Every time I heard people talk about a community radio station, I always imagined it being a place airing local music, news and death announcements.
I always thought that the station equipment was so outdated and possibly consisting of a megaphone. Recently, I realized that community radios were just like urban-based radio station despite of their main objective being to preserve and promote community‘s culture beliefs, norms and values through informative, educative and entertainment programs.
Culture involves a lot of things; it basically entails the way of life of the society such as eating habits, etiquette and beliefs. If one needs to learn the local language and customs of a community such as knowing the right intonation and correct pronunciation of words, they should tune in to community radios for that specific knowledge.
A week ago while in Karongi, I listened to Isangano Radio, which is the community Radio station of Karongi District. It gave me the real feel of how community radio stations impact society most especially in cultural related matters.
Listening to cultural oriented interactive radio show made me feel like as if I was in a lecture room. I learnt a lot without having to pay anything for that kind of knowledge attained.
I don’t want to sound like urban based radio stations are doing nothing regarding instilling local culture, but they are mainly airing more western cultural content than the indigenous cultural traits. Besides promoting music of the local pop and Hip Hop Rwandans artists, it’s only on rare occasions that the urban radio stations play traditional Rwandan music.
Its thrilling listening to how my six-year-old nephew sings along to Kizito Mihigo’s ‘Agaciro’ song because it’s played on radio stations all over Rwanda all the time. If a six –year – old can learn the lyric of the song just like that, this extremely reveals the impact of radio on society. I even think if one would tune in to two local radio stations, it would sound like the ‘Agaciro’ song is played back to back.
Therefore, radio station should greatly promote and preserve the Rwanda culture although we also need to learn other cultures for diversity reasons.