July tends to be dominated with news of the Durban July – the eponymous horse race which brings out the fashionistas of the country. But for the South Africa Media Innovation Program it was a month of learnings and innovation.
New voices in podcasting
The coldest month of the year saw the program attending Radio Days Africa (RDA) with several of our participants and partners. The conference is billed as the largest audio and radio themed gathering on the continent, featuring talks by experts both local and abroad.
SAMIP, in collaboration with our participant the Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), brought over three excellent podcast producers and trainers who lead two sessions at RDA on the business of podcasting and a two-part storytelling masterclass for podcasts:
- Selly Thiam who is the director of None on Record, a digital media organization that works with African LGBTI communities across the African continent and the diaspora. Based in Nairobi, their Afro Queer podcast was recently selected to take part in Google’s Podcast Creator program. Selly is also a journalist and oral historian whose work has appeared on National Public Radio, PBS, and in the New York Times. She was a producer for Storycorps, PBS’ Learning Matters, and a Carnegie Fellow at ABC News Investigative Unit.
- Veralyn Williams is a producer on WNYC’s new show The Stakes with Kai Wright, and has worked on a wide range of podcasting production and radio training projects (WNYC, Slate). Veralyn is also a former youth reporter, and has done numerous training programs across Africa.
- Eric Eddings co-hosts The Nod at Gimlet Media. He also co-hosted “For Colored Nerds”, an independent podcast about race, news and pop culture. Prior to working at Gimlet, he helped nonprofits and foundations develop digital strategies at Fenton.
After the conference SAMIP held a special round-table discussion with the podcast trainers and several of our participants to figure out how to add new voices in podcasting in terms of revenue, content and distribution.
It was an insightful discussion which featured debates on the role of WhatsApp as a distribution platform, how vernacular languages are under served in the local podcasting space and possible business models to make podcasting sustainable in South Africa.
SAMIP participant Volume got to present their “What’s Crap on WhatsApp” project at Radio Days Africa. The project is a voice note show created by Africa Check in partnership with Volume to fight mis/disinformation that’s spread on WhatsApp and was the winner of the 2019 Fact Forward Innovation Fund for which Africa Check and Volume were awarded a $50,000 grant.
Fundraising for media
During July our participants were also given special coaching by independent consultant Carolin Gomulia. Carolin took the participants through the complexities of fundraising in South Africa, prospecting for funds and how to manage relations between funders and grantees.
This is in line with SAMIP’s goal of helping our participants become financially sustainable by diversifying their revenue streams.
Other important stories by SAMIP’s cohort:
- Digest used Instagram to explain Expropriation without Compensation https://bit.ly/2SUSnvT
- The Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience (#SMWX) covered President Zuma’s testimony on State Capture
- Hashtag our SA prepared special World Refugee Day report https://bit.ly/3370nyK
With July behind us SAMIP is looking forward to a busy third quarter of the year with more additions to the cohort and exploring topics in memberships and audience engagement.