Developing Radio Partners (DRP) is a US-based non-profit media development organization that works with local radio stations in developing countries, providing them with the skills they need to bring reliable information to those who need it most.
DRP was formally established as a non-profit organization in 2004, but its origins are in Bill Siemering’s first-hand experience and research in media development over the last twelve years. After 20-plus years of experience in public radio management and program development in the U.S., Bill received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 1993 that afforded him an opportunity to turn his attention elsewhere in the world. From 1994 – 2004, he worked as a consultant and staff member with the Open Society Institute to develop independent media in new democracies. From his experiences working with local radio stations in countries such as Mongolia, South Africa, and Sierra Leone, Bill witnessed their tremendous potential as a positive force for community development; however, Bill also saw firsthand that radio’s full potential as a community development tool was largely unrealized.
Developing Radio Partners was created to help broadcasters build healthy stations that strengthen communities. It focuses on radio, as well as its relation to new media. No broadcasters face greater challenges than those in developing countries: they serve listeners in some of the most economically and politically fragile countries, often relying upon volunteers and staffs with limited or no broadcasting experience. In the prosperous United States, public broadcasters looked to the federal government and individuals for support; neither of these resources are available to these stations. Developing Radio Partners therefore seeks new partnerships for new solutions.
Bill has been a leader in U.S. public radio management, local and national program development, and fundraising for more than thirty years. His professional tenure includes 12 years of experience in international media development in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.
A founding member of the National Public Radio Board of Directors and author of the network’s original mission and goals, Bill led the development of All Things Considered as NPR’s first Director of Programming. While serving as Vice President and Radio Station Manager of WHYY Inc. in Philadelphia, Bill developed a five-year plan for the station’s growth. He secured a $1 million development grant and applied it to surpass all of the plan’s objectives. Under his leadership, Fresh Air and Terry Gross gained a nationwide audience.
Bill began his international work in 1993 by assisting community radio stations in South Africa’s townships as a 1993 recipient of a five-year MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He returned to South Africa in 1995 as a Knight International Journalism Fellow. From 1996-97, he served as president of the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for Journalists, a leading print and broadcast journalism training program.
Bill served for ten years as a senior radio advisor for the Open Society Institute (OSI), which funds civil society initiatives in more than fifty countries and is among the world’s largest private foundations. His work with OSI took him to Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Ukraine, Macedonia and Moldova, as well as longer stays in Mongolia and South Africa. His work included assessing station news and information programming, management and technical needs, journalism and management training and mentoring.
Bill Siemering received the NPR Lifetime Achievement Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and has received honorary doctorates from State University of New York at Buffalo and Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. In 2010 he was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame and is a Purpose Prize Fellow.
In 2012 Chuck joined the DRP staff after having worked as a consultant on several DRP projects over a seven-year period.
Chuck has been a journalist since 1975, when as a high school student he started working at the local community radio station in his hometown of Marshall, North Carolina. While at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, he worked as a newscaster at a commercial radio station and served as director of his university radio station.
After graduating, Chuck worked as a reporter and anchor at several stations in North Carolina before becoming a writer and news anchor for The Associated Press Radio Network.
In 2003, Chuck received a two-year Knight Fellowship. This took him to Mongolia to conduct training workshops with journalists at community radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers throughout the country. It also launched his career as an international media consultant.
For the past ten years, Chuck has managed numerous media projects for organizations that include Internews, the World Bank, and the International Center for Journalists. Most recently, he served as country director in Timor-Leste, managing a two-year, five-million-dollar media development project that included developing a four-year Journalism degree program, establishing Media Houses around the country, assisted a community in setting up its own radio station and establishing the online news agency Timor Today. He has also designed monitoring and evaluation techniques to ensure journalism training programs are effective and meet the needs of the trainees.
Jean is an independent contractor who contributed to the following projects:
Project Manager for ‘Our Environment, Our Future’ on Climate Change in Zambia and Malawi, working with Breeze 99.6FM.
Lead researcher and writer for the report, “Poised for Growth: Community Radio in Kenya in 2009” for the Open Society Institute for East Africa, (OSIEA), working with Doreen Rukaria, former coordinator of the Kenya Community Media Network.
