This article first appeared on Jocoza.

Peter Horung stressed the importance of investigative research for radio stations, at the opening day of the Radio Days Conference at Wits University yesterday. 

Andy Carvin 2

Andy Carvin describes how NPR makes use of twitter. Photo: Prelene Singh

Radio can and should be creating news agendas and engaging in investigative research.

This is what NDRs Peter Hornung emphasised in a session about radio news at the fourth Joburg Radio Conference in Johannesburg. NDR is a German broadcaster and their team has won national awards for their investigative work.

Hornung said radio stations should invest in investigative research, especially because competition is getting harder, and there is a need for quality radio.

[pullquote]Investigative research on radio can be better than TV[/pullquote]
“Radio needs to be creating its own news agenda. Strengthening journalistic profiles, credibility and social relevance,” said Hornung.

“Investigative research on radio can be better than TV and better than newspapers and magazines,” said Hornung

In another room at the same time, former KayaFM station manger Charlene Deacon, shared her experiences about how she turned the ailing station around a few years ago.

Deacon became part of the station when it was only three years old but she was the ninth manager and it was already R25 million in debt. Now the station is one of the biggest talk radio stations in Johannesburg:”I knew my strategy was working when everyone said that KayaFM was a friendly station.”

Deacon also shared some leadership tips: “In running a station, say what you mean and mean what you say. Understand that the people are your power. While you’re being thick-skinned you need to be kind.”  Deacon said that one of the challenges she faced was with the staff: Removing incompetent staff- recruiting the right quality … easier said than done.


Sam Cavanagh, producer of the Andy&Hamish show talks about social media and radio. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

Skills development in radio

Skills development and challenges around training is what Lanni Smith and Charlton Philiso addressed in yet another breakaway session. Smith is a Director of Development in the Asia-Pasific Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France while Philiso is a Senior Manager at MICT SETA (Media, Information and Communications Technology Sector Education and Training Authority.

Peter Malebye

MTN’S General Manager Peter Malebye of Ecosystem Development and Innovation talks social media devices. Photo: Prelene Singh

“Skills development is a key success factor in any business. The same applies for community radios,” said Philiso. He said that one of the challenges they face is retaining skilled people once they have been trained.

Smith spoke about some of the work Planet Radio does in terms of providing training to community radios and other parts of the world.

The conference continues today. Visit the conference site for regular updates or follow @jhbradiodays on Twitter.