Category: about

About us

This site is maintained by Sam Coley, Senior Lecturer and Radio Degree Leader at Birmingham City University, U.K.

The University has a strong focus on radio studies as part of its Media and Communication Degree. The course features modules which specialise in radio programming, radio drama, commercial production, live radio, and broadcast journalism for radio. Some of these modules explore aspects of developmental radio, which is an area the University is particularly interested in exploring further. A series of MA’s are set to begin in Sept. 2010 – which will focus on Radio for Development as well as modules in International Radio / Radio Production and Radio Programming. For further details please contact Sam at;

About Sam Coley

Sam has a background in both the U.K. and New Zealand radio industries as a commercial producer, freelance documentary maker and Creative Director for The Radio Network, the Southern hemisphere’s largest radio advertising department.

In 2006 he spent six weeks based in Addis Ababa as an executive consultant to the BBC World Service Trust. This involved working on the Trust’s two year radio project to develop programmes and commercial “spot” campaigns designed to promote sexual health and reproduction awareness for young Ethiopians. This initial visit was followed up in 2008 to assess the scheme and carry out production for Aid agency CARE International.

Sam has worked as an online-radio tutor for the BBC “Blast” project ( a forum that aims to inspire and motivate young people to develop their creative talents. He is also a workshop tutor for the “Aimhigher” programme ( A U.K. initiative designed to encourage students from disadvantaged areas to participate in higher education by raising their aspirations.

He is currently researching the uses of radio as an educational tool and is especially interested in the application of “western” style commercial production techniques to deliver health related messages across developing nations.

For information regarding Sam’s other radio production work – visit;

For indepth radio training info, visit:


Welcome to Birmingham City University’s on-line resource for development radio. My name is Sam Coley, Degree Leader in Radio at BCU. I have a particular interest in the educational use of radio and especially its application in developing countries. This site provides information and original content regarding the use of radio as an educational tool as well as specific examples of innovative radio projects from around the world.

Radio is still an incredibly powerful medium for change in developing nations. It manages to reach vast audiences who live in regions where there is little internet or phone access and in many cases no electricity. There are many exciting new communication technologies being harnessed by NGO’s, aid agencies and Governments such as; satellite radio, podcasting, cellular technology and on-line radio. But so far – none have surpassed the simplicity and sheer effectiveness of traditional radio.

Radio’s primary strength is that it remains a truly ubiquitous medium. There are an estimated 800 million radios in developing regions across the world, making it the ideal medium for delivering important educational concepts to listeners who are often illiterate. These messages are distributed through the use of radio dramas, documentaries, phone-in talk shows, on-air debates and the use of short educational commercials – or “spots” as they are sometimes known.

There are, of course, many existing websites run by respected worldwide organisations that are already providing in-depth information and research into this growing area of broadcasting (see “links” for my recommended choices). However, this resource aims to gather together many of the different views and ideas from experts working in the field into a single repository of audio clips, video footage, photos and other related information. Hopefully the opinions found on this site will be of interest to those already involved in development radio, while at the same time offering a basic introduction for anyone curious about this valuable form of radio.

The website features many examples taken from my own experiences as an executive consultant for the BBC World Service Trust, as well as several interviews conducted as part of my research into the use of radio as an educational tool.

Finally, thanks to all the talented radio practitioners who kindly gave their permission to be included in this project.