Solomon Ayele, winner of the 2022 George Atkins Communication Award

| May 2, 2022

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Solomon Ayele is a broadcast journalist, born and raised in Ethiopia. His strong reading skills and radio voice inspired him to become a radio broadcaster.

Recently, Mr. Ayele was recognized for his broadcasting excellence by receiving the George Atkins Communication Award. He is one of three winners for 2022.

Mr. Ayele has been working as a professional journalist for the past six years, and currently works as the manager of Debre Berhan Fana FM 94.0 in the city of Debre Berhan. He enjoys his work, especially listening to audience feedback and opinions and giving listeners the opportunity to speak and be heard. 

As the station manager, Mr. Ayele oversees programming. He also produces a farmer program called Yebalagero Keye (Farmers’ neighbourhood) which focuses on best practices in beekeeping and honey production. Mr. Ayele enjoys working on the program because helping farmers make informed decisions and improve their livelihoods makes him happy.

Mr. Ayele noticed some years ago that there was an increasing number of farmers in small villages in his region of Ethiopia. As a result, more and more farmers are landless, and so they turn to beekeeping and honey production. The government supports these farmers with grants. Aware that these farmers need information to succeed, Mr. Ayele decided to tackle the subject on his program, and now regularly invites experienced beekeepers on air to share their experiences.

His listeners say they like the program and appreciate Mr. Ayele’s efforts. Feedback is especially positive about his interviews with family-owned beekeeping operations in which husband, wife, and children work together. Many listeners say Mr. Ayele’s programs motivate them to take up beekeeping themselves, and those already involved in beekeeping are inspired to improve their management and practices.  

In his interviews, Mr. Ayele presents beekeepers as experts. He also interviews extension workers to comment on best practices.

Mr. Ayele makes entertainment a priority in his program by using local music, nature sounds, and choosing hosts with “golden voices.” He says it’s also important to have a variety of women and men hosts, and to feature an enjoyable signature tune.

Debre Berhan Fana FM 94.0 has been a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner since 2018, and currently broadcasts programs as part of FRI’s RECOVER project. Mr. Ayele completed the FRI e-course on designing farmer radio programs in May 2021, and uses FRI resources such as broadcaster how-to guides and the VOICE standards to improve his programming.

Photo: Solomon Ayele in studio.