Pledge drive to support radio station

In the studio are Bush Radio staff with interns and managing director Brenda Leonard, seated in front.

As they’re celebrating their 21st anniversary this month, one of Africa’s oldest community radio stations, Bush Radio, is running a pledge drive, calling on Cape Town to contribute to the continued existence of the station and its training services.

The idea of Bush Radio started in the 1980s when community activists and alternative media producers explored ways in which grassroots media could be used for social upliftment and as an alternative voice to the media available under apartheid.

Bush Radio was officially formed in 1992, after two years of community consultations on all aspects of the radio station.

After repeatedly applying for a broadcast license to the apartheid government in 1992, Bush Radio then decided to broadcast illegally.

The station, based in Victoria Road, Salt River, had its first legal broadcast on August 9 1995.

The station divides its activities into broadcasting, upliftment projects, scholarship and training programmes and human potential development. Bush Radio currently has 23 upliftment projects, ranging from the Children’s Radio Education Workshop (CREW) programme to the Schools HIV and Aids Education Project (SAEP).

The CREW programme, for children aged six to 18 years old, demystifies radio and media to them, so that they are critical media consumers.

Strandfontein resident Brenda Leonard, managing director of Bush Radio, said the station still plays a pivotal role in the community radio sector and in the broadcasting sector.

“What does a security guard, a medical student and a six-year-old learner from St Agnes Primary School have in common? They were all trained in media and broadcasting at Bush Radio,” she said.

“Bush Radio provides opportunities for community members without any prior media training or experience, to be trained in media and broadcasting,” said Ms Leo-nard.

“This is what we do. We provide media training opportunities to those with an interest in media to learn the craft at Bush Radio”.

Adrian Louw, Bush Radio’s programme integrator and Woodstock resident, added: “After 21 years, Bush Radio still provides one of the few platforms where young people interested in media can have access to quality training and hands-on experience and develop their own path in the media industry, without the interference from a political or religious master.

“Beyond its initial role of freeing the airwaves in Africa, Bush Radio continues by freeing minds – through its quality programming and training.”

As a non-profit community radio station, the station is calling on former interns, staff, volunteers, board members, NGOs and CBOs, artists, musicians, designers, companies and community members who have benefited from their broadcast and training services to contribute towards making a difference in the lives of others by ensuring the services offered continue.

One celebrity supporting the pledge drive is radio and television presenter Alex Jay who tweeted @AlexJayZA: “Great CT community station, deserving of your support.”

For more information about the pledge drive, email mother, SMS 32158 or call the station on 021 448 5450.