Congratulations Dr Wonder Juniper
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Discipline: Media Studies
THESIS TITLE: AN EXAMINATION OF COMMUNITY RADIO’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMMING AT THREE RADIO STATIONS IN LIMPOPO PROVINCE
Mr Juniper started his radio career in 1997 as a radio presenter and producer of a talk show programme at Univen community radio where he later rose to became the Programmes Manager before he joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Limpopo in 2000. From 2001-2005, Mr Juniper worked as a Producer for different programmes at SABC (Phalaphala FM) where he has been involved in audience research and presenting educational radio programmes until he joined the University of Limpopo in 2021. He holds a BA qualification in Communication Science from UNISA, Hons (Media Studies) from UL and MA (Communication, Media and Public Relations) from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. His experience in Higher Education includes serving the University of South Africa (UNISA) as an online Tutor in Communication science and the University of Venda (UNIVEN) as a part-time lecturer for radio broadcasting studies. He has presented two conference papers from his PhD thesis and has been supervising Honours students with recent MA uptake in the area of Radio Studies in the Discipline of Media Studies.
Mr Wonder Juniper’s study examined the relevance of community radio’s economic empowerment programming at three (3) radio stations in the Limpopo Province, namely Moletjie FM, Sekgosese FM and Univen FM. He explored the nature of community radio programming; determined programme formulation processes; assessed the quality of economic knowledge and entrepreneurial skills transferred to target audiences, and established the challenges that impede implementation of community empowerment programmes in the sector. Extensive literature in relation to the relevance and impact of radio programmes on target audiences was reviewed both at the local and global levels. A case study design within the qualitative approach was adopted to inform the research design, data collection methods and analysis procedures where study entities and participants were purposively selected. Triangulation of data collection procedures involved the focus group method, in-depth interview and document analysis. Thematic analysis was adopted in data analysis to generate discursive themes and synthesise study findings, where both relevant literature and participatory communication paradigms were inferred to support study arguments.
The study notes that community radio as a technology has the inherent potential to facilitate knowledge and skills transfer on economic empowerment to target communities in South Africa. Notwithstanding the sector’s relevance and positive impact through its diverse programming formats, it encounters challenges in the programme formulation process, design and implementation. This is largely owed to limited stakeholder involvement, lack of audience research, inadequate funding, lack of relevant skills among programmers and absence of programme evaluation. This has a negative bearing on the quality of economic empowerment programmes offered by the community radio stations in the province. Subsequently, the study has developed a self-designed Economic Empowerment Programming Model (EEPM) based on the existing institutional and policy framework to enhance the effectiveness of radio programming in the sector.