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From: Microenterprise – Footsteps 35

Ideas and advice for developing successful small businesses

The  'A B C' s'  of  Radio listener-learning

by Ross James.

If you used radio programming in a community health and development project, which of the following comments from a radio listener would you hope for?

Radio programming works best when we provide ideas, or ‘pictures for the mind’, to motivate listeners to take action. I’d be disappointed if a listener responded to my radio programme with the first sentence. We need to help radio listeners learn from health programmes – not just listen to them.

If your work provides the opportunity to use radio you can maximise your impact with the ABCs of listener-learning. These are what I call learning priorities because they force us to learn about the listeners so that we can help them to learn – not just listen. Here are some brief guidelines for planning a radio programme to take advantage of the strengths of radio and minimise its weaknesses.

A Association

(What do they know already that is associated with the new information?)

B Believable

(Are the communication sources believable and trustworthy?)

C Change

(Can they change what they’re doing now and follow the recommendations?)

D Desirable

(How can this achieve what they hope for?)

E Extend

(What other communication channels will extend the radio message?)

F Fit

(What radio programmes best fit the situation?)

The ABCs of listener-learning bring together the many facts radio programmers need to learn about their listeners, so that they can help them to learn. Isn’t that what good fieldwork is all about?

Dr Ross James is a communication consultant with the School of Public Health, Curtin University, Western Australia. He provides training throughout Asia on the use of radio programming for health promotion. His address is: 1 Chapel Court, Kingsley, WA 6026, Australia. Fax: 618-9309 2553.

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