1.0       Introduction

1.1       Background to the Study

Communication is said to be the life blood of every society. There is therefore a need to know what communication is all about. Communication as a discipline has continued to attract new definitions from time to time so that no single definition is accepted by scholars interested in the field.

Communication as an academic discipline, sometimes called “communicology” relates to all the ways we communicate, so it embraces a large body of study and knowledge. Although, there is such a thing as one-way communication, communication can be better described as a two way process in which there is an exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings towards a mutually accepted goal or direction.

Hence, the process of a phone-in programme, mass media is important communication strategy to generate awareness and disseminate information. In most developing countries, which Nigeria is inclusive, radio is an effective medium to reach the general population. Unlike TV and print (newspaper and magazine), radio phone-in-programmes are popular platforms for direct audience participation to exchange views and voice concerns on issues to increase knowledge, encourage open discussion on health, economic, political, religion and other socially relevant issues and promote sustained behavioural change.

In broadcasting, a phone-in is a programme format in which listeners are invited to air their live comments by telephone, usually in respect of a specific topic selected for discussion on the day of broadcast.

According to research, BBC radio Nottingham is credited with having aired the first phone-in on February 4 1968, a programme called “What Are They Up To Now”?

Speech-based Talk Radio UK was launched in 1995, with much of its programmes featuring phone-in-programmes.

Ian Hutchby researched poor relations in phone-in-programmes looking at arguments and confrontations. Using conversation analysis, he describes how the host retains power through devices such as “the second position” – the concept of going second in a discussion, giving the host time to formulate a response.

Similarly, the last word is always the broadcasting word. The audience can choose to end the conversation, but they are doing so by withdrawing from the interactional arena. Hutchby (1996) Talbot et al.

Though, it cannot be stated in actual fact the date phone-in-programme began in Nigeria. According to research, it started before the advent of Global System for Mobile (GSM) telecommunications putting it in the 1980s. However, since the introduction of GSM in 2000, there has been an increase in audience participation in phone-in-programmes.

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