In Africa, radio remains the principal source of information and entertainment for hundreds of millions of people. One reason is the immense number of languages spoken across the continent. This means that setting up TV stations to serve multiple languages in a single country is often not cost-effective.
For many years, international broadcasters have worked with local stations to develop rebroadcasting deals, or have established their own local FM relays. It is not always easy, however, as major broadcasters like BBC World Service have found recently. Its services have been forced off the air in Somalia and in Sudan. But the good news is that the BBC Somali-language programmes are back on the air in Mogadishu via the Shabelle Media Network, following a ban imposed by Al-shabab fighters. However in north Sudan BBC Arabic has now been halted by the Sudanese government.
China has also entered into more deals to acquire resources in Africa. In 2006, China Radio International launched an FM relay in Nairobi. Now it has added an FM relay in Niger. The station launched on 14 August in a ceremony attended by Niger ministers. Niger has suffered from a coup this year and strikes at Chinese-operated factories in the country. CRI’s development of FM relays remains somewhat haphazard with relatively few relays of its international radio service or indeed of its various international TV channels.
Source: Association of International Broadcasting