The Department of Communications is scheduled to meet with broadcasting signal distributor Sentech on Friday, to avoid switching off 17 community radio stations.

The stations, located in various parts of the county, reportedly owe Sentech R33 million in signal fees. Millions of people rely on these media platforms for information.

The stations are having issues dealing with the affordability of producing radio content especially in the light of their debt to Sentech. Adequate support for the stations has also waned.

Katlego Sepotokele, a spokesperson for the Right2Know campaign, stated that the support for these radio stations need to be addressed.

“When we think about a sustainability model, we also need to think about how the state participates in ensuring that we have sufficient mechanisms to give support to the radio stations,” Sepotokele said.

“You find that government is very much… there still has not been quite sufficient, adequate distribution of advertising revenue, so there are various ways in which the State can support the community radio’s media sector.”

The radio stations that are facing possible shutdown provide listeners with many different services, such as educational or entertaining content. The role of these stations can vary depending on the community content they deliver, and Sepotokele says the effect of these stations can’t be minimized.

Watch below for more on the interview with Sepotokele: