Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Audiences Perceptions of Informative Programs at Jimma Fana FM 98.1 in Jimma, Ethiopia

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Audiences Perceptions of Informative Programs at Jimma Fana FM 98.1 in Jimma, Ethiopia

Article excerpt

Introduction

Media play a powerful role in people's lives, and they play roles in the formulation of images and beliefs of people (Galtung and Ruge, 1965). Mughees (1997) calls the social and political images created by media as "pictures in our heads" as media images enable people to have frequent and meaningful interactions with society (Mughees, 1991).

All types of media function as socialization agents, and different media individually and collectively work to shape perceptions and communication directly or indirectly (Croteau, Hoynes and Milan, 2009). However, among the different types of media, scholars spent time researching the impact that television has had on personal and societal perceptions which is largely due to the rapid growth of the television industry and its pervasiveness in everyday life (Croteau, Hoynes and Milan, 2009).

Meanwhile, Jimma Fana FM 98.1 radio station covers all districts found in (Jimma zone) Illu Ababora, East Wellega, and Yem in the special district of the South Nations Nationalities People Regional State, a partial Dawuro zone, Hadiya zone and Kafa zone. The radio station transmits news, entertainment, informative and advertisement programs for the community by addressing social, economic and political issues 48 hours per week in Afan Oromo and Amharic languages consisting of approximately 5.5 to 6 million people. Form the foregoing discussion an understand is realized that Fana FM 98.1 radio station has effects on its audiences, although it appears that there is a dearth of studies conducted on impacts and influences of the radio station on its audiences in Jimma town, thus, this presentation was based on this general background.

Statement of the Problem

People form perceptions according to what the media presents to them (McCombs & Maxwell, 2005; Windahl & Signitzer, 1992) though different factors such as past experience, cultural expectations, motivations, moods, needs and attitudes that influence their perceptions (Severin,2001). A number of studies have been conducted in other countries related to media perceptions. For instance, Matthes (2011) conducted a study on the affective underpinnings of hostile media perceptions, focusing on exploring the distinct effects of affective and cognitive involvement in Austria. The Matthes study proves that affective involvement can explain the hostile media effect over and beyond cognitive involvement. Amin (2010) on his part conducted a study on journalists' perceptions and attitudes towards Arab media in Egypt. The study showed that press freedom in Arab countries and the performance of Arab journalists are still threatened by a censorial political culture; one that develops in an environment usually dominated by a single political party. D'Angelo and Lombard (2014) further conducted a study on the effects of press frames in political campaign news on media perceptions in the United States. The study revealed that media perceptions were differently activated by virtue of exposure to the press frames.

In the context of Ethiopia, it seems that there is a paucity of empirical studies which have been conducted to assess public perceptions and audiences' reactions on media. To mention a few studies, Milkesa Chimdesa (2010) conducted a case study on the role of Zami 90.7 and Sheger 102.1 FM radios for social development in Addis Ababa. The study revealed that these private FM radios have programs that are entertaining, educative, socially responsive and commercially profitable. The research further indicated that although these FM radio stations give much emphasis on educative and socially relevant issues, there is a lack of studies which have been conducted on audiences' perceptions of other FM radio stations in the country. Biset Ayalew (2014) also conducted a study on media preferences and perceptions of instructors at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. The study reveals that Bahir Dar University instructors consume news on a daily basis. …

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