Radio renaissance in progress in Libya


Citizens in the nation of Libya are emerging from under the thumb of oppression from a dictator who had been in place for decades, and young volunteers are at the control boards of radio stations that not long ago existed to forward the dictator’s agenda. The result is compelling radio that matters.

Citizens in a nation where the entire political and social structure has been turned upside down have a lot of questions, as well as a lot to say, and according to The Takeaway, local radio is providing it.

The programmers who are at the steering wheel are using music to reflect the mood of the day. According to the report, sometimes it’s very upbeat, but if the news is troublesome, the programmers know enough to tone things down.

Nothing is off the table – not even poetry or comedy.

A lot of the programming is simply informational, and extremely local and relevant. A programmer in the US is not likely to field a question about what to do with a captured soldier of the Qaddafi regime, but this is a matter of concern to Libyan radio listeners, and at least one station does what it can to meet the need.
The Takeaway is a co-production of WNYC and PRI in association with BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

RBR-TVBR observation: What then can we learn from this? Perhaps it’s nothing more than acknowledging the possibility that providing a radio service that provides a forum for listeners, that serves their need for immediate information, and takes chances with its programming can succeed. Maybe it’s nothing more than acknowledging that a station that breaks the mold and throws away the rulebook in a big splashy way and actually connects with an audience can win in a market full of over-researched, over-consulted and non-local program orthodoxy. It’s food for thought.