Cape Town — August 2019 marks 24 years of legal broadcasting by Africa's oldest community radio station project, Bush Radio, but all is not well in the community media sector.
This is an extract of the letter:
Year after year the sector attends "engagements" with the DoC, GCIS and the MDDA. Every year we regurgitate the same challenges and propose the same solutions. Every year the government and its agencies promise to address the issues and then nothing is done.
This year is different. The community media sector is on the verge of collapse with an estimated collective debt sitting at around R180 million. This is made up largely of debts to SAMRO & CARPASSO, SENTECH, SARS and rental.
As we speak stations are being served eviction notices from their premises, retrenching staff and getting deeper into debt.
It makes no difference whether the MDDA (Media Development and Diversity Agency) and GCIS (Govt Communication and Information System) report to the DoC (Dept of Communications) or to the Presidency, as long as something gets done.
The sector simply cannot be allowed to fail.
Bush Radio's Managing Director Brenda Leonard has been at the forefront of the battle for the sector to be heard, and has been keeping the Cape Town community radio station afloat with the help of programme integrator Adrian Louw, night manager Bassie Montewa and news co-ordinator Jasmine Mazwi.
"Always cutting edge, Bush Radio explores issues in an insightful and meaningful way, giving the people of Cape Town access to media that highlights their voices – through music, entertainment, social upliftment and getting hands-on media training.
"As an incubator for new media talent, Bush Radio has trained many young people from the Cape Flats and beyond who have now moved on into the media industry and beyond, also helping to build young start-ups and artists," Louw said.
Even though Bush Radio and the national community media sector is engaging on various levels, including with the government, to find a solution, the station has decided to approach listeners and supporters in a crowdfunding campaign to pay their fees to their broadcast distributor Sentech, royalties for the South African Music Rights Organisation and staff salaries.
"Your contribution will go towards ensuring that young people have a place where they can get access to quality media training and experience and that Cape Town's communities continue to actively contribute to discussions around the issues affecting them," Louw said.
To make your donation to Bush Radio, go to https://www.givengain.com/cc/bushradio