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This study assesses the radio as a source of health information and identifies contributing factors to listeners' intentions to change health-related behavior. After listening to a 1-hour health-talk radio program, 99 participants completed an Internet-based survey instrument. Results indicate 27.3% of participants regularly obtained health information from the radio and 68.7% from the Internet; 92.9% of participants reported an increase in knowledge and 65.7% reported intentions to change health behaviors. Participants were more likely to report behavior change intentions if they obtained health information from multiple sources (OR = 1.47). Implications of this study emphasize making radio content available via the Internet.
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Effectiveness of the Radio as a
Health Information Source
Matthew Lee Smith a , Mindy Menn b & E. Lisako J.
McKyer c
a The University of Georgia and Texas A&M Health
Science Center School of Rural Public Health
b Department of Health Education and Behavior,
University of Florida
c Division of Health Education, Department of Health
& Kinesiology, Texas A&M University
Available online: 14 Nov 2011
To cite this article: Matthew Lee Smith, Mindy Menn & E. Lisako J. McKyer (2011):
Effectiveness of the Radio as a Health Information Source, Journal of Radio & Audio
Media, 18:2, 196-211
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Effectiveness of the Radio as a
Health Information Source
Matthew Lee Smith, Mindy Menn, and E. Lisako J. McKyer
This study assesses the radio as a source of health information and identifies
contributing factors to listeners’ intentions to change health-related behavior.
After listening to a 1-hour health-talk radio program, 99 participants completed
an Internet-based survey instrument. Results indicate 27.3% of participants
regularly obtained health information from the radio and 68.7% from the
Internet; 92.9% of participants reported an increase in knowledge and 65.7%
reported intentions to change health behaviors. Participants were more likely
to report behavior change intentions if they obtained health information from
multiple sources (OR D1.47). Implications of this study emphasize making
radio content available via the Internet.
Radio broadcasting is a central and established form of mass communication in
American society. The radio serves as a low-cost, passive form of communication
that holds the capability to reach listeners in different languages at home, at work,
in stores, gyms, or in personal vehicles. The majority of radio listening occurs away
from homes (Arbitron, 2008) thus making radio a portable and accessible media
source in a variety of locations. More than 92% of individuals over age 12 listen to
some form of radio programming each week (Arbitron, 2008), and approximately
12% of the population listens to public radio at one or more times each week
(Arbitron, 2009b). According to Arbitron (2008), radio listening is high across all age
groups and ‘‘consumers tune in to one or more radio stations more than 2.6 hours
per day–18.5 hours per week.’’
Matthew Lee Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.H.E.S. (Texas A&M University, 2009) is a jointly appointed assistant
professor in the College of Public Health at The University of Georgia and Texas A&M Health Science Center
School of Rural Public Health. His research interests include lifestyle and socioecological impacts on health
risk behaviors across the life course; evidence-based programming for older adults; program evaluation;
and measurement and survey research methodology.
Mindy Menn, M.S. is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Department of Health Education and
Behavior at the University of Florida. Her research interests include the sexual behaviors of adolescents and
young adults as well as the design and delivery of distance education materials.
E. Lisako J. McKyer, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Indiana University, 2005), is a jointly appointed assistant professor in
the Division of Health Education, Department of Health & Kinesiology at Texas A&M University, and the
Department of School of Rural Public Health at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Her research focuses
on measurement and research methods related to the socio-ecology of child and adolescent health.
©2011 Broadcast Education Association Journal of Radio & Audio Media 18(2), 2011, pp. 196–211
DOI: 10.1080/19376529.2011.615776 ISSN: 1937-6529 print/1937-6537 online
Downloaded by [T&F Internal Users], [Ms Charlene Brooke] at 13:04 22 November 2011
Health professionals have recognized the benefits of using radio to broadcast
health messages and have subsequently utilized radio to educate listeners about
heart disease (Alcalay, Alvarado, Balcazar, Newman, & Ortiz, 1999; Long, Tauben-
heim, Wayman, Temple, & Ruoff, 2008; Marx et al., 2009) West Nile Virus (Fox,
Averett, Hansen, & Neuberger, 2006), smoking behavior/tobacco cessation (Bau-
man, LaPrelle, Brown, Koch, & Padgett, 1991; Durkin & Wakefield, 2009; Ham-
mond, Freimuth, & Morrison, 1990; Kozlowski et al., 1999; McAlister et al., 2004),
safer sex practices (Bradner, Ku, & Lindberg, 2000; Oh et al., 2002), as well as
healthy eating and physical activity (Beaudoin, Fernandez, Wall, & Farley, 2007).
Producing and airing this array of programming is important for individuals exposed
to health messages because ‘‘serendipitous learning from radio can serve as a
primary form of health information gathering’’ (Dutta-Bergman, 2004, p. 279).
Recent research efforts have deciphered how individuals actually encounter health
information and how they prefer to encounter health information (Cowan & Hoskins,
2007; Kelly, Sturm, Kemp, Holland, & Ferketich, 2009; Nguyen & Bellamy, 2006;
Oetzel, DeVargas, Ginossar, & Sanchez, 2007). To accommodate the gap between
actual and preferred methods of critical health information acquisition, health ed-
ucators and professionals often utilize a multifaceted approach when producing
health education campaigns. In addition to face-to-face programming, television
advertisements, and Internet programs, radio broadcasts, and public service an-
nouncements are often fundamental components of health education efforts.
Effectively communicating health information to individuals and communities is a
primary focus in public health (Freimuth & Quinn, 2004; Miranda, Vercellesi, Pozzi,
& Bruno, 2009; Office of Disease Prevention and Human Promotion, 2000; Parrott,
2004; Rimal & Lapinski, 2009). Timely and accurate communication holds potential
to positively affect individuals, communities, and societies. Effective health com-
munication can ‘‘affect individuals’ awareness, knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy,
skills, and commitment to behavior change’’ (Nguyen & Bellamy, 2006; U.S. De-
partment of Health and Human Services, 2004, p. 3). For communities and societies,
effective health communication serves to positively alter ‘‘norms and values, atti-
tudes and opinions, [as well as] laws and policies’’ (U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, 2004, p. 4).
Effective health communication is also a central component of health education
and promotion. A core competency of Certified Health Education Specialists is the
ability to analyze media and discern which form is most appropriate to disseminate
health information to the intended audience (National Commission for Health Ed-
ucation Credentialing, 2008). The importance of effective health message transfer
to the general public has contributed to the widespread study and utilization of
social channels and mass media among health communicators, health educators,
and health promoters.
In the last decade, new technologies have emerged leaving radio underutilized in
the arena of health education and health promotion. Though radio announcements
and programs are still regularly included in health education campaigns, the focus
of practitioners and researchers in health communication has turned to the emerging
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198 Journal of Radio & Audio Media/November 2011
presence of the availability of health information on the Internet. With the expansion
of this technology, little research has recently been conducted on the efficacy of a
radio show designated for community-based health education.
The purposes of this study are to (1) compare individuals’ actual and preferred
methods of obtaining health messages; (2) determine if the radio is an effective
method to increase health knowledge and intentions to change health behavior;
(3) investigate the factors contributing to an individual’s preferred source of health
information; and (4) investigate factors contributing to an individual’s intention to
change health behaviors as a result of obtaining health information from the radio.
To date, this is the first study to explore the relationship between a specific radio
show and health impacts.
Brazos Valley Health (BVH) is a live weekly talk-radio broadcast that airs on KEOS
89.1 FM. This community-based radio station is a nonprofit, non-commercial, radio
station that reaches seven counties in Texas. BVH airs programming that discusses
contemporary health issues impacting regional, state, national, and international
populations. The hosts (i.e., a behavioral scientist and a registered nurse) also
serve as the producers of the show on a voluntary basis without pay. Each week,
the producers facilitate unscripted conversations with qualified resident experts
who have been purposefully invited to serve as guests during the broadcast. Each
show provides listeners with information, skills, and/or resources to improve health
knowledge and promote positive behavior change. Since the inception of Brazos
Valley Health, over 200 shows have aired live. Through localized programming
such as Brazos Valley Health, individuals in communities are able to receive tailored
information in a timely manner from qualified health professionals.
