1.1 Background to the Study
The idea of establishing radio as a mass medium is to educate, entertain, inform, and socialize the people. The emphasis largely has to do with creating awareness, surveillance of the environment, and correlation of the parts of the society in responding to its environment and the transmission of cultural heritage (McQuail, 2008). It also helps in providing individual reward, relaxation and reduction of tension, which makes it easier for people to cope with real life problems and for societies to avoid breakdown. That radio has had a tremendous social impact, affecting attitudes and behaviour is undeniable.
In recognition of the unique nature of radio in terms of simplicity, wider coverage, bringing the world to those who cannot read, its immediacy (Mcleish, 2008), its transmission in various local languages as well as its contribution to the development of a nation, it is still the most credible source of news and enlightenment in many parts of Africa. This makes radio one of the most appropriate means of communication in any society, beating’ literacy barriers. In addition, radio has that personal touch that lends urgency to change. And since communication is the process through which one person (the sender) elicits responses from another person (the receiver) by the use of symbols, in radio programme, the receiver is far more likely to be a group than an individual. He is almost always a member of a large group – the audience. Audiences are made up of people who are different from each other, in many ways. These differences may be social, educational, economic, psychological, cultural, religious, political, physical or intellectual. This wide diversity of backgrounds, skills, attitudes, produce problems for radio programmers. Hence, the subject matter of this work – Listeners’ Perception of ‘Talking Point’ (a radio programme) on inspiration FM in Uyo.
The success of any communication is determined by response or behaviour of the listener. The contribution a radio programme can make in behaviour or attitude change depends largely on the contents of the message. In the past i.e. in the 1930s, when the radio medium was still novel, they were credited with considerable power to shape opinion and belief, change habit, way of life, mould behaviour actively more or less according to the will of those who could control the media and their contents McQuail, (2003). Over time, this assumption has become outdated. Researchers in media effects now insist that there are intervening variables relating to and from personal contact and social environment that affects the influence of media in attitudes and behaviour change (McQuail, 1993). Today, producing a radio programme is a mixture of the ideal and the expedient. Thus, the programme must have the ability to capture the mind’s eye of its audience. The producer has to have a deep knowledge and understand the people and the community he is directing the programme to. By this, he can produce a programme that his audience can feel might help them in taking decision about their life.
To do this, a lot has been taken from the Sociologists’ belief that people of different social positions will share similar demographic characteristics and would exhibit similar reaction to messages. Variables as gender, age, education, income, ethical background and religion have influence on the kind of information selected. Social categories theories takes account of the fact that the audience is stratified according to such variables of social position as life cycle, occupation, class, religion, sex etc. and that members of a particular category will select more or less the same content and will respond to it in roughly equal ways. This is interesting and will form the foundation from which this research is undertaken.
1.1.2 Talking Point
Talking Point, a programme on Inspiration FM. Uyo 105.9 treats topical issues ranging from political to economy. Talking Point is a phone in programme that provides a platform for instant feedback on any given policy or issue. It is obviously the best form of testing acceptability of new ideas, opinions and politics. Talking Point is aired on Thursdays at 11 :30am on inspiration FM. Like every other phone in programme, Talking Point is a platform for direct audience participation to exchange views and voice concerns on relevant issues.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In developing countries like Nigeria radio is still very relevant to media audiences. In some places in Nigeria, it is the only reliable and accessible medium given the epileptic nature of power supply in the country and the low readership of newspapers. Thus, among Nigerians, radio still enjoys a prominent position in the media audiences, especially since their mobile phones can be used to access radio stations while on the go. In Uyo, the same situation exists and is more so for programmes that address issues that affect the lives of the people. Talking point is a programme on Inspiration FM Uyo 105.9, that treats topical issues ranging from political to economy. Radio programmes are perceived differently by the audience which consist of individuals differentiated by gender, age, profession, social class and education. Perception tends to affect the way individuals receive and react to radio programmes. It is in the light of the above that this study seeks to ascertain the opinion of listeners on Talking Point a programme on Inspiration FM Uyo. Thus the key question is what is the perception of Uyo listeners on Talking point Uyo?
LISTENERS’ PERCEPTION OF TALKING POINT ON INSPIRATION FM, UYO
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