In-station training boosts broadcasters’ confidence on air and in their community

Rashid Muzungyo, left, is the presenter and producer on Kapchorwa Trinity Radio’s farmer program.

Kapchorwa Trinity Radio is a small rural radio station in Kapchorwa, near the eastern border of Uganda. Due to its popularity and reliability, the radio station was chosen to be our partner in the “Radio and ICT to promote landscape reforestation” project. Kapchorwa Trinity Radio’s program “Our Land, Our Wealth,” airs Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

Like all our projects, Kapchorwa Trinity Radio’s staff received in-station training at the beginning of the project, which the broadcasters say has helped them to improve the quality of their programming. This training emphasized the value of sharing the voices, experiences and opinions of their farming audience, particularly the value of including women farmers on their programs.

“Before we would do it yet we would sometimes omit it, but now [because of the training] we can’t miss it,” recalls Rashid Muzungyo who doubled as a presenter and producer for the show.

The in-station training covered technical aspects of broadcasting, such as keeping a run-sheet to plan the program. It also covered a variety of ways for broadcasters to engage with farmers, including phone-ins and field interviews. “The training reminded of our professional way of handling our programs,” said Rashid. “We are cautious of the time of the program and the way the program is run. We don’t want to disappoint the farmers when they are ready to listen.”

The training also emphasized the importance of including the voices and opinions of men and women farmers. This is a lesson the broadcasters at Kapchorwa Trinity Radio are continuing to implement. This is because the broadcasters have learned that women make up nearly half of their listeners.

“We are now cautious of gender inclusivity in the farmer’s program. We now record female farmer voices yet we never used to be bothered before,” said Rashid.

Support from Farm Radio International continues long after the in-station training. FRI’s radio officers remain in contact with the station for the duration of the project to monitor the programs, ensuring quality and interactivity remains, and helping broadcasters to resolve any problems they face.

Not only have the broadcasters at Kapchorwa Trinity Radio gained confidence in their skills, integrating lessons from the training into other programs, they have also felt appreciated as broadcaster while moving in the community.

While a huge grin spread on his face, Rashid said “I feel valued as a broadcaster, I feel as though people are interested in our work.”

Listen to an interview (above) between FRI’s Senior Programming Officer Karen Hampson and Kapchorwa Trinity Radio’s presenter and producer, Rashid Muzungyo, and station manager Martin Mangusho.

Karen: I’m here with Rashid and Martin. I just wanted to hear a bit about the in-station training, if you can describe what happened.

Martin Mangusho: What happened at the in-station training is that the in-station training took place at the radio station. Our trainer asked us what we are doing currently at the radio station. And I think out of that he was able to see areas we are not doing and the day after he came and started the in-station training. The areas we were handling we were give a refresher on that. In in-station, we learned a lot on improving our programming as a station, in particular the farmers programming. He took us through some key aspects we were no supposed to forget in the farmer program. Like mentioning the name, title of the station and the timing of the program. So, it was really good and we liked the in-station training. It really improved our program.

Rashid Muzungyo: In terms of coverage, I remember we had a refresher on issues relating to interviewing, the geography of where you have to conduct your interview, consulting before you conduct the interview. There were issues relating to editing our programs using the [editing] program for editing. And above all what was emphasized was valuing farmers in all our programs, it is important their voices are heard because they are the key listeners of their program, from that time. Before we would do it, but sometime we would omit it. We now know in all our programs, we don’t do them without the farmers. That one has now encouraged our listeners. Outside there [in the community], people are even reminding us. “Why have you not come to our area, you have only been to Kapsinda, Sanzara, Benet, what about us?”

For me, now as a broadcaster, I feel so valued. The training that we got, we are now using what was packaged to us to implement on the programs at our station. Now on our next Helas programs, we are going to prepare them the same way we have been doing the farm radio program.

Besides that, the planning. There’s a lot in planning. Before you run in the studio, you must have a run-down sheet, the way that program will run — the timing, what do you have to put in. It’s not just getting to the studio with an open line. You have to go with something, with a guide. That one has reminded us of the professional way of handling of our programs now, which is very good. On that I have to say, Farm Radio thank you of much for including us in that one. In order to ensure we improve on, maybe you will continue to follow up to ensure we have refresher training for our station.

Karen: Have your programs changed a lot since you did the training and since you did the project with Farm Radio?

Martin Mangusho: Yes the program has really changed a lot. In the early ones we used to do, even when the women farmer call or she doesn’t call, it wasn’t something that important for us. Through this training, we were able to learn the majority of people who listen to the farming program, women are also included. So through this training, we were able to record also women’s voices and bring them on board. And we found it was something we had left out. We were doing a program, after one hour you said you had done a program, but you don’t ever yourself listen. Through this training, and also the weekly reports that come to us, helped us. That was something that was never there. There were no audits to our program.

Rashid Muzungyo: Wherever we are, we are conscious about the timing of the program. Every Wednesday you are conscious what you must do, present things in the right manner as planned. You don’t want to let down our other stakeholders as we have planned together. What the farmers know that every Wednesday and Saturday between 8 and 9 p.m. we have a program. So wherever we are, we are always conscious about getting back to the station at least before some 2-3 hours in advance so that we prepare ourselves for our programs.

Our projects include in-station training, as well as regular monitoring of the quality of the programs by our radio officers. This ensures broadcasters to receive regular feedback on how they can continue to improve their broadcast.

Kapchorwa Trinity Radio has wrapped up the 24-week participatory agriculture radio series on landscape reforestation called Our land Our Wealth, but the lessons gained from their partnership with FRI will hopefully ensure Kapchorwa Trinity Radio continues to air quality programming that can benefit the farmers in their broadcast area.

The “Radio and ICT to promote landscape reforestation” project, supported by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, aimed to reach farmers in the districts of Kapchorwa and Kween in Eastern Uganda with information about the benefits of planting trees and grasses, as well as how to increase yield with soil and water conservation.

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