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Development is one universal aspiration that has remained constant and unwavering. Humankind in their insatiability has continued and perhaps will perpetually continue to long for development. Hornby (2001) defines development as “the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc.”
The new Webster’s dictionary of the English language (1994) is more laconic in describing it as “to grow or expand”. However, a more elaborate definition as offered by Linden (1989) in Okunna (2002) sees it “as the process of change which aims at achieving self reliance and improved living conditions for the underprivileged majority of the people”. Discussing development, Ndolo (2006) defines development as “the improvement in socio-economic and political conditions of the individual and his society”.
The essence of the above definitions is that development is a process of growth and progressive change which impacts positively on the life of the people and their welfare. By the very nature of human development becomes an unavoidable desire-hence humanity’s persistent and continue to do something untiring struggles to achieve it.
Communication obviously is one tool in the hand of humanity’s quest for development. Fiske (1990) defines communication “as social interaction through messages” in this way humanity’s social interaction (which brings development) happens only through communication, communication on its part takes place through certain media. These media could be interpersonal or mass. The employment of this media in achieving communication has become known as development communication. Development communication means “the use of all forms of communication in reporting, publicizing and promotion of development at all levels of a society” according to Edeani;(1993). Among the various media of communication available to humankind in his development struggles, radio has been identified to possess great potentials. As rightly observed by Udeze (2005) “ radio is accredited with being the only medium that is really a mass medium in the developing countries because it can overcome the triple barriers of illiteracy, language and distance in community journalism, therefore , radio becomes particularly effective. Through community journalism, the development journalist uses radio to reach to the poorest and the commonest of the people. He gets them constructively informed and mobilized for developmental actions.
The exclusive viability of radio as a tool for community development in Nigeria should not be in dispute, as a nation like every other third world nation is highly plagued by the twin diseases of mass illiteracy and poverty. This according to Udeze (2005) makes radio the only viable media of communication for achieving development. With the deregulation of the nations broadcast section in 1992 through the national broadcasting commission (NBC)decree, there came a natural proliferation in the number of the radio stations in the country. And with the advent of the democratic dispensation in 1999 the federal and state government invested more in the broadcast sector with the view to having more radio and television stations to support government administrative efforts. Though the NBC decree of 1992 (and as amended by the NBC Act 2002) has no accommodation for community radio operation, the government-owned radio stations scattered across the nation have continued to prove the much desired community-based broadcasting by at least ensuring constant transmission of programmed in vernacular and in manner familiar to the local inhabitants. For example, Ugboaja (1979) in Ndolo (2006) reports that “Don manuma “ an agricultural drama programme broadcast by FRCN Kaduna in Hausa, has proven effective in teaching villagers about farming, nutrition and animal husbandry. Thus, the nation seems to be responding to the need for the application of the medium of radio in enhancing development. Considering the fact that radio does not just educate, entertain and inform but is also expected to sensitize and motivate the people towards accepting goals, there has been controversies over whether or not the radio have been utilized in carrying out the later role. It is therefore, against this background that this research intends to study the impacts of radio as a development-enhancing tool in Nigeria, with particular focus on Okpuno community in Awka south LGA of Anambra state.
1. To determine whether the peculiar qualities of accessibility, mobility and generality of appeal posed by radio make the medium more effective in community development.
2. To find out whether the seeming mistrust of the government by Nigerian negativity interferes with the effectiveness of radio based development-oriented messages.
3. To determine whether the growing accessibility of television has continued to bring down the power of radio as a tool for community development.
Scope of the Study
This study is concerned with how effective radio could be in supporting community development. In the conducting this research, the study limited its scope to looking at how the peculiar qualities of radio has helped in enhancing its development potentials, how the people’s seeming mistrust of the government in Nigeria could limit radio as a development tool, and how much the radio has maintained its developmental relevance in the face of the obvious challenge by television, which is fast becoming equally accessible by the people.
Delimitations of the Study
This study was limited by factors of time, money and manpower availability. Unavailability of sufficient scholarly materials was also a veritable source of constraint to the research. The challenges posed by these factors would limit, although not damaging the total success of the study.
1. Do you think that the peculiar qualities of accessibility, mobility and generality of appeal posed by radio make the medium more effective in community development?
2. Does the seeming mistrust of the government by Nigerian negativity interferes with the effectiveness of radio based development-oriented messages?
3. Do you think that the growing accessibility of television has continued to bring down the power of radio as a tool for community development?
Third world: A collective reference name for the numerous poor countries scattered mainly in Africa, Asia and South America, with their economies generally characterized by low GDP, income per capital, unemployment, poor infrastructure and generally low standard of living.
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