Community media outlets in Malawi have been advised to be innovative by, among others, identifying, embracing and monetizing social media platforms utilized by their target groups.
Media trainers Peter Deselaers of DW Akademie and Levi Katire of Namibia Community Broadcasters Network (NCBN) said this at Mtolankhani House in Lilongwe during a Media Viability Bootcamp for community media managers. The Bootcamp took place from Monday, February 20 to Friday, February 24, 2023.
Katire said community broadcasters have a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube at their disposal and they need to embrace such platforms to enhance the viability of their media outlets.
On his part, Deselaers said social media improves visibility and broadens the customer-base for media outlets.
“Know where your audiences are and follow them. Social media increases your relevance, reach and viability as community media outlets,” Deselaers said.
Media Viability Bootcamp is an interactive training and strategy workshop with focus on the various skills needed by station managers to develop and sustain their community media outlets.
Hands-on tools, peer-to-peer coaching sessions, strategic dialogue and capacity building complement each other in this intense management training.
Some of the topics covered during the bootcamp are institutional governance, editorial policies and content development, business models, portfolio and marketing tools and community engagement.
Anthony Gondwe, Executive Director for Lilongwe-based Maziko Radio said he is ready to initiate change at Maziko.
“Maziko is one of the radio stations that are struggling to settle broadcasting licence fees and I am happy that we were considered for this media management training. I will implement what we have learned during the training. I am positive that we will be able to innovate and survive,” Gondwe said.
Jean Chilombo, Station Manager for Chisomo Community Radio in Salima, said the training was intense and important for every community radio station manager.
“Before coming here, I had capacity gaps in many areas of community radio station management, more especially on branding, management and leadership, but I am now more prepared to improve Chisomo Community Radio brand. I am also able to appreciate how networking can help our radio station develop more partners for sustainability of our business,” Chilombo said.
Nyanthepa Community Radio Station Manager, David Guta, said the topics covered at the bootcamp were practical and relevant to the financial and overall management challenges of many community media outlets in Malawi.
Father Norbert Kashaija of Catholic-owned Luntha Television said he was happy to be considered for the training.
“I now understand how the legal environment is shaping the media landscape in Malawi. We have both good and bad laws affecting the media. Survival of media outlets in Malawi requires more than good institutional policies and procedures as there are other external factors affecting media operations, including laws that are not friendly. An awareness of these laws is very important for us as station managers,” Father Kashaija said.
MISA Malawi organized the bootcamp in partnership with DW Akademie, Germany’s leading organization for media development.