Radio Drama As A Tool For Social Change

Radio Drama As A Tool For Social Change
Radio Drama As A Tool For Social Change




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 study is anchored on the Theory of Dialogic Communication by Paulo Freire(1970) who proposed that empowering people should not be seen as dissemination of information but rather  participatory in all stages  emanating from the people in the atmosphere of equality and respect for one another. The study employed both the qualitative and the quantitative research methods. Data for this study were generated from Questionnaire, Focused Group Discussion (FGD), Key Informant Interview (KII) and Documentary Observation.

The targeted populations for the study are: Fagge D2 in Fagge Local government and Mekiya community in Gabasawa local government areas in Kano state. 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.  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.

Radio Drama As A Tool For Social Change

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.

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.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to examine radio drama as a tool for social change through effective participatory communication for community empowerment.

The specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To determine the level to which Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities participate in generating topics on Kalubale radio programme.
  2. To evaluate the effectiveness of Kalubale in communicating empowerment in Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities
  3. To identify the factors that limit Kalubale programme from achieving development in

Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities

  1. To suggest ways through which Kalubale programme can be improved

Radio Drama As A Tool For Social Change

1.4 Research Questions

  1. To what extent are people of Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities carried along in generating topics on Kalubale radio programme?
  2. What are the roles of Kalubale in community empowerment in Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities?
  3. What are the factors affecting and limiting the efficiency of Kalubale programmein

Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities?

  1. How can Kalubale Programme be improved?

1.5 Scope of the Study

The study limited its scope to Kalubale programme on Freedom Radio located in Kano state. The programme started in 2014, and is geared towards the development of the people.  It is a live discussion programme aired from Monday to Thursday by 3:00pm – 3:45pm discussing variety of topics that include: health, socio-economic, political and a host of others. The study focused on the level to which audience participate in the programme, explored the processes through which topics for each episodes are generated in Kalubale programme. The researcher focused on one community each from two local government areas in Kano state and these communities are

Fagge D2 and Mekiya communities of Fagge and Gabasawa local government areas. 

Radio Drama As A Tool For Social Change

1.6 Significance of the Study 

The study is important because radio reaches larger audience and it is easily operated and cheaper compared to the television and the newspaper. This implies that timely information on Kalubale programme will reach its audience and audience can easily access the programme irrespective of where they are.

This study recognizes the importance of participation in communicating empowerment because it constitutes a critical part of sustainable development. Therefore, the study will help give the producer and presenter of Kalubale programme more insights on the importance of audience opinions when coming up with topics of discussion. The essence of it is to ensure that audience needs are priotized and discussed.  More so, the programme will have lasting effects on the audiences as they constitute in generating issues that will be discussed.

In addition to the above, the study will save time and resources on the part of Kalubale team on what topic to be discussed because audience preference will determine the topics to be discussed. Therefore, both human and financial resources will be channeled to the appropriate place The outcome of this study will provide a workable solution that will help the team of Kalubale of Freedom Radio Kano State to enhance the programme for effective community empowerment.  Furthermore, findings from this study will add to the existing literature on participation, communication and empowerment and will serve as relevant material for further research in any similar area of study.

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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.