Radio Drama as a Vital Tool for Social Change in Our Society

Radio Drama as a Vital Tool for Social Change in Our Society
Radio Drama as a Vital Tool for Social Change in Our Society

ABSTRACT: This study examined radio drama as a vital tool for social change in our society. Radio is considered to be a very powerful tool for engendering community empowerment due to its capacity to cover wide audience and its easy and accessible nature. However, despite these qualities, empowerment programmes aired through radio often do not achieve their aim because media houses fail to include the target audience in all stages of designing messages intended for them. The aim of the study is to examine radio drama as a tool for social change, through effective participatory communication for community empowerment. The findings of the study revealed that the target audiences are not consulted before designing topics for the programme. It was also discovered that the programme is aired during the period when the target audience are busy and as a result, they miss out of the programme because it is a live programme. Findings also revealed that the feedback mechanism is poor. 

Radio Drama as a Vital Tool for Social Change in Our Society

Audience participation is low because Short Message Service (SMS) is the mode through which audience participate in the programme. It is recommended that audiences’ opinions be sampled before deciding on the topics to be discussed. The programme should be replayed so that audience who missed it when it was aired live will benefit from it. Other modes through which audience can participate and contribute to the programme should be devised aside SMS. 



1.1 Background of Study

Radio is regarded as the blind man’s medium. However, it has the ability to stimulate the mind. It was invented by a great Italian electrical engineer, Guglielmo Marconi in 1895 (Brittnre, 1989) and from its first tentative experiments, it has expanded into an almost universal medium of communication. It is a medium that leaps around the world on short waves, linking the continents, the nations, states, regions and communities in a fraction of a second. It brings the world to those who cannot read and helps maintain a contact for those who cannot see.

Okigbo points out the popularity of radio in Nigeria stating that:

“The attraction radio has for rural dwellers is derived from its cheap price and cost of operation” (57).

He further explains that:

“Radio sets are portable and can be used by both the educated and the illiterate” (58).

Radio drama is a dramatized, purely acostic performance broadcast on radio or published on audio media such as tape or compact disc. With no visual components, radio drama depends on dialogue, music, and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story. It is auditory in the physical dimension but equally powerful as visual force in the psychological dimension. By the 1940s, radio drama became a leading international popular entertainment.

The Roman playwright Seneca has been claimed as the forerunner of radio drama because his plays were performed by readers as sound plays, not by actors as stage plays, but in this respect, Seneca had no significant successor until the 20th century technology made possible the widespread dissemination of sound plays.

However, radio drama can be traced back to the 1900. In 1901, French Engineer Clement Ader had filed a patent for improvements of telephone equipment in Theatres. (Theatrophone). English language drama seems to have started in the United States.

Meleish Ponts that:

The radio medium has a distinguished History of turning thoughts, words and actions into satisfying pictures within the listeners mind by using techniques of drama (221).

This no doubt helps to place in perspective the concept of radio drama, which is using sound and words to create vivid pictures in the minds of listeners and which must satisfy some objectives.

Duno (2002) explains that the objectives of these programmes are “relaxation” and entertainment. He adds that local stations use drama to propagate societal norms values and systems. It can also be used as satire to correct societal ills and clarify gross misconception held about prevailing societal issues.

The importance of radio drama can not be over-emphasized because it can serve as a corrective tool for social change. In Nigeria, there are several radio drama aired across the nation. But “one thing at a time” is broadcast nationwide in both public and private radio stations, hence, it is the focus of this study.

Radio Drama as a Vital Tool for Social Change in Our Society

1.2   Statement of the Research Problem

The need to reform the societal behaviour has become paramount. The decadence in the Nigerian society is on the high side. But in the theatre today, most theatre directors/producers do not see the need of producing a radio drama. Hence radio drama has been overlooked not only in the educational theatre but also in the general society. This has made people not to pay attention to radio drama.

Hence, the main thrust of this work is to proffer solution to this problem. Change is the only thing that is constant in nature, so humans must adapt to favourable social changes for a better and healthy living. However, radio drama is an effect tool though which these changes can be achieved.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.