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Universität Bayreuth (2018)

Kenyan Community Radio : Players, Production Processes and Participation

Kimani, Rose Nyakio

Titre : Kenyan Community Radio : Players, Production Processes and Participation

Auteur : Kimani, Rose Nyakio

Université de soutenance : Universität Bayreuth

Grade : Doctoral thesis, 2018

Community broadcasting is known as the third tier of broadcasting, occupying the space between commercial and state broadcasters. In Kenya, this sector has been active only since 2004. Despite its recognised value in other contexts across the globe, community broadcasting is still struggling to find footing in the Kenyan media landscape, and there is a paucity of research on how this sector actually operates – its structures, content and audiences. This work therefore explores the roles and relevance of community radio in the vibrant Kenyan media landscape. Using a complementary mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, three community radio stations with different social contexts, funding and management structures were investigated. The research focused on the ideas and actors behind community radio, its funding and management structures, content, content production processes, listenership patterns and participation practices. Brought to light was that this sector navigates legislation and funding challenges, and juggles between global and local ideals about community broadcasting, most distinct of which are democracy and development. The local, the national and the global inform the ideas under which Kenyan community broadcasting operates, and these ideas are interpreted differently in each context. Communities interact with each of the stations based on their particular local contexts. Not only do they listen to community broadcasters according to specific daily rhythms, but they also mobilise themselves into social formations – most often fan groups and clubs – as a way of collective participation in the life of the station. Contrary to much radio audience research, this work shows that listenership is a distinct activity and participation in and through the media is not only an individual endeavour, but a collective undertaking drawing on pre-existent social solidarities. Community radio content addresses its listeners as different kinds of communities and publics at specific times of the day, and they respond accordingly. As well, there is content transformation across diverse media platforms, which may be a step towards new genres. Despite working within different and hybrid journalistic cultures, the producers play similar roles to their communities across the three contexts including mediation, mobilisation, space-creation, information and entertainment. Of these roles, mobilisation is a strength of community radio. The research reveals the intertwined nature of state, media and audience relationships, and argues for the fact that there are no homogenous audiences even at a micro-level, and that the affective and democratic functions of media participation are intricately linked to each other.

Mots clés  : Community radio ; participation ; Kenya ; radio ; audiences ; broadcasting ; Koch FM ; Kangema FM ; Mugambo FM ; media ; media policy ; community ; development ; legislation ; fan clubs ; youth ; content ; politics ; mixed methods


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