The Impact Of Phone-In Programmes
This study focused on the impact of phone-in programmes using “Soul Mender” on Grace FM Lokoja in Kogi Stat as case Study. urvey design was employed for the study with the of aid of convenience sampling method, 147 participant was selected in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State for the study. Well structure questionnaire was issued to the enrolled participants of which 141 of the instrument were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed in simple percentage using frequencies and tables. Hypothesis test was conducted using Chi-Square Statistical Package For Social Sciences (SPSS v.23). Findings of the study revealed that; the phone-in programme “Soul Mender” on Grace FM to an extent provides the expected feedback required of the target audience, a phone-in programme is important in the programme planning on Grace FM and Soul Mender” on Grace FM is truly interactive.Obviously, this showcased the potentiality in the participatory communication to reinforce the normative responsibility of the media of being accountable to the yearnings and aspiration of the people. The study therefore recommends that Grace FM radio should be more strategic in developing phone-in programmes in such a way that will be listeners delight and captivating as this will make the station more acceptable to its audience. More so, Feedback mechanism should be given consideration as it provide a template for producers on the best approach in determining and designing phone-in programmes.
1.1 Background of the Study
Communication is said to be the life blood of every society. There is therefore a need to know what communication is all about.
Communication as a discipline has continued to attract new definitions from time to time so that no single definition is accepted by scholars interested in the field.
Communication as an academic discipline, sometimes called “communicology” relates to all the ways we communicate, so it embraces a large body of study and knowledge. Although, there is such a thing as one-way communication, communication can be better described as a two way process in which there is an exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings towards a mutually accepted goal or direction.
Hence, the process of a phone-in-programme. Mass media are important communication strategy to generate awareness and disseminate information. In most developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, radio is an effective medium to reach the general population. Unlike TV and print , radio phone-in-programmes are popular platforms for direct audience participation to exchange views and voice concerns on issues to increase knowledge, encourage open discussion on health and other socially relevant issues and promote sustained behavioural change.
In broadcasting, a phone-in is a programme format in which listeners are invited to air their live comments by telephone, usually in respect of a specific topic selected for discussion on the day of broadcast.
According to research, BBC radio Nottingham is credited with having aired the first phone-in on February 4 1968, a programme called “What Are They Up To Now”?
Speech-based Talk Radio UK was launched in 1995, with much of its programming featuring phone-in-programmes.
Ian Hutchby researched poor relations in phone-in-programmes looking at arguments and confrontations. Using conversation analysis, he describes how the host retains power through devices such as “the second position” – the concept of going second in a discussion, giving the host time to formulate a response.
Similarly, the last word is always the broadcasting word. The audience can choose to end the conversation, but they are doing so by withdrawing from the interactional arena. Hutchby (1996) Talbot et al.
Though it cannot be stated in actual fact the date phone-in-programme began in Nigeria. According to research, it started before the advent of global system for mobile telecommunications (GSM) putting it in the 1980s. However, since the introduction of GSM in 2000 there has been an increase in audience participation in phone-in-programmes.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
This research work is informed by this innovation in broadcasting especially the introduction of phone-in segment in almost every programme being aired on both public and private radio stations across the country.
One of the problems is the implication of having a wrong audience choice which is better imagined. This would make the presenter have negative feedback. This is because there are some audience members who participate in discussions that are not meant for them.
There is no gainsaying the fact that radio stations are out to perform the basic role of informing, educating and entertaining the target audience. However, another problem is the lure of including phone-in segments in most of the programmes which are capable of rendering them elitist, taking into consideration the number of people that can afford to buy a mobile phone.
Yet another problem is the fact that phone-in programmes are equally seen as an escapist approach of getting people to participate in programmes when they are not adequately informed about the issues involved.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
It is noticed that the idea of phone-in is now prevalent among radio stations. This study is on radio broadcasting. This decision is made from the fact that the medium appears the cheapest and most accessible to the common man as the radio set is portable and can easily pick up signals from far distances.
The advent of phone-in programmes on radio has increased the pace of audience participation in radio programmes.
This research work takes a critical look at “Soul Mender” as a phone-in programme introduced to enable the public make meaningful contributions to issues under discussion which are considered as having direct effect on them both individually and collectively.
The aim of this research work is to find out if the programme justifies its existence.
This research work is carried out towards formulating a guiding principle that could help regulate audience participation on radio with a view to having a standard format that could enhance more qualitative programming
1.4 Significance of the Study
A phone-in programme could be an instantaneous way of having feedback on any given idea, policy or measure about to be introduced either by a corporate organization, an individual or government of the day. It is obviously the best form of testing the acceptability of new ideas, opinions and policies.
This study is therefore significant because it is capable of enabling the sampling of opinion without necessarily undergoing the tedious voting process. This would make the listeners part and parcel (active) of decision making or policy formulation.
The participatory nature of phone-in programme is expected to give an individual radio listener a sense of belonging and not make him an inactive receiver of information and ideas passed across by the radio.
It is therefore the opinion of this researcher that the appraisal of this phone-in programme will go a long way to enhancing quality production and presentation, as well as making it truely audience participatory.
1.5 Research Questions
- To what extent has the phone-in programme “Soul Mender” on Grace FM provided the expected feedback required of the target audience?
- When does a phone-in programme become important in the programmes planning of Grace FM?