Participants and Procedures
Data were collected from a sample of 99 adults over age 18 years using Internet-
based data collection methods. Recruitment e-mail messages were distributed to
all department heads at a large Southwestern university; local health professionals
representing community-based organizations and government agencies; and health
education faculty located across the country. E-mail messages requested that recip-
ients forward the content to students and other potentially interested individuals.
E-mail messages also enclosed a URL address (Web link) that directed participants
to a Web site containing 16 archived BVH radio broadcasts. Reminder recruitment
e-mails were sent 2 weeks after the initial message. After listening to the 1-hour
radio show of their choice, participants were invited to complete an Internet-based
survey instrument. Data were collected over a 4 week period.
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Participation in this study was voluntary, and participants could withdraw from
the study at any time. No identifying information was collected, thus confidential-
ity was maintained. No incentives were provided to participants for participating.
Institutional Review Board approval for this study was obtained from Texas A&M
Participants were surveyed using an Internet-based instrument, which consisted
of 23 items. The instrument included Likert-type scale items and close-ended re-
sponse formats. Instrument items were created by the study investigators to address
predetermined research questions. Participants took approximately 10 minutes to
complete the questionnaire.
Data and Measures
To identify characteristics of participants, variables utilized in this study were:
age (i.e., scored 0 if the participant was between ages 18 and 24 years, 1 if the
participant was age 25 years or older); sex (i.e., scored 0 if the participant was
male, 1 if the participant was female); race/ethnicity (i.e., scored 0 if the participant
self-identified as a racial/ethnic minority; 1 if the participant self-identified as non-
Hispanic White); education level (i.e., scored 0 if the participant had not graduated
from college at the time of the study; 1 if the participant had graduated college at
the time of the study); computer ownership (i.e., scored 0 if the participant did not
own a computer, 1 if the participant owned a computer); number of hours per day
spent listening to the radio (i.e., 4-point ordinally scaled variable scored 1 if the
participant did not listen to the radio; 4 if the participant listened to the radio for 10
or more hours per day); and number of hours per day spent using a computer (i.e.,
4-point ordinally scaled variable scored 1 if the participant did not use a computer;
4 if the participant used a computer for 10 or more hours per day).
Variables utilized to identify sources that participants obtained health messages
included were: actual sources of health information (i.e., participants were able to
select multiple sources in which they obtained health information from a list of
9 options); preferred source of health information (i.e., participants were able to
select one source in which they preferred to obtain health information from the
aforementioned list of 9 options); and number of health information sources (i.e.,
ranging from 1 to 9 based on the number of sources in which participants obtained
health information).
To identify participant’s self-reported knowledge and intentions to change be-
havior, variables utilized in this study were: subject knowledge prior to listening
to the show (i.e., 5-point ordinally scaled variable scored 1 if the participant had
no knowledge of the subject, 5 if the participant was an expert on the subject);
increased subject knowledge after listening to the show (i.e., 5-point Likert-type
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200 Journal of Radio & Audio Media/November 2011
scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree); and intention to change
behavior after listening to the show (i.e., 5-point ordinally scaled variable scored 1
if the participant was extremely unlikely to change their behavior, 5 if the participant
was extremely likely to change their behavior). Intention to change behavior was
considered to be the dependent variable for this study.
The 16 archived radio shows included in this study were assessed for content and
categorized using objective criteria. Each broadcast was independently evaluated
for the type of information provided, amount of time allotted for skill building,
provision of resources, and the applicability of show content to daily behavior.
Shows were categorized as being either educational or skill building (i.e., scored 0
and 1, respectively).
Data Analysis
All statistical analyses for this study were performed using SPSS (version 17).
Variables were dichotomized based on the normalcy of their distributions and
theoretical salience. Frequencies were calculated for personal characteristics of
participants. Pearson’s chi-square tests were performed to assess the independence
between categorical characteristics and goodness of fit for frequency distributions
(Chernoff & Lehmann, 1954). Independence was also observed between participant
who preferred to obtain health messages via the Internet and those who preferred
other sources. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients were calculated to examine
the direction and strength of ordinally scaled variables of interest (Spearman, 1904).
