Rootio Builds A New Kind Of Community Radio In Uganda

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 7.51.09 PMThis spring, Petri traveled to Uganda to work with an exciting new project in community radio, Rootio ( Rootio.org). Spearheaded by Chris Csikszentmihalyi,  this project aims to develop a new type of small community radio station that is deeply conneced to the mobile phone networks. Different stations will take different forms, but the smallest of the new stations will have no studio– all talk shows will be conducted using the mobile phones of the hosts.  A small transmitter is built into a waterproof bucket with a fan, a charge controller and a smartphone, and is connected to an antenna and a solar panel. Content will live in the cloud, and stations will be able to produce shows that can easily transmitted from more than one transmitter. The stations will be built as much as possible from materials available at local markets, so these small stations can be put together by local technicians without special imports. There are a number of challenges to this approach, such as audio quality, working with locally available parts of varying quality,   and writing all the software needed to function seamlessly. During my time in Uganda, we  scoured local markets for ingredients, built a few protoypes,  visited communities that might want to host an experimental radio station, and made a winning presentation at a design competition. Check out the Radio station in a bucket that we put together in Gulu, Uganda…

Expect to see more here as this exciting project develops !

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