The first radio station in Niger was public-owned Radio Niger, installed in October 1958 by the French colonial power. It was managed by the Société de Radiodiffusion de la France d’Outre-mer (French Broadcasting Corporation of France Overseas - SORAFOM) which after independence would become the Office de Coopération Radiophonique (Office for Radio Cooperation - OCORA). Radio Niger’s programmes focused mainly on entertainment and especially political news about Niger, Africa and the world. The information disseminated in French was then summarised and translated into some of the languages spoken in Niger namely Haoussa, Zarma, Peulh. Subsequently other languages were introduced, namely Tamajaq, Kanouri, Arabic and Gourmantché. After independence, content is mainly oriented towards raising awareness and animation programmes for development. In 1967 the state took full control of the radio, through the Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Niger (Office of Radio and Television of Niger - ORTN), established by law n 67-011 of 11 February, 1967 and modified by the ordinance n 78-21 of 12 October, 1978, which sets it as a business establishment with civil personality and financial autonomy. Since its creation, the ORTN has been under the supervision of the Ministry of Communication. It has since been governed by the ordinances relating to the general system and to the supervision of public institutions, state-owned companies and semi-public companies. ORTN makes sure national broadcasters meet the information, education, culture and entertainment needs of the public.
Radio Niger eventually became La Voix du Sahel with 70 percent programming in the national languages. The broadcasts of La Voix du Sahel are aimed at the whole nation, but most of the programmes are generally tailored for rural people (which are the majority in the country), and have a developmental approach to communication, including chronicles on agriculture, hygiene, health and livestock. Topics as important as the preparation of fields for wintering, school, tales and legends, riddles are also discussed. Theatrical plays in national languages and stories of daily issues are also highly appreciated by listeners. Regional stations were also created in all the 7 regions of the country that are Agadez, Diffa, Zinder, Tillabery, Tahoua, Dosso, Maradi.
Community radios are regulated by a dedicated office of the Ministry of Communication and are taking a great part in informing people, especially those living in rural areas. The first one was created in 1999 in Bankilaré. The aim was to enable the local community to grasp the current issues of precariousness, water, electricity, agriculture and livestock. As of 2019, 184 community radios exist in Niger, with reach in most of the country’s 265 local administrative entities. The association called Coordination Nationale des Radios Communautaires au Niger (National Council of Community Radios of Niger - CN-RACOM) unites around 100 of these community radios, which are the best way to reach rural dwellers, because of the difficulties to receive the most popular radio programmes broadcast from the cities.
In a survey conducted in 1999 as part of the National Poverty Reduction Program, the women of the village of Bankilaré indicated that information and communication are priority needs for the people. With the support of the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, the populations were assisted in the creation, management and animation of a local radio. For this purpose, the populations built a unit in local materials (without wood), and entities such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Center of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation provided construction support and radio equipment.
With the aim of helping rural people to access communication and information, the Ministry of Communication established by Order N 233 of 1999 the Comité de Pilotage de Radios de Proximité (Steering Committee of Proximity Radios - CPRP) as an initiative for the development of new information and communication technologies through local radio networks. CPRP is a mechanism for consultation comprising of representatives of public and private institutions, socio-professional and human rights associations, as well as bilateral and multilateral development partners, NGOs and other contributors interested in the development of NICTs and local radios. The objectives of CPRP are, in particular, to: 1) make local-based radios available to the population, powered with solar energy and not generating significant recurring charges; 2) fostering the emergence of self-managed local radios in rural areas, especially remote ones, 3) developing the use of national languages in media, and developing information-sharing practices; 5) establishing a network of community radios to exchange and disseminate relevant content and development programmes; 6) seize the opportunities offered by NITCs, particularly satellite digital radios, through multi-media channels; 7) take into account the balance between regions in the establishment of radios.
Private radio stations began to emerge after the National Sovereign Conference in 1991, which instructed the government of the first post-military transition to take the necessary steps to legislate audiovisual and print media. This resulted in Order N 93-031 of 1993 on audiovisual communication, which allowed the first private radio stations to emerge. Radio and Music (R&M) is the first private station in Niger. It was created in February 1994. Other radio stations are available, mostly in the capital. The main ones are Anfani, Sarraounia, Bonferey, Ténéré, Tambara, Liptako, Garkoua, Niger 24, Liptako, Faraa, Horizons, Nomade FM, Sahara FM, Tébonsey; the main Christian radios are Lumière, Esperance and Fidelité and the Islamic radio is Al Oumma.