"Too tired to speak?" : investigating the reception of Radio Grahamstown's Lunchtime Live show as a means of linking local communities to power

Tsarwe, Stanley Zvinaiye (2011) "Too tired to speak?" : investigating the reception of Radio Grahamstown's Lunchtime Live show as a means of linking local communities to power. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This study sets out to investigate Lunchtime Live, a twice-weekly, one-hour long current affairs show broadcast on a small community radio station, Radio Grahamstown, to understand its role in the local public sphere, and its value in helping civil society’s understanding of and involvement in the power structures and political activities in Grahamstown. Lunchtime Live seeks to cultivate a collective identity and promote public participation in the public affairs of Grahamstown. As a key avenue of investigation, this study seeks to test theory against practice, by evaluating Lunchtime Live’s aspirations against the audiences’ perception of it. This investigation uses qualitative content analysis of selected episodes of recorded transcripts of the shows that aired between August 2010 and March 2011, together with the audiences’ verbalised experiences of this programme through focus group discussions. The study principally uses qualitative research informed by reception theory. The research reveals three key findings. First, that resonance rather than resistance is the more dominant ‘stance’ or ‘attitude’ towards the content of Lunchtime Live. Residents interviewed agreed that the programme is able to give a “realistic” representation of their worldview, and thus is able to articulate issues that affect their lives. Second, that whilst the programme is helping establish links between members of the civil society as well as between civil society and their political representatives, residents feel that local democracy is failing to bring qualitative improvements to their everyday lives and that more ‘participation’ is unlikely to change this. Most respondents blame this on a lack of political will, incompetence, corruption and populist rhetoric by politicians who fail to deliver on the mantra of ‘a better life for all’ in the socioeconomic sphere. The study finds a scepticism and even cynicism that participatory media seems to be able to do little to dilute. Thirdly, in spite of the largely positive view about Lunchtime Live’s capacity to be a platform for public engagement, its participatory potential is structurally constrained by the material privations of most of its listeners. Given that in order to participate in talk shows and discussions audience members have to phone in, economic deprivation often precludes this. It is clear from this research that despite shows such as Lunchtime Live that are exploring new techniques of popular involvement, the voice of the ordinary people still struggles to be heard.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Community radio, South Africa, Grahamstown, Broadcasting, Journalism, Mass media, Civil society, Political participation
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Journalism and Media Studies
Supervisors:Dugmore, Harry
ID Code:2953
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:07 Jun 2012 06:19
Last Modified:07 Jun 2012 06:19
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