BBC World Have Your Say, live from Freetown
When the discussion programme BBC World Have Your Say came to Sierra Leone, BBC World Service Trust staff got the chance to work on a broadcast for a global audience.
The BBC World Service’s flagship radio discussion programme, World Have Your Say (WHYS) provides a global interactive platform for listeners to set the agenda and discuss the issues hitting the headlines.
In early December 2010, the WHYS team arrived in Freetown to produce a series of special outside broadcasts live from Sierra Leone.
Since 2009, the BBC World Service Trust has been producing the radio programme Fo Rod (‘Cross Roads - where people come to talk’) in the country.
The programme links local issues to national priorities, incorporating regional input through a network of BBC WST trained correspondents located throughout Sierra Leone.
Listeners to the programme can interact by text message and be part of the conversation.
A platform to discuss local issues
In May 2010, Fiona Crack - a founding producer of WHYS - heard about the work the BBC WST was carrying out in Sierra Leone to raise awareness of governance issues.
With a background in interactive broadcasting, Fiona signed up to mentor the Fo Rod team.
"One of the best programmes we’ve ever done"
Mark Sandell, Editor, BBC WHYS
As a radio discussion programme that tackles a single big issue every week, bringing together a diverse range of views from across Sierra Leone, Fo Rod’s similarities with WHYS were clear.
With this in mind, Fiona organised for WHYS to be broadcast from Sierra Leone:
“It was a no-brainer for me to try and use the opportunity and benefit of me training in Sierra Leone to produce the first WHYS programmes live from one of our most vocal and loyal listenerships in the world.
“It would aid and support my training by giving the national producers and journalists experience of delivering an international audience debate programme.”
Three producers from Fo Rod were brought on to help produce and co-present the three live radio broadcasts – Abibatu Koroma, Amara Bangura and Adolphus Williams.
Hosted by presenter Ros Atkins, the broadcasts covered the themes of reconciliation, poverty and hope, and the imminent FIFA World Cup hosting decision.
The programmes were a huge success. In the words of WHYS Editor Mark Sandell, the broadcast covering reconciliation was “one of the best programmes we’ve ever done.”
Following the exhausting week’s work, co-presenter Amara Bangura said “I learned a lot from the amazing interview skills of the presenter, the use of different sounds in the programme, time management and good team work.”
In Fiona’s words, the Fo Rod team were “the bedrock of the show”, providing great content and talent for the programme.
forms part of A National Conversation, a five-year project designed to promote accountability, transparency and public participation through public service broadcasting in Angola, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. You can find out more by clicking here