Radio ZOS of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of four women. Although this decision was not intentional when the media was launched, today they proudly emphasize that it is a women’s media outlet that deals with important and brave local topics, despite pressures and often threats.
Launched in 1997 in Tešanj, this commercial radio station, like many colleagues, found itself on the brink of survival after the after the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Many media outlets ceased operations, and many gave up due to irregular income, and Radio ZOS was reduced from 50 clients to only 10. Amela Sejdić, the manager of Radio ZOS, points out that their decision to apply for two grants at that time saved them from a possible collapse.
“At one point, we saw a public call from Google - it was almost impossible, but we decided to apply with a good idea for shows about the pandemic. We won that project and saved jobs, and in the meantime, we continued to apply for other public calls. Then we got two grants and experts' support through Media for All project - funded by the UK Government, which completely changed our way of working, and we strengthened in many ways, not just financially. Thanks to our mentors from Media for All, we were able to realize our idea.”
That idea was to launch a marketing agency called "ZOS Media Consulting," which Amela says is the "crown of their business." It was created by listening to the needs of their target audience and recognizing what their strengths and skills were. Given the large number of companies operating in Tešanj that do not have PR departments, there was a need for intermediaries between local businesses and advertising on national media.
"Through years of business, we have managed to establish contacts with a large number of national and local media outlets from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, and based on that, we have been able to realize everything our clients have requested. We recently worked on a campaign for a large company in Tešanj that has over 600 employees. It was about a promotional film that we placed on a national media outlet and received excellent feedback," emphasizes Amela.
Today, nearly three years since the start of the Media for All project, Radio ZOS proudly states that in 2022, they achieved a revenue increase of even 30% compared to the previous year. However, launching and promoting a new business idea during a global pandemic, and at a time when many media outlets were shutting down due to the pandemic, and companies were deciding to minimize costs, was not easy. Amela and her team decided to write a series of articles about new entrepreneurs.
“We wanted to support women who were starting their own businesses by writing promotional articles about them and indirectly promoting their businesses. We gave them that promotion and one chance of advertising through our media because we wanted to contribute to the development of their businesses. Through this, we realized that we were also promoting our marketing agency”.
Although they consider their agency the crown of their business, the success that Radio ZOS has achieved is not accidental, nor did it happen overnight. The citizens of Tesanj trust them, and their relationship with the community was built through brave and impartial reporting, as well as writing about topics that are of essential importance to people's lives in the community. From communal stories, to articles that helped solve housing issues for five families, to providing scholarships for socially vulnerable children and support for young athletes.
It is not news that working in journalism in the Balkans is not for everyone. The profession does not have a good reputation, salaries are often low, and the recognition of the importance of media is often lacking. To stay in journalism, you really have to love it, and Amela and her small team prove that every day.