Sunday, 28 March 2010

[creative-radio] Afghan Radio Connect


RT @mediamentor: #Afghan #Radio Connect
#Diaspora #online #internet; messages read on-air for small fee; local #news
#journalism #paypal

Afghan Radio Connect is an internet-based initiative to link the Afghan
Diaspora abroad and Afghanistan's local independent radio sector. Internews
Europe, Nai - Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, and Education for
Sustainability Network (ESN) are collaborating to increase the visibility of
local Afghan radio worldwide and to offer services to the Afghan diasporas
abroad, hopefully thereby creating an opportunity for this fragile sector to
be sustained.
Communication StrategiesThrough this information and communication
technology (ICT) media development project, Afghanistan's 33 independent
local radio stations are offered an online presence through the interactive
Afghan Radio Connect web platform. Since 2003, Internews and Nai have built
30 of these radio stations and have jointly trained their staff. In January
2007, they began using the internet to connect the local network of local
independent stations in Afghanistan and to support them in achieving
financial independence.

To begin, organisers trained the staff of the stations in the use of an
internet content management system, helped them build their websites, and
supported them in developing an e-commerce platform which allows people
around the world to pay for personal announcements to be broadcast on the
stations (as well as to give donations). Nai also provides ongoing support,
as needed, with individual radio stations' regular website updates. (The
country has been subdivided in 7 areas, in which each of the radio stations
can contact a "base station" which has access to the internet and help them
update their website.)

The Afghan Radio Connect website aims to be the first stop on the way to the
33 Afghan local radio stations' websites. On the home page, an interactive
map is designed to enable people to quickly locate where each radio station
operates and read the latest local news that has been published on each
partner radio station's website. Organisers hope that, after having spent
some time on Afghan Radio Connect, people will click directly to go to (and
bookmark) the websites of the radio stations of interest. An RSS feed was
set up to ensure that people can stay in touch with the latest local news
from the Afghan Radio Connect; an e-newsletter is also offered.

Each radio's website facilitates direct access (where available) to the
personal announcement service. For a small fee, anyone around the world can
have a message read by a speaker on the chosen radio station's airwaves. "By
using this service you also support the radio sector in Afghanistan, and
help the radio stations to inform their communities." When an announcement
request is submitted, the platform automatically alerts the radio station's
staff by email. If the staff do not have easy access to the internet, Nai or
the base station in their area will alert them. Once the message is
broadcast, the radio station's staff then send a confirmation email to the
customer and validate that the message has been broadcast. Nai's staff also
monitor the programmes on which the messages will be broadcast to ensure
that the messages have been aired. Payment for the messages is facilitated
through Paypal or a PIN number. Internews Europe, Nai, and the radio
stations have access to a complete record of the transactions made on the
platform and also receive the bank statements of the Afghan Radio Connect
bank account to ensure the complete transparency of the process.

Translators, web developers, online marketers, and Afghan diaspora
associations are also urged to contribute their skills to the project.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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