A radio dj working in one of the studios at the Wits Radio Academy/Voice of Wits FM.

The Wits Radio Academy was awarded the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa grant to advance business journalism and market transparency.

Wits Radio Academy will use their grant to build the capacity of community radio stations to produce and disseminate informative, objective content that helps improve the quality of independent broadcasting. The Academy will also develop new ways of using radio to improve the public’s access to information.

Bloomberg and the Ford Foundation awarded grants to ten non-governmental organizations across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to advance market transparency, and enhance access to information about business and finance, policies and practices that impact inclusive economic growth and human development.

Lerato Makate

Executive Producer of Wits Radio Academy Lerato Makate said the grant will go a long way in responding to challenges in the community radio sector, which have grown in the last few years, but still plagued by skills shortages and lack of sustainable funding among other issues.

“This initiative by the Community Media Fund will enable the roll out of a capacity-building program combined with content-production and broadcasting for community radio stations in five provinces of South Africa,” Makate said.

The funds, awarded over two years, aim to elevate voices from local communities and further the development of citizen journalism and community reporting on financial and economic issues. Funding is provided by the Community Media Fund, a US$1million fund established in 2015 as part of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, which itself launched a year prior to advance business journalism on the continent.

Erana Stennett, Director, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, said: “Using traditional, digital and mobile technology, these grant recipients are working to inform and empower poor and marginalized communities about business and economic issues that impact their lives.”