Project Leader, Researcher, and Writer for DRP’s Handbook on Station Sustainability.
Assisted in strategic planning for DRP, working with Tish Valva.
During her time as director of the media program for the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, Jean designed and developed training materials on election coverage and radio station management for community radio. She developed the strategic vision for media support by the foundation and was in charge of the grants program. During this period, OSF-SA was the lead donor for community radio and was actively engaged with developing the sector, including lobbying for a free and democratic media in South Africa.
Jean, a South African, now living in England, brings experience as a journalist and specialist in organizational development along with a deep understanding of the challenges and accomplishments of independent and community media. Other work includes her role as coordinator of the Natal Worker History Project at the University of Natal, Durban, and lecturer in the School of Journalism at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. She holds a post graduate degree in community adult education and a Master’s Degree in Globalization and Communications in the UK.
Terry was the lead DRP consultant working with the Independent Radio Network in Sierra Leone and wrote DRP’s manual on election coverage.
Terry has extensive experience working in public radio and television, including Wisconsin Public Radio, KERA-TV in Dallas and KUOW-FM in Seattle. He reported for the PBS News Hour, PBS documentaries on the environment and was senior editor of the NPR environmental weekly series, Living on Earth. For his environmental reporting he has traveled to Antarctica, and Alaska. Terry has done other reporting and documentary production for the History and Discovery channels and for NPR.
While a Knight International Press Fellow, he trained radio journalists in South Africa and Malawi. His other international journalism training has taken him to Kosovo, the Republic of Georgia, Uganda and Ghana. He developed a 40 page-training manual for African journalists covering small businesses.
Terry has received 14 awards for excellence in journalism. He is also the Senior Writer-Producer for Free the Slaves, dedicated to ending slavery worldwide.
Juliana is the consulting evaluator for the ‘Our Environment, Our Future’ Climate Change project. She has over 30 years post-graduate experience in education, environment and development. Ms. Chileshe has a B.A. degree from the University of Zambia; two post graduate Diplomas in Education from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom; a Postgraduate Diploma in International Law; and an M.A. in Education in Developing Countries from the Institute of Education, London University. Ms. Chileshe also has received a Government of France Scholarship to study in Vichy, France.
Ms. Chileshe started her career as secondary school teacher in the Ministry of Education in Zambia. Ms. Chileshe was Co-coordinator of the Zambia Environmental Education Programme funded by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the Administrator/Assistant Registrar for the University of Zambia. She has served as Acting Director for Panos Southern Africa.
Ms. Chileshe has served as a consultant for the United Nation Development programme, (UNDP) and Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources, Southern Africa Development Community, Ministry of Education, the Environmental Council of Zambia, the Zambia Forestry Department and PANOS Institute of Southern Africa to train journalists in reporting on the environment using the Internet and the Nordic Journalism Centre (NSJ).
Ms. Chileshe was founding member and trustee for the Natural Resources Development and Management Trust, a member of the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa, and chairperson of the national committee for the Environmental Support Programme, among many other organisations. She a board Chair for two NGOs, namely Village Water and Imiti Ikula Empanga, Environment and Development Organisation (IIEDO). Ms. Chileshe serves on other boards, including PANOS Southern Africa and Keepers Foundation Zambia.
Dr. Myers was commissioned by DRP to write ‘Why Radio Matters’ that documents the effectiveness of radio for development.
Dr. Myers is a consultant in development communications with 15 years experience in: radio for development in Africa, media assistance, participatory audience-based monitoring and evaluation, media in conflict situations, gender issues, communications training, Francophone Africa (especially DR Congo), arid lands and food security issues.
Dr. Myers is British and works from home near Salisbury, Wiltshire. She holds a BA from Oxford University and a PhD from Reading University. She has worked with the UK's Department for International Development on many projects, papers and publications since going freelance in 1996. From 2002 to 2003 she was an adviser on communications and media within DFID’s Social Development Division.
