RADIO DRAMA AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
1.1 Background of the 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. 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 Statements of 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 Scope of Study
This study focuses on "effectiveness of radio drama as a tool for social change" using "one thing at a time" as a case study. It tends to point out the importance of drama/radio drama in our society. The scope of this study would show how drama helps the society to see themselves through the characters in their right form.
1.4 Research Questions
Can radio drama be used as a corrective tool?
Can radio drama serve as an enlightenment purpose?
Is radio drama effective?
Does the audience/listeners appreciate radio drama as entertaining and educative medium for social change?
Is radio drama well-structured and produced to achieve its desired goal?
1.5 Objectives of Study
The aim of this study is to create the awareness that radio drama is a vital tool in effecting social change in our society. This work is also intended to;
State the fact that radio drama is an effective tool for social change
See how a well-structured radio drama can bring about a desired change.
Radio has a wide coverage of audience. It has also recorded huge success in communication sector. Drama is a recreation of human actions and feelings. It is a play to be acted. Drama reaches the hearts of people where real changes manifest from, hence, radio drama can bring about the expected social change.
1.7 Significance of Study
The significance of this study is to provide the society with the knowledge that radio drama is very effective and important in bringing about positive social change. Since this study intends to show the effectiveness and importance of radio drama as a tool for social change, it will go a long way to provide radio drama producer with further knowledge on how to produce a well-structured and packaged radio drama. Also, it will provide the educationist, parents and the general public an appropriate means in their quest to correcting the ill social behaviour in the society. Lastly, the researcher intends to make her findings and recommendation as a good starting point for further research in related fields in the near future.
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