Broadcasting has had an outstanding position particularly with reference to informal teaching because of its wide and vast range of viewers and listeners. It is seen as potential solution to the problems, inadequacies and certain ills of education (Tankard & Verner, 2005). The evidence of the growing „Digital divide‟ and reports of inadequate infrastructure and teaching/learning facilities in developing countries prompt educators to take a fresh look at radio, especially, as a medium to provide outreach and access to as many people as possible. To this end, community radio has been recognized as a particularly successful low cost medium for education (Reddi, 2003).
Radio has become a potential means for scientific education, political enlightenment and socio-cultural progress. It is a major channel for empowering people. Thomas (2001) states that radio is still the only medium through which educators can reach a mass audience simultaneously and at a relatively low cost. In Vyas‟ (2002:5) estimation, radio is a mass medium “can be an effective medium in reaching out quality education and training to the needy ones.” Its use to spread information to many people saves time, energy,
According to Karikari (1994), radio, especially, has a strategic place of ensuring mass education for social awareness and cultural enlightenment. “The value of radio as the most economical instrument over other technologies of instruction is a universal given” (Obeng-Quaidoo cited in Karikari 1994a:3). Indeed, with its greater interactive facility, radio can facilitate better interchange of views, queries, comments and modifications.
The African Media Development Initiative Research Report (2002) lists radio as the most accessible and the most consumed medium in 17 African countries including Ghana. In nine out of the 17 countries where radio listening data was available, the following patterns emerged. South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda were placed in the “heavy” listening category since their registered weekly reach figures were 90%+. “Medium” listening countries which registered weekly reach figures of 70% to 90% were Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Senegal, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Cameroon were listed as “light” listening countries registering weekly reach of under 70%.
With the limited resources available for formal education, governments in many developing countries see radio as an instrument to supplement education
as informal, non-formal and as a formal instructional tool or device. There are four main purposes of radio, namely, to motivate, to inform, to teach and to change behaviour (Ansah 1985). Although various studies have identified problems and difficulties about the use of radio for education and literacy, radio still receives universal support for its continuous utilisation (Vyas, 2002; Quarmyne, 1985). Its supporters have called for the reorientation of programmes and organisation to improve the contribution it makes to education and development. Radio can be harnessed and co-operatively mobilised for dispensing public information, for prosecuting a community‟s social advancement and educational development among its audience.
When radio as technology was imported into Africa, it came with certain programming patterns with much emphasis placed on entertainment (Ansah: 1994). For this reason, it created the impression that radio was meant solely for entertainment although in many African countries, radio was used in promoting formal education and general functional social education. Other areas that have benefited from radio are agriculture, health, nutrition, civic education, environmental protection and family planning programmes. To this end, “…the whole orientation of broadcasting is nearly everywhere shifting from the concept of „entertainment…to that of education in the broadest possible sense of the word” (Rosalynde Ainslie cited in Ansah 1994:23).
According to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) (1992:38), a campus radio station is defined as a station “owned or controlled by a not-for-profit organization associated with a post-secondary educational institution.” Similarly, the National Communications Authority (NCA) of Ghana also defines a campus radio station as “a station owned and controlled by a tertiary institution to enhance its academic work and administration in its bid to provide quality education” (NCA 1: nd). The guidelines of the NCA also highlight the central function of a campus radio station. Through its programming, it will be expected to “provide a tool for academic work, training and general administration of the particular tertiary educational institution” (NCA, 1: nd). Two types of campus stations are defined in the guidelines. A campus radio station has programming “produced by volunteers who are either students or members of the community at large.” On the other hand, an instructional radio station has “the training of professional broadcasters as its primary objective.” It is the NCA‟s definition especially, the purpose of a campus radio station in enhancing teaching and learning which provided the basis for this research.
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