Set up three years ago through a fund by Hivos and Twaweza, TRAC FM provides software that provides radio stations with a platform from which listeners participate through a toll-free SMS.
The conversations involve poll questions on which listeners vote and express their opinions by sending SMSs to the radio studio, at the same time providing real time visualisation.
“TRAC FM engages citizens in meaningful public debate and changes them from passive listeners to active participants,” reads their website.
The software adds value to conversation on radio in that it follows up with listeners and creates a profile for all using their platform and who wish to subscribe, making it easier to get involved in topics they are interested in.
“Once you have participated on our platform we ask you whether you would like to subscribe and on agreement we profile you and put you on our database. From there we are able to follow up and see how the problems discussed on radio shows affect your area specifically,” said TRAC FM director Wouter Dijkstra.
Already 12 radio stations in Uganda are using the software, with a cumulative number of 60,000 listeners having participated.
TRAC FM now says it is working on sustainability to wean it off donor support through more partnerships. It is targeting non-government organisations to use their products on their research and campaigns.
It boasts of having successfully fuelled more data-driven debate on radio in Uganda and thus enabled a wider range of audience.
“TRAC FM is a great tool for talk-show hosts. There is more reason for people to listen if you are relevant to the things happening in their communities,” reads a testimonial from Kampala-based Sanyu FM radio host Seanice Kacungira.
Apart from Uganda TRAC FM has also worked in Kenya where it has formerly partnered with the Kenya Television Network (KTN) and six radio stations under the BBC Media Action development programme.