The Effect of Integrating Mass Media With Interpersonal Communication Efforts: A Case of Yichalal Radio

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Addis Ababa University


The developing world has become home to multi-faceted socio-economic problems. Previous research findings witness that the prevalence of debilitating pandemics like HIV/AIDS have been placing life and development at the worst. Unless immediate measures are taken, the severity of the pandemic, as research predict, will proceed to take life with an alarming rate. The absence of cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS has restricted professionals to concentrate on mass education about the concept, prevention and spread of the epidemic. To this end, the mass media, particularly radio, have been used as essential tools of combating the pandemic. Yet, the effect of radio with the presence of its top-down nature which let the audiences to be passive recipients of what comes from stations is being repeatedly questioned. Integrating radio stations with interpersonal communication efforts has been recommended for better results. In such countries as India, Philippines, Ghana, the integration of radio with interpersonal communication was proved to be effective. Accordingly, this research is conducted to analyze whether integrating radio with interpersonal communication is effective in terms of developing the knowledge of the listeners by taking Yichalal Radio into consideration. Yichalal Radio is targeted at four districts of North Gondar, Ethiopia, to teach about HIV/AIDS, harmful traditional practices (HTPs) and child right to the youth and children of the area. The station is trying to redress the shortcomings of radio by establishing groups of listening students, 21 students at each school, in most of the elementary and junior schools of the districts. These students undergo formal follow-up discussions every Saturday after Yichalal radio is over. This research is, thus, a quasi-experimental study that measured the knowledge of the listening groups and matched up to the non-listening ones who regularly listen to Yichalal Radio at home or somewhere else but do not have listening groups of Yichalal Radio at their school, hence do not undergo formal follow-up discussions. By using convenience sampling, all members of the listening groups were chosen from the two nearby elementary and junior schools that had listening groups in the year 2010/11. By using the same sampling method and by purposefully matching the age, grade level and gender of the samples with the listening students, the same number of non-listener students were chosen from other elementary and junior schools where listening group members of the radio did not exist. The study revealed that while students in both groups did not show significant knowledge disparity about HIV/AIDS between students of age group 10-13 and 14-17 and 7th and 8th graders, the females of both listeners were found to be less knowledgeable than their male counterparts. While the listening group students of Yichalal Radio were found to have a very good knowledge of the concept, spread and prevention of HIV/AIDS, the non-listeners fairly knew these issues. Yet, the non-listeners failed to understand the concept HIV and AIDS well. When the knowledge about HIV/AIDS of the two groups of Yichalal Radio listeners was measured, the listener group members had in many ways significantly outdone the non-listeners. Given the attempt made to match both groups of listeners in access to HIV/AIDS information, grade level, academic performance, age and gender, it might be safe to say that the exposure of the listening group members to the formal follow-up discussions after listening to the radio programs significantly improved their knowledge about the epidemic. The follow-up discussion was found to contribute a lot to the listening group students in that it gave them a chance to search information for their discussion, better understand the broadcast messages, develop their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, pass their knowledge to people around them, internalize what they listen and discuss and see many angles of a story/an idea



Effect of Integrating Mass Media