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This work investigates the relationships between community radio and their audiences in the Department of Nariño, Colombia, considering Latin American and European experiences, and participation as a key element for social sustainability. The aim is to investigate whether the participation of citizens in the production, diffusion and radio management has been supported or not. Methodologically, we follow a mixed design that combined the results of two questionnaires: one, applied to 632 people from eleven municipalities; and the second, to eleven directors of communal stations. This was complemented with information provided by eleven groups composed of radio broadcasters, publishers and producers. One key finding within the audiences is that they recognize a radio station as a tool to enhance sociocultural dynamics in the region. As to the directors of stations, it was found that they didn't encourage active participation with communities. It seems that the absence of active and critical participation on the part of the audiences is due to an organizational and radio production model that mirrors the commercial one. In conclusion, these factors have limited the construction of democratic relations between communal broadcasters and their audiences; and especially, reduced the possibilities for citizens to participate as valid interlocutors in a local communicational project.