Radio is by far the most popular media across the whole country. 45 percent of the Tanzanians use it as a daily news source. 4 out of 5 Tanzanians use it at least monthly to get the latest information. This shows the 2017 Afrobarometer. Radio stations that aired their programmed in Kiswahili had the highest listenership.
Demand meets supply
The demand meets a continuously growing supply: over the last couple of years, the number and spread of radio stations operating in different parts of the country rapidly increased, including in areas with rare access to newspapers and television. The statistics from the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) show that from 86 licensed radio in 2012, the number almost doubled until 2017. The development from the only state-owned and largely government-controlled radio station before the advent of multi-party in the mid-1990s, to 156 mostly commercial outlets was considered as a remarkable process by civil society organizations.
Media ownership and concentration
The radio market is compared to print and TV more diverse but still shows a medium to high audience concentration as the top 4 radio companies reach XX.XXX% of the listenership. Like in TV, Cloud Entertainment Ltd., IPP Media Ltd., and the state-run Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) have a considerable standing in the market with each of them operating several stations. Sahara Media Group Ltd. from Mwanza, which holds several radio stations and TV, follows in terms of reach. For the latter, there was no official company profile available at the Business Registry BRELA. Reports name Dr. Anthony Diallo, a politician and former Member of Parliament, as founder, CEO and owner of the company.
Challenges: technical equipment and staff
Lack of technical capacity, including reliable studio equipment, was one of the major challenges facing radio broadcasting in Tanzania. Especially community radios also often rely on people working on voluntary basis as they couldn’t afford to hire permanent staff due to financial challenges. In those cases, radio DJs often play both the role of producers and presenters, a situation that resulted to superficial reporting and too much music instead of serious programs whose content addresses pertinent issues affecting the communities members it is supposed to address - according to the MCT state of the media 2016.
This might have led to what a media quality study from 2017 suggests: radio news is of relatively low quality compared to newspapers and TV news. A worrying fact as radio news is listened to by large parts of the population.