This past weekend I was invited to Limpopo to head up management training for the MCRS FM team.
As per the MCRS FM mission statement:
Moutse Community Radio Station (MCRS) was founded by members of the Rural Women’s Movement (RWM), a national organisation in South Africa, which lobbies around issues of concern to rural women. Rural Women’s Movement (RWM) changed it’s name to National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW).
The station operates with a board of trustees who set the overall vision and perspective, four management staff members who coordinate the training, administration, technical and programming departments, and 41 volunteer staff members who work as radio announcers or presenters (30 full-time and 11 part-time). Moutse Community Radio is a member of the National Community Radio Forum.
Our Current listener-ship is at 102 000 and we are aiming to reach more than 300 000 in the next three years.
MCRS broadcasts from studios located on R573 Waalkraal, on 96.3MHz in the FM band in Moutse in the local Municipality of Elias Motsoaledi and Sekhukhune District in Limpopo.
Moutse Community Radio broadcast area covers Limpopo and Mpumalanga, Nkangala District, Sekhukhune District and other parts of Polokwane and Pretoria. The radio station also has audio streaming whereby people tune via internet. We can be reached on 96.3fm in the most municipalities in both Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
It is a non-profit organisation, run by dedicated team of volunteering staff who receives stipend at the end of each month.
MCRS commenced operation in 1997, with a small band of volunteers broadcasting a limited range of programs from an old Department of Agriculture building. 10 years later, it transferred to its current location in Waalkraal provided by Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality.
The workshop included leadership training that included rich discussions surrounding community radio presence, sales and marketing strategies, managing departmental teams, risk management, and listener profiling.
A couple of lessons learnt:
- Community support is bigger than we give it credit for in broadcasting. The Limpopo audience is aggressively loyal to MCRS FM. As any community station, your mandate is to always put the community first. Conversations and content that are deeply involved in the feeder area’s workforce, daily obstacles, education, religion and well being is a first in servicing them patriotically with your platform.
- Loyalty is gold. If they make you their P1 choice without any other alternatives, then you are taking first place as a lifestyle in their daily needs.
- Management synergy is mandatory. So is station ethos and culture. To lead a team within your brand and purpose, one cannot lead with chaos and altercation. A mission and vision statement that is lived by a station’s management team as a second skin, will instill a second nature of success in their teams and product.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of selling station promotions as opposed to floundering isolated ad spots in community radio. Where a client stakeholder will more than likely not have the inclination for cashing out on produced spots, they can see value in a solidified presence that is achieved through on air promotions with longer lifespans and heavier listener impact.
- Corporate culture is key. Don’t let your employees lead you, lead your employees.
- Community stations are not abstained from structure. Formats, business processes, and company regulations make outputs easier to reach, and more likely to achieve success in.
- Report writing and business writing skills are non-negotiable in a corporate culture. Take some time to recondition the way your station communicates.