Is community radio an effective tool for health education? Perceptions of stakeholders of a community radio project in north coastal Andhra Pradesh

Vijay Rajana, K. K. L. Prasad, B. Devi Madhavi


Background: Unlike commercial radio, community radio works with local communities and helps in catering their specific needs and necessities and works as an innovative tool in bringing social change by using the participation of common man from the community in the program. Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve. The objectives of the study were to describe the background information of the community radio services and to assess the perceptions of the rural community about the effectiveness of community radio and challenges in delivering its services.

Methods: This study was designed on mixed method approach. Knowledge about health was assessed through a cross-sectional study. Perceptions about the effectiveness of community radio were gathered through focus group discussions. In-depth interviews with service providers obtained limitations and constraints that hinder the effectiveness. Villages surrounding an engineering college in Srikakulam district of north coastal Andhra Pradesh which is being provided community radio services by the institute. People in the selected villages who were provided community radio services and the staff of the engineering college involved in the program.

Results: Preliminary results indicate that the beneficiaries found that programmes on care during pregnancy and delivery related issues were most beneficial. Drop out of trained community personnel to provide the health education was a major drawback as per the service providers.

Conclusions: This beneficial approach to community needs support from the Government to implement it in every remote corner of our country.


Community radio, Perceptions, Innovative tool, Health education, North coastal Andhra Pradesh

Full Text:



Health Education in India: A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis. Available at: https://www.researchgate. net/publication/234605580_Health_Education_in_India_A_Strengths_Weaknesses_Opportunities_and_Threats_SWOT_Analysis. Accessed on 3 June 2019.

Record D, Sherbrooke Q, Nov Q. Community radio plays a key role in community. J Futur Res Innov. 2008: 5-6.

Nandakumar S, Sridharraj G. Community Radio: Strengthen Women's Role and Changing Rural Society, through its programme content creation. Int J Informative Futuristic Res. 2015;2(5):1442-8.

Narayan B. Community radio: prospects and challenges: Study on Listeners Perception and Penetration of PSG Community Radio. 2013.

Likhi A. Challenges for Community Radio in India's Rural Development. Johns Hopkins SAIS. 2013;40(2):115-8

GMRIT. GMR Radio 90.4 FM Community Radio in Andhra Pradesh. GMRIT community radio. 2018. Available at: community-radio-in-southern-india/community-radio-in-andhra-pradesh/146-gmr-radio-90-4-fm-community-radio-in-andrapradesh. Accessed on 3 November 2019.

Maguire M, Delahunt B. Doing a Thematic Analysis: A Practical, Step-by-Step Guide for Learning and Teaching Scholars. Available at: 335. Accessed on 31 January 2020.

Dongre AR, Deshmukh PR, Garg BS. Process Documentation of Health Education Interventions for School Children and Adolescent Girls in Rural India. Edu Health. 2009;22(1):128.

Braun V, Clarke V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Res Psychol. 2006;2(3):77-101.

Mathias K, Kermode M, Sebastian MS, Koschorke M, Goicolea I. Under the banyan tree - exclusion and inclusion of people with mental disorders in rural North India. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:446.

Nirmala Y. The role of community radio in empowering women in India. Media Asia. 2015;42(1-2):41-6.

Sterling SR, O'Brien J, Bennett JK. Advancement through interactive Radio. Inf Syst Front. 2009;11(2):145-54.

Waters D, James R, Darby J. Health-promoting community radio in rural Bali: An impact evaluation. Rural Remote Health. 2011;11(1):1-10.

Malik KK, Bandelli D. Community Radio and Gender - Towards an Inclusive Public Sphere. India Media Symposium: Public Spheres, the Media & Social Change in India International House, University of Queensland. 2012. Available at: Inclusive_Public_Sphere. Accessed on 31 January 2020.

Balan KCS, Norman SJ. Future Tool for Rural Women Development-Role of Community Radio (Cr): A Study Future Studies, Gandhi Gram Rural University, Tamil Nadu, India. Eur J Appl Sci. 2012;4(5):225-31.