Radio drama

Submitted by: Melusi Tshabalala

Brief: Isolation, boosting community morale

Original submission


Radio remains South Africa’s most consumed form of media. By far. It has the highest reach and most passionate following.

Then you have African Language Stations, which are a phenomenon on their own. Just the top five African Language Stations (UKHOZI FM, UMHLOBO WENENE FM, LESEDI FM, THOBELA FM AND MOTSWEDING FM) boasted a listenership of over 20 000 000 in the period between Jan 2019 and Dec 2019. That is about a 3rd of the population of South Africa.


Radio dramas places the audience and listener in the center of the action and the story. The building of characters, scenarios, the creation of emotion, suspense, intrigue and action delivers the drama. Exclusively using DIALOGUE, SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC, THE AUDIENCE – EITHER ACTIVELY OR PASSIVELY – JOIN THE CAST AND BECOME PART OF THE SCRIPT. With social media adding an additional layer of information and direct engagement, the radio drama has never been in a more dominant place.

The need for on-going education as well as a general thirst for information has allowed radio stations to offer brands, who have niche information or products, an opportunity to create engagement through story telling.


We want to harness the power of radio drama and combine it with the interactive nature of calling in. Through these, we will create a user-generated radio drama that entertains, while dealing with real issues around COVID-19 AND GENERAL HEALTH, WELLNESS AND HYGIENE.

The greatest followers of radio dramas are rural and township audiences – the very market we want to connect with, especially when tackling issues around loneliness and boosting community morale.

Listeners who contribute to the story will keep people engaged and intrigued, through the lockdown. Being able to participate will give people something to do, without leaving their homes or spending money they do not have.


1. All African language stations and community radio stations will be given the same first episode of a covid19-related radio drama in the language of each station. Their listeners will be urged to listen to the episode so they can contribute to how the story goes forward from there.

2. After the first episode listeners will be urged to call in, WhatsApp, text or USSD their contributions, proposing what the next episode should be about. They don’t have to write out the whole episode but give the direction it should take.

3. The top 3 suggestions for each station are then chosen, put into one “POT” WITH THE TOP 3 FROM OTHER STATIONS AND ANNOUNCED ON ALL THE STATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA. The public is then urged to vote for the episode they want for their station. Each station will get one episode. Which episode, they get will depend on each station’s AUDIENCE’S VOTES. As such, there will be a huge drive to galvanize each station’s listeners to vote.

4. When voting closes and our team for each station (writers, creative directors, producers, voice talent and sound engineers) get to work, bringing their episode 2's to life.

5. Episode 2 plays across all stations, with each station getting the episode its listeners chose.

6. The episodes are also made available on the Central Digital Touchpoint so people can listen to them all; not just the one that played on their station

7. The process repeats until the end of the campaign and conclusion of the radio dramas.

To bring this idea to life email us.

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