Single title

The future of radio in South Africa

Innovation and Trends

The following research by Sarah Beham explores the current trends and innovations in the South African radio landscape, the challenges facing radio stations and how they are adapting. It also considers the role of language, local content as well as the tradition of storytelling.

Radio is still the most important source of information in South Africa. With the move towards the digital world, however, radio is changing. Although the cost of mobile data is still very high compared to other countries and not all South Africans have mobile phones and access to the internet, a change can be seen and felt. Radio stations are getting ready for this change, increasingly offering podcasts and online radio and building their radio stations into diverse businesses. Radio alone no longer brings in the money – video, travel packages and other events are offered in order to be financially secure and competitive.

But the most valuable currency in South Africa's radio landscape of the 21st century is user data. This provides the radio stations with personal information about their listeners, which they in turn need for the acquisition of new advertising partners. The trend in 2018 is clear: data is needed for the creation and placement of tailor-made and precisely appropriate advertising, as well as for the production of relevant content for the target group.

With all the new technology and the implementation of new software programs, however, radio stations plead for a return to the core functions of journalism, which must also be oriented to the wishes and needs of the listeners.

The following research by Sarah Beham explores the current trends and innovations in the South African radio landscape, the challenges facing radio stations and how they are adapting. It also considers the role of language, local content as well as the tradition of storytelling.

Contact Person

Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

Director Media Programme Subsahara Africa

christoph.plate@kas.de +27 11 214 29 00 +27 11 214 2913