PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF RADIO BROADCAST PROGRAMMES ON HEALTH MATTERS: (CASE STUDY OF ONITSHA RESIDENTS)
1.1 Background of the study
The fulfillment of specific communication demands is critical to society’s continued survival. These requirements according to Baran S. and Davis, D. (2012) existed long before Johann Gutenberg invented the printing machine and Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph. However, there are instances where the functions of mass communication are undesirable from the perspective of society or the individual. Surveillance, interpretation, connection, transfer of values, socialization, entertainment, and sharing of health information are all tasks that broadcast media such as radio and television provide for society.
Radio is an audio technology used to communicate with a big audience. The method of transmitting messages using electrical waves is known as radio. To put it another way, sound may be sent and received through these waves (Adelana, O.2020). The term “radio” is defined by Ajibade, O., and Alabi, S. (2017) as “the process of delivering and receiving communications via the air utilizing electromagnetic waves.” It also refers to the action of broadcasting programs with the purpose of allowing people to listen to them. Radio is one of the most significant modes of communication, according to Ajibade, O. et’al (2017). People convey spoken words, music, and other communication signals to any location on the planet via radio. Music, news, conversation, interviews, sports event descriptions, and advertisements are now included in radio broadcasts. People listen to their vehicle radios on their way to work and during their free time to listen to their favorite programs on the radio. Radio broadcasts a wide range of news. Aside from broadcasting, radio is used by airline pilots, astronauts, construction workers, police officers, sailors, and others who operate in a variety of field which health communication is not overlooked.
Health communication is known as the study and practice of transmitting promotional health information, such as through public health campaigns, health education, and between doctor and patient (Dutta-Bergman, M. 2004). The goal of sharing health information is to improve health literacy and hence affect personal health decisions. The act of broadcasting and distributing information pertaining to health concerns to the population via radio is known as health communication. Radio broadcasting is the best and easiest means to deliver information and reach an audience, and it has a larger audience than television since radio is more cost-effective because it can reach people at home, at work, and in their automobiles. The audience can listen to the primetime hour of radio at any time since it used to transmit a variety of programs. The use of radio to convey health information is extremely beneficial since it reaches a large audience and is cost-effective.
Health practitioners have recognized the advantages of utilizing radio to broadcast health messages and have used it to educate listeners about illnesses. Because “serendipitous learning via radio can serve as a major mode of health information collecting,” producing and airing this variety of programming is crucial for persons exposed to health messages (Dutta-Bergman, 2004). Because radio can quickly reach individuals, it has a significant influence on their lives. The prime time hour of radio broadcast is also convenient for listeners, therefore it may be a major success for the radio broadcast and has the potential to shape individual behavior in health-related subjects.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The necessity of successful health message transmission to the general public has prompted health communicators, educators, and advocates to research and use social media and other forms of mass media. Recent study has uncovered how people really interact with health information and how they like to interact with health information. This is because one of the fundamental goals of public health is to effectively communicate health information to individuals and communities. Individuals, groups, and societies may all benefit from timely and accurate communication. Individuals’ awareness, knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, abilities, and commitment to behavior change can all be affected by effective health communication (Nguyen & Bellamy, 2006).
When creating health education campaigns, health educators and professionals frequently use a diverse strategy to bridge the gap between real and desired means of vital health information acquisition. In addition to face-to-face programming, health education campaigns frequently include television advertising, Internet programs, radio broadcasts, and public service announcements.
However New technologies have evolved in the recent decade, leaving radio underused in the realm of health teaching and promotion. Though radio announcements and programs are still often used in health education campaigns, health communication practitioners and scholars are increasingly focusing on the growing availability of health information on the Internet. With the advancement of technology, little study has lately been undertaken on the usefulness of a community-based health education radio broadcast. Thus against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine public perception of radio broadcast programmes on health matters.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine public perception of radio broadcast programmes on health matters. Specifically the study sought to:
1. Compare individuals’ actual and preferred methods of obtaining health messages;
2. Ascertain the extent at which health messages are communicated through radio broadcast.
3. Determine if the radio is an effective method to increase health knowledge and intentions to change health behavior.
4. Investigate the factors contributing to an individual’s preferred radio source of health information.
1.4 Research Questions
The research is guided by the following research question:
1. What are the actual and preferred methods of obtaining health messages?
2. What is the extent at which health messages are communicated through radio broadcast?
3. Is radio an effective method to increase health knowledge and intentions to change health behavior?
4. What are the factors contributing to an individual’s preferred radio source of health information?
1.5 Significance of the study
Findings from the study would have both empirical and practical significance. Practically, it will contribute to the articulation of radio broadcast usage in sharing healthcare information and shaping health belief of community audience. Practically the study will serve as a document for government and non-governmental organizations, policy makers and healthcare professionals on the need to regulate the credibility of health information shared on radio presentations. Additionally, the result of the study will serve as a data base to mass communication researchers who may be interested in learning the global healthcare infodemic. Empirically, the study will serve as reference material to both scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on public perception of radio broadcast programmes on health matters. The study will compare individuals’ actual and preferred methods of obtaining health messages. It will ascertain the extent at which health messages are communicated through radio broadcast. It will determine if the radio is an effective method to increase health knowledge and intentions to change health behavior. It will investigate the factors contributing to an individual’s preferred radio source of health information. The study is however delimited Onitsha Resident in Anambra State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
This research project, like all human endeavors, had some challenges that threatened to derail the study’s completion. One of the reasons is that the time allotted for this work was so limited that the researcher did not have enough time to complete the task thoroughly. During data collection, the researcher also had to put forth extra effort to understand the respondents’ interview schedules, several of whom fell into the incomprehensible age group. Also, there were financial and transportation constraints to deal with. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, interview).
1.8 Definition of terms
Radio: Radio is an audio device for passing messages to a large audience. Radio involves the process by which messages are sent through electrical waves.
Public Health Behavior: Health behaviors are actions individuals take that affect their health. They include actions that lead to improved health, such as eating well and being physically active, and actions that increase one’s risk of disease, such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and risky sexual behavior.
Health Communication: Health communication is the study and practice of communicating promotional health information, such as in public health campaigns, health education, and between doctor and patient. The purpose of disseminating health information is to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
Adelana, O. 2020 (2020) Nigeria, Radio Dramas are set to Burst Myths around COVID-19, Retrieved from: https://www.wsscc.org/media/ resources/nigeria-radio-dramas-are-setbust-myths-around-covid-19
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Nguyen, G. T., & Bellamy, S. L. (2006). Cancer information seeking preferences and experiences: Disparities between Asian Americans and Whites in the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Journal of Health Communication, 11, 173–180.
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