked your facebook page. You have a big audience online. How are you feeding back to the radio program what people are saying on facebook?

@Kassim - What I do is, during the program I read out people’s comment and questions on air. I am actively online during the program so not to leave anyone unattended to.


Yes please,for me even what am doing now as a campaign to creat awareness is by moving out with the district officials say like those of environment and other leaders sensitizing farmers and the entire public about the effects of poor climatic changes and these are the best people to provide the most up-to-date information on climatic changes for my listener but also without forgetting the farmer’s observations on such changes they relate from the current situation and the past.On this idea am working on some voices got from the field

Great indeed! I like the fact that there are many ways to interact with the program. My question Obolo is, do you get enough time to read comments and questions from all platforms? How do you manage? What happens if you cannot read all, does it affect your listeners in anyway?

@Busi_Ngcebetsha - Thanks very much for liking my program’s facebook fan page :joy: My program is an hour and 30 minutes. Though it is a herculean task trying to read all the comments and questions, what I do to compensate my listeners is to give them mentions. That is just mentioning their names and their location and apologising for not reading their messages due to time. But questions are attended to even after the program.

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I would also like to share my understanding of interactive radio and experiences.

Radio is considered interactive when it allows for people’s voices to be heard. It gives ordinary people a chance to participate in discussions about things that matter to them. Interactive radio usually attracts more audience because listeners enjoy hearing other people’s views on the matter and even start participating themselves. Interactive radio is mostly for programs like talk shows and educational radio. This is where listeners can be invited to ask questions, comment or share their own experience on the topic of the day. Preparation is important as it determines the success of the interactive radio program. The presenter needs to be informed about the topic, promote it enough for people to look forward to it and be accommodative of listener responses.

There are different ways listeners may participate in the program, through sending text messages, calling in, or using social media – facebook, twitter, etc. I would like to share two examples of my radio experience and challenge you to decide if those are examples of interactive radio.

Example 1 - English in Action radio program

In South Africa there was a program that used radio to teach basic English to grade 1 and 2 pupils. The organisation that started the program would prerecord different episodes and prepare a workbook that goes with it. There was a new episode for each day of the week. The English in Action program was featured in my radio slot when I used to present. They even asked me to introduce it to primary schools in the province. Through the education department, I was invited to a teacher’s meeting to introduce the English in Action program. Schools were sponsored with windup radios so they could tune in to the radio at the time of broadcast. The teacher would use the workbook for the day’s activities and send a feedback form that reflected on how the lesson went and what the pupils struggled with. The English in Action team would use the feedback in moving forward. Would you consider this interactive radio?


1.English in Action team provided participating schools with wind-up radios to make it easy for teachers to tune in.

2.The program was also supported by the department of education and that made it easy for teachers to comply with instructions.

3.The program was featured in a woman’s magazine slot. It did not only reach the target audience of grades 1 and 2 pupils but it also reached mostly women at home. We would get calls from women at home showing appreciation. Some would even ask for copies of the program as they say they are learning and gaining confidence in speaking English.

4.The program was very simple and it was easy to understand instructions. Anyone was able to use it.

5.Feedback from teachers was channeled through the department of education office.

6.English in Action team would use the feedback to refine the following year’s production if needed.


1.The program was designed for school children and only played at a certain time of day. There were no repeats. If for some reason teachers were not ready on time, they would miss all or part of the broadcast.

2.The lessons were too long, each episode was one hour long.

Example 2 - Community Learning Programs

I worked for an NGO that was training community radio stations on producing radio programs. These were different stations in different communities and content depended on what was identified by that specific community. They had weekly programs. The production team would promote the radio program on social media using facebook. They would introduce the topic and invite comments or questions for the program. Sometimes the stations would even play teasers with clips of pre-recorded vox pops and interviews so that listeners were encouraged not to miss the program. Each community had different listener groups, groups of the target audience that would meet up and listen to the program together. The programs were presented live and would use pre-recorded materials. Listeners would be encouraged to interact live using sms, facebook or phone call. The listener groups were also participating by asking questions or sharing experiences live. They would also provide feedback on the overall program.


