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DKY FM, Community media with many faces

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Lovik and Sehle (2005, p. 5) talk about different actors that continue to promote different visions of info-development and of ambitious info-development projects that struggle to find a role for themselves.

DKY FM is a youth radio programme that indeed uses many channels to get their message out. You could say that the programme falls within the definition of both Community media and New Community media.

The radio programme was founded in 2008 by the Fundación Puntos de Encuentro, a feminist NGO in Nicaragua, to approach subjects as sexual health, sexual identity and diversity and power issues in relationships. The target audience is young people across the country (

DKY FM is broadcast live simultaneously by five radio stations across Nicaragua, providing national coverage. DKY FM’s radio studios are mobile, moving around to find young people where they live. (ibid). The idea is that the audience, the radio listeners, becomes broadcasters for a day, transmitting from their school, the center of their town or other public place.

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As mentioned earlier, DKY FM is more than a radio programme. It is also a radio magazine that offers information about sexual health. DKY FM has created a network of youth correspondents in Central America that propose new ideas to the situation of women and youth rights and arranges promotional tours that open up spaces for reflection and debate. Besides this DKY FM is a social network using Facebook and mass SMS text messaging to promote the program and to send messages and advice and encourage debate and interaction.

So is the DKY FM struggling to find a role, not sure which method that works the best or just using as many channels as possible to reach young people? On this question I would say the latter. If the DKY FM was just struggling to find a role it could have stopped struggling a long time ago. Fact is that the radio programme is a huge success – a survey made in 2009 indicated that just 6 months after the radio programme started broadcasting, it reached 1 out of 10 between 13 and 24 years of age in Nicaragua ( Thirty-eight per cent of the audience members surveyed said that as a result of listening to the programme they had taken initiative and talked with someone about sexual health.

As written in Cammaerst and Carpentier (2007, p. 217), media can be understood both as a medium to communicate, propagate and interact, as well as a battlefield – a ‘symbolic arena’ – for the struggle of making sense of the world. This is what the DKY FM does. It is not about struggling to finding a role, it´s about struggling for the world to make sense for young people in Nicaragua. This by communicating and interacting. As stressed on their homepage, DKY FM is, little by little, modifying attitudes, changing behaviours and increasing the interpersonal communication of adolescents and other youth concerning women’s rights and autonomy, HIV/AIDS, sexual diversity and gender violence.


Lovink, Geert & Zehle, Soenke (2005) the Incommunicado Reader. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.  (Chapters by Lovik and Sehle.)

Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. (eds) (2007) Reclaiming the media: communication rights and democratic media roles. Intellect: Bristol, UK.