With a background in NGO programme management, Dr. Myers has travelled and worked in more than 20 countries in Africa. Apart from working with DFID, recent clients have included the World Bank, National Endowment for Democracy, International Development Research Centre, Carleton University, France Coopération Internationale, Triple Line Consulting Ltd, Media Support Solutions and Farm Radio International. She has contributed to various academic conferences and written many research studies, policy-papers and reports on radio, media and development.
David is an independent consultant on media policy, organization and management, has helped grow the capacity of public radio and TV stations globally for over 40 years. He has given over 190 presentations on media development in civil society to visitors from 88 countries. He served as the Sr. VP of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and CEO of the Association of Public TV Stations. Other board service includes the Grassroots Global Institute at the University of the Pacific, and Journalism and Multimedia Arts at Duquesne University.
Carol has a diverse range of over 30 years of professional achievement in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. She is presently a Senior Training Consultant with Global Novations, Inc., which provides corporate training for Fortune 500 companies and leadership coaching. In her service with non-profits, including Search for Common Ground, she has traveled to developing countries. In addition, Carol has a Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and has acted in, written for and directed plays for theater in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Carol has served as an educator on the high school and university levels specializing in English and the Humanities. As manager of the Sutherland Family Foundation and advocate for non-profits, she has knowledge of philanthropy. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Marble Collegiate Church and Collegiate Corporation in New York and the Board of Governors of Opportunity International.
Kevin is Dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and was president of NPR from 1998 to April 2009. Klose lead NPR to the largest audience growth in its history. Prior to that, he served successively as director of U.S. international broadcasting, overseeing the United States Government's global radio and television news services (1997-98); and president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), broadcasting to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union (1994-97). Klose was also an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for 25 years. His various positions at the newspaper included city editor (1974-76); Moscow bureau chief (1977-1981); Midwest correspondent (1983-1987); and deputy national editor (1987-1990). A former Woodrow Wilson National Fellow, he serves on the board of Independent Sector in Washington, DC. He is the author of Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society, winner of the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius Ryan Award, and co-author of four other books.
Ann is an international attorney and business consultant practicing in Washington, D.C. and Beijing. Ms. Plubell’s expertise includes a deep and current understanding of China and how to do business in China. It also includes an understanding of how to form and implement financial infrastructures to attract capital in China and the U.S., and how to comply with global corporate governance standards. In addition, her expertise includes a thorough understanding of the policy oversight structure of certain technical aspects of the international Internet including domain name system and IP addressing.
Ms. Plubell’s clients include Chinese enterprises wishing to do business outside of China as well as companies wishing to do business in China. Her areas of international expertise include asset-backed securities and education finance, corporate governance structures for effective decision-making, and international Internet technology policy with specific applications in China.
She has a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University and an MBA in international business with a focus on the management of innovation and technology from George Washington University. She served as Vice president, Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Sallie Mae, the leading provider of student loans in the U.S.
Ms. Plubell's interest in radio began when she was a student at SUNY-Buffalo and produced programs on the university public radio station, WBFO-FM.
Josh Nesbit, is CEO of Medic Mobile, a nonprofit company using mobile technology to create connected, coordinated health systems that save more lives. The company works in 16 countries around the world.
As an international health and bioethics student at Stanford University, Josh's research focused on access to pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment. While at Stanford, Josh launched a project in Malawi linking remote community health workers and their patients to centralized healthcare resources using text messaging. After a successful pilot, Josh co-founded Medic Mobile.
Josh is recognized as an exceptional young leader. He is an Ashoka Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Rainer Arnhold Fellow, Strauss Scholar, and Haas Public Service Fellow. Josh was named by Devex as one of 40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development and received the Truman Award for Innovation from the Society for International Development.
Forbes included Josh as one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs and he's included among twelve visionaries in the book "Hearts on Fire" by Jill Iscol and Peter Cookson, Jr., with a forward by President Bill Clinton.
Bill Siemering, President of Developing Radio Partners, is an ex-officio member of the board.
We used Frontline SMS on our climate change project in rural Zambia and Malawi to greatly expand the interactivity between the stations and their listeners. Ken Banks created the open source FrontlineSMS and is highly regarded for social innovation. He has received the Tech Award and is a National Geographic Explorer He created the FrontlineSMS software following work in Kruger National Park in South Africa 2003/2004 and seeing the need to improve communication for people off the Internet grid. It is well worth checking Ken’s website and reading his blogs: He describes the origins here.
