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Radio Broadcasts & Community Radio

Home > Programmes > Radio Broadcasts & Community Radio


Radio Broadcasts & Community Radio


Mass media - Radio Broadcasts & Community Radio - Health Education to Villages

Educate the general public and mothers about health issues through an informal dialogue in various radio formats (interviews, documentaries, quiz shows). The radio programmes will educate with the same messages as the TV broadcasts, but will reach a wider audience.


Name: Radio Broadcasts & Community Radio
Theme: Region and Country: Maharashtra, India
Partners: Beneficiaries:
Funding Need: Budget:
Duration: Contact:

Programme Activities:
70% of all women in Maharashtra are regularly exposed to some form of mass media, and growing numbers of villagers are gaining access to television and radio.  If all the available media were employed to spread timed, consistent health and diarrhoea management messages, a wider general health consciousness could be achieved in a very short amount of time. This programme will create radio broadcasts to promote knowledge about child diarrhoea and to assure the correct treatment of child diarrhoea and dehydration. This involves teaching parents how to take care of their children during and after diarrhoea episodes, including when to seek help from health professionals. Although face-to-face communication is the most effective way to teach parents how to treat their children during diarrhoea episodes, this can only take place for those parents who come to the health facilities, and often times parents forget what they learn in these visits.

Radio can complement face-to-face communication in diarrhoeal disease control programmes because it:

  • Reinforces the advice that health workers are giving.

  • Reaches those people who do not come to health facilities

It can also:

  • Help the CDD programme to promote behaviours that will help prevent diarrhoea.

  • Help inform people and raise awareness about a new idea, a new product, or a service that is available.

  • Create a demand for services. ("Ask the doctor for advice on how to encourage your child to eat during diarrhoea.")

  • Remind people what they have already learned. ("Remember to take your child to the clinic if her diarrhoea has blood in it.")

  • Motivate people, by presenting information in a compelling or entertaining way.

Radio is a very important tool for the promotional and educational components of national programmes. In India, radio reaches a large audience, and those shows which are well-targeted, researched, pre-tested, and adequately placed in the broadcast schedule become attractive, competitive and cost-effective ways to communicate new and time-tested advice.

To have an impact, longer radio-programmes (which are usually broadcast only once) should be broadcast several times. Shorter materials, such as songs and spots, need to be broadcast several times each day for three to four months to have an impact.

The steps for the development and use of effective communicative radio spots are:

  1. Investigate: Gather information about the status of your diarrhoea programme, and about radio listenership patterns in your country. Using that information, decide whether or not to use radio, whether to use free radio time or purchased (commercial) time, and whether to develop your own spots or to adapt already existing spots. Gather information about what people currently know, believe, and do about the child's diarrhoea, why they do it, what words and phrases they use to talk about it. Use that information to plan.

  2. Plan: Decide what diarrhoeal problem you will focusing on in your radio spots, who is your target audience, what they should do to solve the problem, and why, and how many spots you will produce.

  3. Develop Materials: Write (or adapt) and produce draft radio spots.

  4. Pre-test and Revise: Pre-test your radio spots to ensure that they are understandable, acceptable, relevant, attractive, and persuasive. Revise your spots based on the comments and suggestions made during the pre-test.

  5. Implement

  6. Monitor, Evaluate, and Revise

Intended Results:  
The 70% of all women in Maharashtra that are regularly exposed to some form of mass media will be targeted in the radio shows and educated through timed, consistent, health and diarrhoea management messages, and a wider general health consciousness will be achieved in a very short amount of time. The radio spots and messages will be in the form of interviews, documentaries, quiz shows, and other formats. These broadcasts will be integrated with all the other programmes so that it is used to strengthen and support other communication activities such as face-to-face advising health education talks, or the distribution of printed materials.  

Programme Management and Implementation:
Through the necessary partnership between the state of Maharashtra, local radio stations, health workers, and others involved in the radio broadcasts, radio spots will be created to educate the public and spread appropriate health messages. The radio spots will be broadcast several times each day on the radio stations and at the times when people are listening. These times will be targeted to specific audiences. For example, if village mothers are a majority of the population listening to the radio from the hours of 7-9 AM, then shows and messages about breastfeeding procedures, diarrhoea management, timing births and other relevant shows will be broadcast at that time.

Programme Monitoring and Evaluation:
The programme will be monitored by listening to the radio to ensure that materials are being broadcast as scheduled. The programme will be evaluated to understand what people are learning and doing, and the spots and the broadcast schedule will be revised based on their reactions.

Learning and Dissemination:

Related Resources:

Community Radio


Training Handbook: Community Radio - This handbook is available only in Thai.

Voices for change : tuning in to community radio [whole issue]
Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Nov 2005

THAILAND: NBC to make community radio first priority - The Bangkok Post - 6 October, 2005
Newly elected commission aims to make community radio commercial free and for the people

THAILAND: Community radio tops NBC's agenda - The Bangkok Post - 30 September, 2005
Newly elected Commission to discuss disruptions posed to radio, television and aeronautical radio frequencies by community radio

Community Radio Movement : Towards Reforming the Broadcast Media in Thailand .doc format
By Ubonrat Siriyuvasak

Guidelines for Solving Community Radio Problems - Thailand -18 August, 2005
Thailand official news and information

Reorganizing Community Radio Broadcasting - Thailand - 16 June 2005
Thailand official news and information

Government orders closure of community radio stations - Thailand - 3 June 2005
Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Rights groups and the academic community in Thailand are up in arms over a government order to close down community radio operations in the kingdom.

Community Radio-Thailand - 25 November 2004
Media experts wary of government agency's offer to allow community radio stations to earn revenue from advertising
SOURCE: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Bangkok

Community Media Advocacy and Media Democratization - Thailand - 2004
UNESCO - IPDC Projects


Asia's Community Media Struggle to be Heard - 28 November, 2002
Marwaan Macan-Markar - Asia Times Online

Frequencies of expectation - May 2004
Sajan Venniyoor asseses the upcoming public consultations on the second phase of FM Licensing in India.





World Association of Community Broadcasters

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Changing times, changing attitudes (Africa)
Radio programmes scripts in the framework of the UNESCO- Danida Special Project for Women and Girls in Africa- More

Programme Experiences - Tsunamihelp - Broadcasters Help Project - Global

Broadcasters Tsunami Response Subsite

Getting set up to receive the Community Radio Satellite (ComRadSat) service - Australia


Knowledge and Use of Oral Rehydration Therapy for Childhood Diarrhoea in India: Effects of Exposure to Mass Media." National Family Health Survey Subject Reports, Number 10, November 1998.

Examples from most recent independent evaluation -

Access: 39% of women access radio at least once a week, 27% watch television once a week and 14% go to the cinema hall or theatre at least once a month. 48% are regularly exposed to at least one of the electronic mass media. 52% are not exposed regularly.

Knowledge Shifts: Only 43% of women giving birth four years before the survey knew about ORS packages, ranging from 20% knowledge to greater than 70%. 56% of exposed women knew about ORS compared to only 32% of exposed women.

Practices: About 25% of women had ever used an ORS. Among children receiving treatment for diarrhoea, public health facilities or providers were more likely to recommend ORS or RHS (45% of the time) than those from private-sector (37% of the time). 20% of children were treated with ORS by exposed mothers as opposed to only 15% among unexposed women. 22% of children were treated with RHS by exposed mothers compared to only 16% of unexposed mothers.



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