The role of community radio in the implementation of county development programs in Vihiga County, Kenya
Bongo, David Ngoseywi
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The media is critical to the development process because it provides appropriate knowledge and effective communication tools necessary for influencing and modifying human attitudes and behavior. Media is a catalyst for social change and a necessary component of interventions aimed at achieving sustainable development. The inception of Counties in 2010 by the Constitution of Kenya has seen the establishments of county development programs, as counties have been seen as agents of development. Vihiga County has several community radios broadcasting in various local dialects aimed at sensitizing and informing the public on county development programs. Despite the development of community radio, it is not clear how the counties and community radios have collaborated to disseminate county development programs hence the need to assess whether these development programs are disseminated to the public through the community radio stations. This study investigated the role of community radio on the implementation of county development programs. Specifically, the study hoped to identify the role of radio programmes by the community radios on the implementation of county development programs in the Vihiga county. Secondly, to establish the role of audience involvement in community radio programmes on implementation of development in Vihiga County. Thirdly, to establish the challenges facing community radios and their effect on implementation of development programs in Vihiga County. This study was guided by the development communication theory and participatory communication theory. To understand the role of community radio stations, the study used a descriptive case design. Glenn Israel‘s sampling formula (1992) was used to calculate the sample size for the general public from a population of 33,654 and a multistage cluster sampling procedure was used to administer the questionnaires. Purposive sampling was used to sample three registered community radios in Vihiga county while twelve county government officers (CGOs) and six community radio staff (CRS) were sampled from populations of 118 and 60 respectively using 10% of Mugenda and Mugenda (2014) formula. Six CRS, two from each community radio were sampled purposively and interviewed. Additionally, twelve CGOs were sampled purposively and interviewed. Qualitative data was gathered through interviews, analyzed thematically and reported verbatim. Quantitative data was analyzed using tables and charts. Face and content validity of the instruments was ascertained through expert opinion. Reliability was ascertained through Cronbach‘s Alpha of 0.699 thus instruments were deemed reliable. The study revealed as follows; firstly, that there are community radios to which most of the people listened to (73.8%) and that most of the programmes aired were not on development (59.8%) and neither did the programmes sensitize people on county development (62.6%) nor did the CGOs use community radio to engage people on development (67.8%). Secondly, majority of the listeners were not involved in the radio programmes design (77.3%) and that the community radio stations occasionally communicated county development programs (50.2%). Third, majority of the respondents agreed that most community radios lacked financial support for airing local content (69.3%) and hire competent personnel (69.0%). The Study recommended that the county should design a framework of engagement with community radios through integrating communication via Community radios during programs implementation. The findings of the study may help County Government of Vihiga develop effective framework of engagement with community radios through development of policies. The study has provided data on the importance of community radios stations and their effectiveness in enhanced programs implementation.