Assessing sustainability of rural community radio in Kenya case study of radio mangelete
Rural community relies on radio for communication and community radio remains the most accessible medium of communication. Rural community radio is the voice of the unprivileged members of the society. In Kenya community radio stations are growing rapidly and extensively. Through rural community radio, issues affecting the community are addressed by involving community members in the process of change in their lives.The study was on Radio Mangelete a community radio station in Makueni County. Radio Mang‟elete has been in existence for more than ten years however still struggling with sustainability challenges.Although rural community radio aims at developing the society, the station is not reaching out to the entire community due to sustainability challenges that entail: social, institutional and financial.Generally, sustainability is thought of in terms of finance; however this is not the case. Lack of quality management, lack of quality programs, lack of staff with quality skills and lack of clear defined roles are some of the challenges hindering RCR performance.The success of rural community radio must incorporate the three forms of sustainability.A lot is known about community radio as a tool for community development , and also studies on sustainability of community radio focusing only on financial sustainability have been documented, however little is known about social, institutional and financial sustainability of rural community radio stations in Kenya. The qualitative study on Radio Mang‟elete (RM) sustainability reveals that lack of quality management, lack of community involvement, lack of quality programs, unprofessionalism among others are contributing factors towards RCR sustainability.The study was conducted in a natural setting which involved in-depth interviews and FGD‟s. Data was collected and analyzed depending on collected data. Qualitative research focusing on insight and understanding from the perspective of those being studied offers the greatest promise of making a difference in people‟s lives (Merriam2009).In addition Flicks emphasize that qualitative research is about understanding social realities through the interpretation of text by translating reality into text. Based on findings, the study recommends that RCR should improve on financial resources by engaging in financial generating activities. Improve on policies and regulation of rural community radio in Kenya, for instance regulating board of governors. Improve on of rural community radio professionalism, improve on management skills, and training of staff /volunteers should be frequent.