- How truely interactive is “Soul Mender” on Grace FM?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
- Alternative H1: the phone-in programme “Soul Mender” on Grace FM to an extent provides the expected feedback required of the target audience.
- Null H0: The phone-in programme “Soul Mender” on Grace FM to an extent does not provide the expected feedback required of the target audience.
- Alternative H1: A phone-in programme is important in the programme planning on Grace FM.
- Null H0: A phone-in programme is not important in the programme planning on Grace FM.
- Alternative H1: “Soul Mender” on Grace FM is truely interactive.
- Null H0: “Soul Mender” on Grace FM is not truely interactive.
1.7 Conceptual and Operational Definition of Terms
According to oxford advanced learners’ dictionary, it is to have an immediate and strong effect on something or somebody.
It is the influence a phone-in programme has on the listening audience as well as the impression they are left with about the programme even after it is brought to conclusion.
According to Encarta dictionaries, it is a radio or television programme in which audience members can participate by telephone and ask questions, make contributions or take part in discussions about a particular subject with the host and any quests.
It is a segment in a radio programming schedule in which topical and important issues are tabled for discussion. This enables audience participation and allows the media body or outfit elicit feedback from its audience who are interested in the topic of discussion.
According to oxford advanced learners dictionary, it is a film, play, activity etc that is broadcast on television for people to watch or on radio for them to listen to.
It is a schedule of activities to be carried out and aired in a media house, be it radio or television.
1.8 Assumptions of the Study
Phone-in programme is now prevalent among radio stations as it serves as an instantaneous way of having feedback on any policy or topical issue from the audience.
The researcher therefore assumes that the study will throw up the importance of the chosen phone-in programme to the audience and media house, as this will shed more and better light on the act of audience participation in radio discussions through phone-in programmes.
The researcher also assumes that the study will create an understanding in the contributions of phone-in programme to the technicalities that make up the act of communication as a whole.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
In Nigeria, there are various radio stations that air phone-in programmes either as a segment in a programme or as a whole phone-in programme. It is therefore impossible to study the whole radio houses in Nigeria. Therefore the researcher decided to study Grace 95.5 FM in Lokoja, Kogi state.
The said station airs five phone-in programmes. The researcher in her discretion picked “Soul Mender”, a phone-in programme aired every Wednesday between the hours of 10pm-12 midnight which tackles relationship problems as it affects everyday living. This will be the limit of this research work.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This study focused on the impact of phone-in programmes using “Soul Mender” on Grace FM Lokoja in Kogi Stat as case Study. The research work took a critical look at “Soul Mender” as a phone-in programme introduced to enable the public make meaningful contributions to issues under discussion which are considered as having direct effect on them both individually and collectively.
The research work found out if the programme justifies its existence. This research work is carried out towards formulating a guiding principle that could help regulate audience participation on radio with a view to having a standard format that could enhance more qualitative programming.
Survey design was employed for the study with the of aid of convenience sampling method, 147 participant was selected in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State for the study. Well structure questionnaire was issued to the enrolled participants of which 141 of the instrument were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed in simple percentage using frequencies and tables. Hypothesis test was conducted using Chi-Square Statistical tool (Spss v.23)
Radio has strong potentials to reach ordinary citizens including people at the grass roots in Nigeria and across Africa. Radio remains a strong source for public information.
From the result of the study, the following conclusions were drawn for the study:
- The phone-in programme “Soul Mender” on Grace FM to an extent provides the expected feedback required of the target audience.
- A phone-in programme is important in the programme planning on Grace FM.
- Soul Mender” on Grace FM is truely interactive.
Consequently, the theory used justified with evidence that the respondents were able to relate some issues raised in the questionnaire to the issues in the selected phone-in programmes due to their exposure to it and gave a justification that the participants chose the phone-in programme they intend to participate in due to the gratification they intend to derive in it. This corroborates the significance and importance of the uses and gratification approach to gain understanding of motivations for participation in phone-in programmes as well as the abundant of mobile phones which have no doubt increased the potential of radio as a medium of mass communication.
Obviously, this has showcased the potentiality in the participatory communication to reinforce the normative responsibility of the media of being accountable to the yearnings and aspiration of the people. Also, it is crystal clear from the study that media audiences are often motivated to listen, view or participate in media programmes by certain factors arising from the benefits accruable from their efforts. That is why the term ‘uses’ has revealed that participants on phone-in programmes are active contributors and their views go a long way to redefining the course of such programmes.
This is a strong indication that radio phone-in programmes enabled radio listeners’ access to experts, people in position of authorities and political leaders while participating in phone-in programmes and providing a platform for democratised debate and the engagement of the general public without restriction.
From the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made:
- Radio stations should make effective use of phone-in programmes as a means of enhancing their reach and determining audience spread.
- Grace FM radio should be more strategic in developing phone-in programmes in such a way that will be listeners delight and captivating as this will make the station more acceptable to its audience.
- Radio stations should produce more of phone-in programmes in people’s native language with rich cultural content as this will bring about more active participation to serve the need of the audience.
- Producers of phone-in programmes should note that ensuring effective programme production will sustain their audience hence the need for proper planning before getting on-air.
- Feedback mechanism should be given consideration as it provide a template for producers on the best approach in determining and designing phone-in programmes.
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