Ash Abraham | July 9, 2018
On Saturday afternoons, residents of Tanzania’s Southern Highlands can tune into 104.3 Kings FM and hear the lively program, Kilimosound. Kilimo means agriculture in Swahili. But the radio program encompasses much more than life on the farm. Thanks to the charisma of radio broadcaster Paul Vicent, Kilimosound provides entertainment, education, and a network of support for farmers in the area.
Mr. Vicent wanted to be a radio broadcaster his whole life. He says, “It was my dream.”
As an adolescent, Mr. Vicent admired Salim Kikeke of the BBC. He spent hours mimicking the intonations of Mr. Kikeke’s baritone voice.
After completing university, Mr. Vicent visited a radio station in the Southern Highlands. Luckily for him, the station was hiring. He landed his dream job as presenter at Kings FM.
Caroline Kimaro is an internet technology officer for Farm Radio International in Tanzania. She says, “Everyone likes to work with Paul Vicent. He’s cooperative and loves recording live in the field.”
Kings FM is a Farm Radio International partner. With Farm Radio trainers, Mr. Vicent learned how to create a program for farmers in the Southern Highlands region.
Mr. Vicent says, “When I meet farmers in the field, they say Kilimosound came at the right time.”
Last year, potato farmers in the Southern Highlands struggled to keep their crops healthy. Diseased potatoes and low yields discouraged farmers, whose livelihoods depend on the harvest.
To address farmers’ concerns, Mr. Vicent decided to create a special program devoted to potato farming. He invited experts onto the show. Extension officers and government representatives explained best practices for potato farming, including methods for testing the nutrient levels of the soil. Experts also identified where farmers can find seeds from certified manufacturers, and stressed the importance of planting crops at the beginning of the rainy season. This information helped farmers manage diseased crops and increase their yields.
Mr. Vicent says, “There are so many challenges in potato agriculture. I linked the farmers to experts so they can know how to overcome challenges when they listen.”
To make sure Kilimosound includes farmers’ voices, Mr. Vicent travels to farms and conducts interviews with potato farmers. He says recording his program in the field not only makes for good radio, it also captures farmers’ immediate concerns.
After developing the agricultural aspects of the show, Mr. Vicent focused his attention on youth. With feedback from Farm Radio, he made Kilimosound more youth-friendly by including a comedy segment.
The program scripts are translated into Swahili, and written to sound the way people speak in the region. By ensuring that the programs reflect the way people talk, Mr. Vicent says he is able to reach more listeners.
Mr. Vicent is a perpetual student. Through Farm Radio International, he learned how to help experts and farmers share their knowledge.
Also, he says, “I learned how to talk to the farmers, and how to convince them to talk with me. Farm Radio taught me how to produce and broadcast agricultural programs.”
These days, Mr. Vicent doesn’t need to mimic the intonations of Salim Kikeke. He knows how to use his own unique voice to successfully share stories from the field.
Paul Vicent is the host of Kilimosound on 104.3 Kings FM in the Southern Highlands, Tanzania. Kilimosound is heard every Saturday at 13:00 PM. Tune in live, or online at https://tunein.com/radio/Kings-FM-1043-s263641/. Kings FM is a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner. If you would like to learn more about becoming a FRI partner, please see Farm Radio International’s Guide to resources and Partnership agreement here: farmradio.fm