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URBAN TRENDS: Radio dead in Malawi

Radio is perhaps the most effective mode of mass communication in Africa, Malawi in particular, where illiteracy levels are extremely high and internet penetration is relatively low.

Unlike television, newspapers as well as internet which are expensive and to some extent require a level of expertise to operate, radio is easy.

Due to its real time accessibility, radio reaches the masses at one go hence artists are guaranteed of hits once their songs are on radio rotation.

It should however be highlighted that radio presentation requires skill and creativity to attract listener’s attention.

Besides voice projection, style and flow, conducting interviews, interacting with the audience and music mixing also demands skill.

Once upon a time, Malawi had radio presenters/DJs who were professional, passionate and highly skilled. In the recent past, one would hardly find uniformity in radio personalities. Each one was distinctively unique in their own way.

For instance, the once mighty FM 101 Power had people like Patrick Kamkwatira hosting Music Avenue, Kenny Klips on the Hip Hop Drill, CODE presenting Mellow Moods, Randy Martins handling the Reggae Dancehall Flex. 

Coincidentally, this was also the golden era that gave birth to urban music legends who still stand the taste of time.

Late Evison Matafale, Vic Marley, Real Elements, Barry One, Tigris, Young Kay just to mention but a few, are a product of when radio was great.

Unprofessionalism leads to dull moments which turn off listeners, forcing them to either switch on to different stations or switch off completely.

Its unfortunate that radio has died in Malawi. Radio presentation has become uniform so much so that it is no longer as creative as it used to be.

There are, for lack of a better word, amateurs or, to be diplomatic, more fillers than natural presenters.

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Harold Kapindu

Harold Kapindu is an award winning online arts and entertainment journalist based in Lilongwe, Malawi. He has previously worked with Malawi News Agency and Timveni Child and Youth Organization. Contact malawianrapbattle@gmail.com

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