  1. The radio production team involved the community or target audience from the onset. They would have sessions to brainstorm issues of concern on a particular topic. They used a method we called Community learning Program, where they list issues of concern, challenges faced, consequences of those challenges, suggested solutions and what would be the benefits of those suggested solution. That information alone equipped the production team on how to go about producing the program.

  2. The feedback from listener groups helped improve the quality of radio programs

  3. Questions from listeners to subject experts allowed for provision of more information so listeners learned more

  4. Listenership figures went up

  5. Some radio stations reported an increase in revenue, they managed to sell the program spot to potential advertisers


  1. Sometimes it was difficult to have a dedicated listener group that met every week

  2. Depending on what the topic is, when it is time to ask questions, some listeners did not want to be the first to comment or ask question, they always waited for someone to break the ice before contributing

  3. For stations that worked with pre-recorded programs, some listeners were left out from contributing as whatever comments they wrote on social media would not be read.

To my understanding an interactive radio means the communication between a presenter and his or her audience to get different views on a topic so as to reach to a certain point that will benefit the audience and a society as a whole.It involves getting feedback from the audience and giving the views as they are without judging or ommiting anything.For example in my agricultural program we hear from farmers what they do everyday in their activities,ask them to be free to express their opinions if things are not ok and when airing the program we get feedback from them to .Farmers have also the right to bring up a topic which needs special attention and they are encouraged to help others with relevant information through the program.

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Interactive radio programme is a situation where the views of listeners are aired using radio. It involves giving listeners opportunity to participate in discussions on issues that affect them within their localities.The programme involves recording voices from the field, phones, sms,Facebook etc.
Listeners feel valued jsut as in the Forest Land Restoration programme ran by Kapchorwa Trinity Radio with support from Farm Radio International and the World Conservation Union-IUCN
Rashid Kapchorwa Trinity Radio-(KTR)

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Hello all,

I would like to share Meli Rostand’s understanding and experience with interactive radio. He is in Cameroon and is moderating the French side of this discussion.

By Meli Rostand
"In my opinion, interactivity is a key component of a radio program. Any broadcast on any subject, targets an audience and that audience should be able to react, either to acknowledge receipt of the message, seek clarifications or give complementary information. At the center of these interweaving signals is the broadcaster whose duty is to ensure some balance in all on-air discussions.

Radio programs can share information that can help people living in rural areas improve their quality of life. In order for radio to be interactive the broadcaster plays a vital role. If a broadcaster is committed, interactivity can be achieved even without adequate funding or equipment. That’s not to say that station management’s support is not necessary they should provide the facilities and whatever encouragement they can.

When I worked for Radio Batcham, a local station with a 100 km broadcast range in the West region of Cameroon from 2000 to 2011, I had to fight hard to instill interaction in my programs. In the early 2000s, mobile phone technology was new and a luxury. Only those with good incomes could afford a mobile phone. Social media wasn’t available then. I had to struggle through poor roads on a motorbike and at times on foot, through dust in the dry season and mud in the rainy season to reach people in distant communities. I did this to cover news making events, obtain listeners’ feedback on previous broadcasts and do field recordings.

I recall my visit in 2010 to a village called ‘Maparé,’ located in the Noun division, some 50 kilometers away from my station. This remote village of a thousand inhabitants, primarily farmers, was facing hardship due to the inexistence of a local market and very poor roads. Tons of dried cassava and fresh potatoes were awaiting potential buyers in the community store. Having previously informed a local farmer of my visit, a delegation, including the village chief, greeted me on arrival. I learned later that day that I was the first journalist to visit the community. I was already known in the village, because my station’s signal covered the area. While there I recorded two shows of 30 minutes each. One during a meeting with the villagers in a classroom and the other during a walk through farms. Both shows were aired during the same week and a few days later, the leader of the farmers’ association of that village called me, joyfully informing me that the Subdivisional Officer had signed a decision creating a market in the village.

