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.

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