DRP worked in partnership with Ken Banks and the Centre for Governance and Human Rights at Cambridge University to develop a new FrontlineSMS:Radio application.
Medic Mobile is a non-profit technology company, co-founded by Josh Nesbit who was named a Pop Tech Social innovation Fellow in 2009 and is an Echoing Green Fellow. Josh is also a member of DRP’s Board of Directors. Click here for more information about Medic Mobile.
How do you get information to the 4 billion people in developing countries that have no access to Internet? Rose Shuman started the Question Box as an answer to that question. The Question Box gives easy access to information in areas with illiteracy, language and technical barriers. Rose was a guest speaker at the Guardian Activate 2010 conference in London, July 2010 and here she explains the problem and solution. Rose has a BA and MA in International Development as well as visual arts. She’s a TED India Fellow, and also founded the Bright Front Group consulting firm. BrightFront Group redesigned the DRP website.
The Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) Educational Trust is a training institute mandated to upgrade professional skills of journalists in both print and electronic media. ZAMCOM's experience dates as far back as 1980, when it was established as a training department under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services to provide in-service training to working journalists. In 1996, it became an independent educational trust, broadening its activities to communication-based programs for non-media personnel, radio and television productions and research.
Our lead in-country partner for our pilot project, Zachilengedwe, Tsogolo Lathu, (‘Our Environment, Our Future’) is Breeze-FM in Chipata, Zambia. Founded as a private station by Mr. Mike Daka, long time head of the Zamcom journalism training center in Lusaka, describes itself as ‘a community-based commercial station, with public interest programming.’
The other participating partner stations in this project include:
Chikaya Community Radio
Petauke Explorers Radio
Mudzi Wathu Community Radio, Mchinji
Dzimwe Community Radio, Monkey Bay
Nkhotakota Community Radio, Nkhot‘akota
We Forest was founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bill Liao. We Forest has the simple objective to plant trees all over the world because trees make clouds and the clouds cool the earth. Bill Siemering is on their advisory board.
Search for Common Ground’s mission “is to transform the way the world deals with conflict: away from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative solutions. Our goal is to make finding common ground the common thing.” They have programs in 12 countries. They achieve their goals through a number of projects including creative radio programs in post-conflict countries that are made available to all radio stations in the country. They operate Studio Ijambo in Burundi and Talking Drum Studios in Liberia and Sierra Leone. SFCG has contracted with DRP for work in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d‘Ivoire.
Christopher Hamblett was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone and recently established The Foundation for West Africa. He supports local radio among other projects.
He has also underwritten a new documentary film, Leh Wi Tok, (Let us Talk) that will highlight the role community radio stations play in building peace and democracy in post-war Sierra Leone. Check out their website to learn more and see photos and a trailer for the film that will premiere in April 2011. To see more excellent photographs of Sierra Leone go to the websites ofKate Kelley and Jonathan Beller.
Foundation for Independent Radio Broadcasting (FNR) in Russia, helps develop the quality and independent broadcasting to serve the civil society. They sponsor regional and national Radio Festivals and a training centre. DRP partnered with FNR and their for profit organization, Radio Corporation for the Russian study tour. Learn More
Also check out Podstantsiya, described as a place ‘For those who want to tell stores, who like to play with meanings and angles. For those who go after sounds, who want to share them with others…In other words, Podstantsiya is a space for experiment, debate and alternative music.
Center for International Media Assistance, CIMA, is dedicated to improving independent media in developing countries. It is part of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Canadian based Farm Radio International works with approximately 330 radio broadcasters in 39 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. They provide scripts for stations and is a source for scientific information on agriculture as well as how to write proposals.
Transom.org is the best single source on the Internet for producers new to radio to learn basic skills, including advice about equipment. For anyone interested in radio, you can hear innovative work of young producers, as well as learn from the most respected producers in radio. Madhu Achary tells how he helped develop community radio in Nepal. Transom.org was created by award winning producer, Jay Allison.