Radio: A Tool for Social Change and Global Development

Radio: A Tool for Social Change and Global Development . This research seeks to examine radio as a powerful tool that creates positive change globally. Through broadcasting, individuals and organizations are able to reach large audiences with messages of empowerment, education and social justice.

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2.0 Introduction

This chapter presents a review of related literature to properly situate the core of this research work. It explores various views and analysis of communication, development in relation to empowerment, radio and development in Nigeria as well as its effectiveness in empowering people to take to better improve their wellbeing. This chapter also explores the place of participation in sustainable development.

2.1 Conceptual Overview of Communication

Communication in development discourse has gained prominence over the past years. It involves the design and dissemination of messages targeted at significant segment of the society. These messages are useful and meaningful ideas, facts, data, pictures which are simple and clear enough to inform, motivate and educate people about poverty reduction and wealth creation. According to Mboho and Batta (2012:197), “the purpose of communicating is to increase knowledge, modify attitudes and encourage the practice of specific groups in the society in order to assist them to take decisions”. These scholars view communication as a functional social process which is meant to improve the general well being of man. 

Goran Hedebro (1985:5) describes communication as “a situation where messages are transmitted between institutions, people and the media irrespective of whether there is a feedback or not”. Hedebro’s perspective sees communication as a product which does not require feedback, as long as the information is delivered, communication has taken place. This type of communication is antithetical to development as it exemplifies the top down approach of the dominant paradigm. When communication is viewed as a product, the opinion and perspectives of the people are not taken into consideration. The receivers consume whatever information thrown at them without having a say in deciding what they want. 

On the contrary, Moore and Kalaup (2007:11) opine that “Communication is that essential tool for mutual understanding that promotes the straight forward interchange of ideas and concepts between persons- sender and receiver”. This implies that inherent in communication is an adaptable tool that must be used as a two-way process that is a prerequisite for understanding and accepting an intended message. Wilbur Schramm (1964) noted that the flow of news among nations is thin, and as such much attention is given to developed countries and little to lessdeveloped. Consequently, important events are ignored and realities are distorted.

 From a more radical perspective, Herbert Schiller (1969) observes that developing countries had little meaningful input in decisions about media frequency allocations for satellites at a key meeting in Geneva in 1963 pointing out that many satellites had military applications. Intelsat was set up for international co-operation in satellite communication that was also dominated by the United States. In the 1970s, these and other issues were taken up by the Non-Aligned Movement  made up of about 77 countries and debated within the United Nations to counter Media Imperialism by creating an information order that gives a more balanced view of developing countries than has generally been by Western press coverage. The UNESCO sponsored a campaign called ‘The New World Information and Communication Order’ (NWICO) under the chairmanship of Sean Mac-Bride in 1978. The UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity of 2005 put into effect some of the goals of NWICO, especially as regard to the unbalanced global flow of mass media information.

  It is worthy of note that communication is not restricted to the dissemination of messages alone as pointed out by MacBride (1980) but rather, it should also center on involving people in the diagnosis of needs, the design and implementation of selected activities. Hence, for communication to be complete, the receiver must react to the message and then decide its acceptance or otherwise on the same pedestal as the initiator of the message. At this point, there is a horizontal and cross-fertilization of ideas which is fulcrum of every people centered development. 


This study was carried out to evaluate audience participation in all processes of designing of messages on Kalubale programme for their own development. Programme geared towards community empowerment requires the active participation of the target audience from the inception to the evaluation stage. This will enable listeners to own the programme and thereby impacting positively on them.

Media houses should not be too profit-minded but always bearing in mind that when target audiences are at the fore front of designing content of empowerment programme in the atmosphere of equality and love, the aim of the programme will be achieved. Therefore, there is need for media practitioners to understand and evaluate radio programmes with respect to audience as this can influence better reception of developmental messages, create positive public awareness and as well help listeners to make efforts in making decisions that will aid positive behaviours. Kalubale programme will achieve its aim in sustaining community empowerment when the target audiences are at the centre of initiating and taking decisions about the programmme


Based on the findings in this study, the following recommendations are made:

  • Producers should make Kalubale radio programme debatable by sampling opinions through vox pop on the topic to be discussed in the programme. It will enable audience to participate fully in the programme 
  • Topics to be discussed should align with the contemporary needs of the people  iii. Phone-in should be included in the programme apart from SMS. This will give room for more participation
  • Recorded version of the programme should be made available so that it can be replayed for the benefits of audience who missed out in the programme when it was aired live.
  • The study has shown that sharing of information is not tantamount to development but that the need to involve audiences at all stages of Kalubale is crucial as far as community empowerment is concerned.
  • The study has shown that when the timing of the programme is re-scheduled and the feedback mechanism is put in place, participation of audiences in the programme will be enhanced.

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