Radio rules the African waves

Satellite sport channels and cellphones are helping to drive massive growth in African media, giving consumers greater choice and building the potential to influence governance on the continent, according to an African Media Development Initiative (AMDI) report.

Satellite sport channels and cellphones are helping to drive massive growth in African media, giving consumers greater choice and building the potential to influence governance on the continent, according to an African Media Development Initiative (AMDI) report.

The AMDI surveyed the media in 17 sub-Saharan countries in Africa and found huge changes, with media outlets increasingly serving young people and rural and illiterate populations.

"The sector is weak, but there are grounds for optimism," said Stephen King, director of the BBC World Service Trust.

The survey found radio to be the dominant mass media channel across Africa, while television is far less available and newspapers still tend to concentrate on urban consumers.

But cellphones have shown spectacular growth across the continent, and the Internet is beginning to make inroads and satellite sport channels are winning more and more viewers.

"[Cellular] telephony and the rapid roll-out of satellite sports channels, especially of soccer, have changed the way even very poor people consume information in Africa," the report said. Reuters

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