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From Pakistan to Austin, the Power of Radio: Introducing Samreen Ghauri

Kelly Connelly for KUT News

Samreen Ghauri is a visiting journalist from Pakistan. She works primarily in radio journalism, producing and reporting special features for the  NBS current affairs channel of Radio Pakistan, which covers 80 percent of the geographic area of Pakistan. She received her masters degree in mass communications from the University of Sindh, and has achieved numerous certificates on additional topics including gender, women’s empowerment, media, reproductive and sexual health rights, human rights and political education. She is visiting KUT as part of a program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists.

"In 2010, studying in the city of Manila in the Philippines, I discovered radio as the most effective tool of communication in the South Asia region," Ghauri says. "I developed materials for various organizations to communicate their advocacy issues using electronic and social media but primarily radio, which can reach the most people of all."

In my short time here, I’ve found Austin is a fantastic place to live and work. People are so nice and kind. I was excited when I learned that Austin is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Music is also a core part of our culture. Whether it is a social occasion, religious Sufi gathering, or piece of family folklore, music always comes up to help express peoples’ sentiments. Pakistan also has a rich heritage of performing arts; the music of Pakistan includes diverse elements featuring multiple cultural influences and strong folk culture.

I am exited to work with the professional and competent people at KUT. I am looking forward to sharing and exploring both common and diverse fields of work with them, and definitely want to learn how a community or regional media station like KUT can inform and create a community dialogue.

There’s a general impression that radio is less important, and is not used as frequently anymore due to the expansion of television. But in Pakistan, radio is re-emerging an effective and powerful means of communication. Seventy percent of Pakistan’s citizens live in rural communities where poverty and a lack of basic necessities like electricity have great impact on their lives. In this scenario, radio offers a deep-rooted but easy to access means of communication to people, and is continuing to expand.

While working with KUT over the next few weeks, there’s several areas I would like to explore and gain deeper knowledge about:

  • How can community and regional radio attract the most listeners?
  • What is the connection between radio and social media? How can it be strengthened?
  • How can you measure the social impact of radio programing?
  • How do create a bound between academic circles, communities, and the media?
  • How can community and regional radio best promote itself? And in turn, how can radio attract sponsors to sustain itself?
  • What does a successful marketing strategy to attract supporters look like?
  • What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing community radio?
  • Most importantly, what similarities exist between Radio Pakistan and KUT?

I’m looking forward to your help answering the questions as my journey at KUT begins. Thanks!