Moutse Community Radio Station (MCRS) was founded by members of the Rural Women's Movement (RWM), a national organisation in South Africa, which lobbies around issues of concern to rural women.
The station operates with a board of trustees who set the overall vision and perspective, five management staff members who coordinate the training, administration, technical and programming departments, and twelve volunteer staff members who work as radio announcers. Moutse Community Radio is a member of the National Community Radio Forum, the national organising body in South Africa. Various working committees contacted donors, obtained funds for equipment and sifted their way through the quagmire of impediments to mounting such a project in rural conditions. Initially, 45 women were trained in how to create and produce radio programmes.
The on-air programmes cater to a wide range of listeners. The health programme regularly features medical practitioners for community phone-ins where they discuss and answer questions while the agriculture programme invites departmental representatives. The daily morning and afternoon drive programmes are entertaining yet informative and often include interviews on a broad spectrum of community issues. The station also catered to children, sports fans, jazz lovers, cultural music enthusiasts, cooks and dramatists. The community announcements of local events and the reading of funeral notices keep people living over a large area informed. Local, national and international news is read in a number of languages.
Cultural exchange remains an important goal: We hope it will be heard by the white town nearby so that those people can hear our stories, our songs and our problems.
Most radio stations cover community issues only when disasters and accidents strike, or, when they have done bizarre or weird things. Their day-to-day needs, aspirations and wants are largely ignored and tehy are therefore left behind the in the development process.