To identify the factors contributing to participant’s intentions to change behavior
after listening to a radio show, a logistic regression was performed. Step one of this
logistic regression model included personal characteristics, while step two included
additional variables external to the participant. Variance in the dependent variable
accounted for by the variables included in the model was compared.
Sample characteristics of study participants are presented in Table 1. The study
population consisted of 99 participants over 18 years of age. Participants resided
in 10 states nationwide and 14 Texas counties. The majority of study participants
was between 18 and 21 years of age (57.6%), female (81.8%), non-Hispanic White
(81.8%), and had not graduated from college (81.8%). Approximately 94% of re-
spondents reported owning a computer and 24.2% reported they prefer obtaining
health messages from the Internet. The majority of participants reported listening
to the radio between 1 and 4 hours (72.7%) and using a computer between 1 and
9 hours (95.5%) each day, respectively.
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Table 1
Personal Characteristics
Prefer Internet
for Health
Prefer Other
for Health
Information X2Sig.
Age 14.755 0.011
18–21 years 8 (33.3%) 49 (65.3%)
22–25 years 12 (50.0%) 14 (18.7%)
Over 26 years 4 (16.7%) 12 (16.0%)
Sex 0.138 0.710
Male 7 (29.2%) 19 (25.3%)
Female 17 (70.8%) 56 (74.7%)
Race/Ethnicity 1.681 0.641
Non-Hispanic White 21 (87.5%) 60 (80.0)%
African American 1 (4.2%) 8 (10.7%)
Hispanic 2 (8.3%) 5 (6.7%)
Other 0 (0.0%) 2 (2.7%)
Education 0.825 0.935
High School Graduate
or Less
0 (0.0%) 2 (2.6%)
Some College 19 (72.2%) 60 (80.0%)
College Graduate 2 (8.3%) 6 (8.0%)
Graduate School 3 (12.5%) 7 (9.3%)
Student Status 0.150 0.669
Not a Student 5 (20.8%) 13 (17.3%)
Student 19 (79.2%) 62 (82.7%)
Computer Ownership 12.143 0.000
Does Not Own a Computer 5 (20.8%) 1 (1.3%)
Owns a Computer 19 (79.2%) 74 (98.7%)
Radio Listening Per Day 3.253 0.197
Does Not Listen 3 (12.5%) 22 (29.3%)
1–4 hours 20 (83.3%) 52 (69.3%)
5–9 hours 1 (4.2%) 1 (1.3%)
10 or more hours 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%)
Computer Usage Per Day 2.05 0.562
Does Not Use 0 (0.0%) 2 (2.7%)
1–4 hours 11 (45.8%) 37 (49.3%)
5–9 hours 13 (54.2%) 33 (44.0%)
10 or more hours 0 (0.0%) 3 (4.0%)
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202 Journal of Radio & Audio Media/November 2011
Radio Show Selections, Associated Knowledge, and Behavior
Change Intentions
Table 2 provides descriptions of the radio shows included in this study. Initial
knowledge levels prior to listening and associated knowledge level changes and
reported intentions to change health behaviors are also detailed for each radio show
and included in this table. The 16 radio show topics included a range of contempo-
rary health issues (e.g., family sexuality education, defining health disparities, oral
health and obstructive sleep apnea, suicide awareness and prevention). Of these
shows, six (37.5%) were classified as educational and the remaining 10 (62.5%)
were classified as skill building. Overall, 48.5% of participants reported having no
or low levels of knowledge about the show topic prior to listening to the 1-hour
production. After listening to the selected radio show, 92.9% of participants reported
an increase in knowledge about the topic and 65.7% reported they intended to
change their health behavior. Values ranged based on the radio show topic and type.
