Do it yourself!

Building local capacities in audience research for community-oriented radio stations in Eastern Africa

Which programmes are most popular in a women-focused community radio? Among others, the sports programme – followed by male listeners – but none of the women-related content. This was the finding of Mama FM, a women-focused community radio based in Kampala, Uganda, from their first audience research in 15 years on air. The station consequently changed its programme schedule, considered preferred listening times, adapted programme duration, and now conducts group surveys and individual surveys on a regular basis.

Mama FM is among a group of Ugandan radio stations seeking to create awareness on audience research, and enhance respective local capacities. Based on this, CAMECO coordinated training measures for Catholic and secular radio stations in Uganda (2014) and Malawi (2016), which were financially supported by Stem van Afrika (

As a result, programming and personnel were replaced and/or adapted at various stations, and structural changes introduced, such as an in-house research desk.

The same training concept is currently under review for Tanzania, and involves three phases: a theoretical and practical workshop on quantitative and qualitative audience research methods, a three-month distance-monitored and mentored implementation phase, and a follow-up meeting for sharing experiences and next steps.

In October 2017, in view of reacting to further needs, CAMECO supervised a working session in Nairobi, with representatives from Malawi, Uganda and Kenya. Various short and long-term follow-up measures and interventions were identified, addressing the individual station level (policies on audience research), country level (establishment of functional national organisations coordinating community media), and regional level (creating a joint audience research consortium). 

Based on the workshop findings, CAMECO is developing an Audience Research Toolkit and Training of Trainers (ToT) concept.