This experience demonstrates that by giving voice to people who aren’t normally heard, interactive radio can bring about positive change.

Thanks to my determination combined with my passion for radio, I succeeded in establishing a trusted relationship with listeners and other resource persons. This relationship was further strengthened with the mass penetration of mobile phone and subsequent introduction of social media. With the android phone, instantaneous communication with multiple audio-visual options (Facebook, Whatsapp, imo etc.), have integrated habits even in the most remote communities that are covered by mobile networks. Broadcasters can seize this opportunity presented by low cost new information and communication technologies to promote interactive radio".

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I understand Interactive Radio as the platform for both sender (presenter/producer) and receiver (audience) to interact,send message and get feed back thereby providing continuity as well as solutions to topical discussions.this can be be instant feed back or delayed as well as it addresses challenges and fulfills objectives.
I will give an example of a program we host at our radio called TIKAMBIRANE meaning (LET US DISCUSS) where a topic is raised either through feedback on previous edition or an emerging issue. A trailer for the program runs for some days prior to the day of broadcast to allow listener to contribute on the topic and this gives the producer a picture on how to handle the program and what kind of panelists should be invited. On the day of broadcast listeners talk directly to the panelists either by asking or commenting.In this way i think this program is interactive because it merges both the radio and audience.

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But Busi was it possible for all listeners to know how to use the facilities that provided social network eg face book?

@Sakina_Abiti_Majawa there is no way one can reach all people on one platform. For instance there will be those who just comfortable with sending sms, others will not even be comfortable calling for different reasons and definitely, not everyone is on facebook. Normally one gets to identify listeners that normally interact with what communication tool.

Thank you for sharing your understanding and experience. I agree talk shows are mostly interactive as listeners are always given an opportunity to interact. marketing it ahead of time helps in raising interest on listeners. The listeners may either be interested in hearing more about the topic and some would want to participate. A few questions for your program, do you only allow phone calls? How else do listeners interact with the panellists? Approximately how many callers would you get per program? I am also interested in gender breakdown of people interacting with the program even though we will not get deeper into that at this point.

@Busi_Ngcebetsha - How were you measuring feedback from the target audience specifically (which was grade 1 and 2 pupils)?

The reason I am asking this is because from your script, I can tell teachers and women benefitted more. How was the target audience benefitting?

I love the before and after scenario. Thanks very much :slight_smile:

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The target audience were grade 1 and 2 pupils. The program helped these grades’ teachers to do their job better. Teachers would provide feedback to the English in Action team not to us at the radio station. The department of Education in the province was also impressed with the progress

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Honestly speaking, I feel so great being part of this year’s e-Course. I salute all those who took part in organising it. i say bravo!

    Now let’s look at the assignment of the week: What is interactive radio? If we have to look up the meaning of “Interactive” according to some dictionaries, I can say that “Interactive” means “Acting with each other” or “Two or more systems interacting”. They can also be responding to each other. If this definition is right, then I can define Interactive radio as a radio production technique in which a radio programme is presented with full participation of audience. In this technique, issues under discussion are being looked at by the host/presenter, expert and audience or participants. The three (3) groups (Host, Expert and Audience) interact with each other. In this case, you find ideas springing out of the groups members and that moves on the discussion. One advantage of interactive radio is that ideas on a topic do not flow from one direction, but rather move to and fro. With this, understanding is consolidated at the end of the programme and target audience don’t need much time to ask questions for clarification as explanations are inclusive in the discussion.
    It is instructive to note that, interactive radio can be done through phone calls, SMS messages, and the social media.

    A very good example I can provide is our pests infestation on cowpea campaign programme that we carried out last year. In order to make the programme interactive, we made sure that the necessary tools were used, which included phone calls, text messages, beep-to-vote.

However, I went through all the takes of other participants as you have instructed.
Thank you.