Solving the community media problems of the future

Journalist and Volume co-founder Paul McNally went on a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 2016 to research how to improve community radio in Africa. He gathered a wealth of information from the folk at The Nieman Foundation and MIT and returned to South Africa to try and implement a way to fix a news problem for millions of radio listeners who are often incredibly poor and based in hard to reach areas. There was very little news being served to these people and the sector was in severe financial trouble.

McNally met Roland Perold in June 2017. Perold had worked in product development for several years and was fascinated with the idea of using technology to improve news distribution in Africa.

Together they founded Volume and incubated their ideas and passion as one of the first cohort of JAMLab fellows, at Tshimologong technology and innovation precinct in Johannesburg.

In December 2017 they won a grant from The South African Innovation Media Programme. They were chosen as one of the best media innovations in the country from 100s of entries. Since then Volume has grown, taking on some of the biggest international NGOs as clients, and working with over 34 community radio stations across South Africa that reaches an estimate of 2,225,000 listeners.

Our Mission

We want to improve the lives of the 8 million rural and semi-rural South Africans who get their daily news from the community radio stations operating throughout the country.

We aim to do this through:

  • Upskilling community radio journalists, editors, and presenters.

  • Giving community radio stations access to better content management and editorial systems.

  • Helping community radio stations access high-quality content that is meaningful to their listeners.

  • Improving news and current affairs content developed by community radio stations and encouraging investigative journalism at a local level. 

  • Giving local reporters a platform to reach mainstream media and get better recognition and distribution for their work.

  • Making community radio stations more sustainable through increasing their access to ad revenue.

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