The influence of radio sexuality information programs on adult audiences: the case of Obutwakani program on Mulembe fm
Sexuality issues pose a great challenge to Kenya’s development. Credible information on sexuality is not always easy to come by and sexual matters, though intended to be educational, are still largely considered taboo. Conclusions of a study by Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) in 2012 and an analysis of the media landscape in Africa in the year 2007 and 2008 concluded that FM radio stations have gone overboard in terms of sexual matters. In line with the above stated problems it is clear that the existing tools and aids for informing and educating the public on sexuality issues could certainly do better and achieve more. The main objective of this research is to explore the challenges that adult audiences face in their perception of sexuality issues, the appropriate and relevant disclosure of the same, and programming of content that suits their needs. Based on the problems stated, the purpose of this study is to fill this gap by investigating the extent to which the Obutwakani program has met its objectives and also determine its limitations and how it can be improved. The study was fashioned along a descriptive design, and entailed the sampling of 50 adult listeners of Obutwakani program in Mulembe FM who were selected using purposive and convenient sampling. Data was collected from the adult listeners using telephone interviews, while key informants were interviewed face-to-face using questionnaires. The study was guided by the theory of uses and gratification which is concerned with how people use media to gratify their needs. It found that a majority of the respondents who participated in the study largely agree that the content on Obutwakani program is a true reflection of the challenges that they face on sexuality and the material that is aired on Obutwakani adds value to their lives. The study disapproved the common notion that listeners are only those with little education and knowledge on sexual matters. It suggests that program managers and presenters need advanced information and training to update themselves with the current trends in sexual information programs. By considering that the adults are tuned in and are seeking content on sexuality, it can benefit our government, advertisers and media to provide credible channels for the audiences to access the right information on sensitive issues such as sexuality. The onus is on the maximization of the utilization of radio’s power of reach, and engagement not just to entertain the audiences, but also empower them as they seek for relevant and reliable sexual information.