Radio, Public Life and Citizen Deliberation in South Africa  book cover
1st Edition

Radio, Public Life and Citizen Deliberation in South Africa

ISBN 9780367436339
Published May 25, 2021 by Routledge
304 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book critically analyses the important role of radio in public life in post-apartheid South Africa.

As the most widespread and popular form of communication in the country, radio occupies an essential space in the deliberation and the construction of public opinion in South Africa. From just a few state-controlled stations during the apartheid era, there are now more than 100 radio stations, reaching vast swathes of the population and providing an important space for citizens to air their views and take part in significant socio-economic and political issues of the country. The various contributors to this book demonstrate that whilst print and television media often serve elite interests and audiences, the low cost and flexibility of radio has helped it to create a ‘common’ space for national dialogue and deliberation. The book also investigates the ways in which digital technologies have enhanced the consumption of radio and produced a sense of imagined community for citizens, including those in marginalised communities and rural areas.

This book will be of interest to researchers with an interest in media, politics and culture in South Africa specifically, as well as those with an interest in broadcast media more generally.

Table of Contents

Introduction: From Subject to Citizen: Building active citizenship through radio in South Africa by Sarah Chiumbu & Gilbert Motsaathebe

Part 1: Participation and Citizen Deliberation

Chapter 1: The Imaginary Turns Real: A Review of South African Radio Listeners with Reference to Ukhozi FM by Dumisani Sibiya and Innocentia Mhlambi

Chapter 2: A Habermasian Critique of the Democratic Functions of the Open-Line Programme on Radio 702 by Allen Munoriyarwa

Chapter 3: Deconstructing the Participation of Rural Dwellers in a Community Radio Station: A Participatory Development Communication Approach to a Radio Station in the North West Province, South Africa by Tshepang Molale, Akintayo Ogunsanya, Precious Leketanyane, and Moses Asak

Part 2: Identity, Religion and Culture

Chapter 4: Translocal and Liminal Identities: Reconfiguring Religious Community Radio in South Africa by Sarah Chiumbu and Gilbert Motsaathebe

Chapter 5: The Tale of Two South African Muslim Radio Stations: Airing their Views, Reinforcing Their Identities by Muhammed Haron

Chapter 6: ‘Can’t They See They Are Being Manipulated?!’ Miracle-Prophets and Secular South African Radio by Maria Frahm-Arp

Chapter 7: ‘Communities’ of the Air: Reflecting on the Role of Community Radio and Religion in South Africa by Siyasanga M. Tyali

Chapter 8: Catholic Radio and Its Importance in South Africa– A Case Study of Radio Veritas by Stanley Karombo and Freeborn Kibombwe

Part 3: Radio and Digital Technologies

Chapter 9: [email protected] in South Africa – An Exploratory Study by Hendrik Baird and Franz Krüger

Chapter 10: Radio and Digital Convergence in South Africa by Karabo Sitto and Elizabeth Lubinga

Chapter 11: Selling Radio for Charity: How Convergence Affects Non-Profit Promotion by Irina Turner

Chapter 12: Networked audiences and the politics of participation in commercial music radio in South Africa by Michael Smurthwaite and Lyton Ncube

Part 4: Political Economy

Chapter 13: In whose interest is it anyway?An analysis of the content, discourse and programming strategies of South African business radio shows by Sisanda Nkoala and Trust Matsilele

Chapter 14: Implications of Gatekeeping and the Illusion of Multiple Voices on Talk Radio by Gilbert Motsaathebe and Stanley Tsarwe

Chapter 15: Radio and Everyday Financial Ritual in South Africa by Luna Bergh


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Sarah Chiumbu is Associate Professor and Head of School in the School of Communication, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her research interests include media, democracy and citizenship, digital and alternative media, African political and decolonial thought.

Gilbert Motsaathebe is an associate professor of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg. His research interest oscillates on media, gender and representation, television journalism, journalism education and practice, post-apartheid films, African language media, decolonisation and the African Renaissance nexus.