Actual and Preferred Sources of Obtaining
Health Information
Table 3 contains descriptions of participants’ actual and preferred sources of
obtaining health messages. On average, participants reported obtaining health in-
formation from 4.15 sources (SD D2.12). Among the actual sources from which
participants obtained health information, the most common sources included the
Internet (68.7%), family members (65.7%), healthcare professionals (61.6%), and
educational settings (61.6%). The radio was reported as an actual source for obtain-
ing health information by 27.3% of participants. When participants were asked to
report the one source in which they preferred to obtain health information, the most
common sources included healthcare professionals (42.4%), the Internet (24.2%),
family members (14.1%), and educational settings (12.1%). No participant reported
the radio as their preferred source of obtaining health information.
Bivariate Relationships
Table 4 includes Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients between all variables of
interest. The examination of these bivariate relationships indicates that having higher
levels of education was statistically significantly correlated with more hours listening
to the radio (D0.245, p <0.05) and more hours using a computer (D0.268,
p<0.01) per day. Being non-Hispanic White was significantly correlated with
obtaining health information from more sources (D0.299, p <0.01). Intentions
to change health behavior after listening to a radio show was correlated with
obtaining health information from more sources (D0.261, p <0.01), the show
type being classified as skill building (D0.228, p <0.05), and an increase in
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Table 2
Shows Listened to, Initial Knowledge, Knowledge Increase, and Intentions to Change Behavior
Show Topic Listened
Intend to
Behavior Show Type
Adult Protective Services 21 (21.21%) 14 (66.7%) 20 (95.2%) 15 (71.4%) Skill Building
Family Sexuality Education 13 (13.13%) 5 (38.5%) 13 (100%) 10 (76.9%) Skill Building
School Safety & Psychology 12 (12.12%) 8 (66.7%) 11 (97.7%) 7 (58.3%) Skill Building
HIV/AIDS Awareness & Prevention 9 (9.09%) 1 (11.1%) 7 (77.8%) 7 (77.8%) Skill Building
Hospice Care 7 (7.07%) 4 (57.1%) 7 (100%) 2 (28.6%) Educational
Suicide Awareness & Prevention 7 (7.07%) 3 (42.9%) 6 (85.7%) 3 (42.9%) Skill Building
Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission 6 (6.06%) 2 (33.3%) 5 (83.3%) 3 (50.0%) Skill Building
Oral Health & Obstructive Sleep Apnea 6 (6.06%) 2 (33.3%) 6 (100%) 5 (83.3%) Skill Building
Disparities in Obesity 6 (6.06%) 4 (66.7%) 5 (83.3%) 6 (100%) Skill Building
Nutrition & Physical Activity in Texas Schools 2 (2.02%) 1 (50.0%) 2 (100%) 2 (100%) Skill Building
Health Communication & Health Literacy 2 (2.02%) 0 (0.0%) 2 (100%) 1 (50.0%) Educational
The Environmental Gradient 2 (2.02%) 2 (100%) 2 (100%) 1 (50.0%) Educational
Disparities in Diabetes among Hispanics 2 (2.02%) 0 (0.0%) 2 (100%) 1 (50.0%) Skill Building
2006 Brazos Valley Health Status Assessment 2 (2.02%) 0 (0.0%) 2 (100%) 1 (50.0%) Educational
Defining Health Disparities 1 (1.01%) 1 (100%) 1 (100%) 1 (100%) Educational
Infant Mortality Awareness & Prevention 1 (1.01%) 1 (100%) 1 (100%) 0 (0.0%) Educational
TOTAL 48 (48.5%) 92 (92.9%) 65 (65.7%)
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204 Journal of Radio & Audio Media/November 2011
Table 3
Actual and Preferred Methods of Obtaining Health Information (%)
Source Actual Preferred
Radio 27.30 0.00
Educational Setting 61.60 12.10
Family Member 65.70 14.10
Friend/Peer 46.50 1.00
Internet 68.70 24.20
Television 42.40 2.00
Newspaper/Magazine 41.40 3.00
Healthcare Professional 61.60 42.40
Other 0.00 1.00
knowledge about the health topic after having listened to the show (D0.215,
Hierarchical Logistic Regression
Table 5 contains a logistic regression model which variables were entered in two
steps. The model in Step 1 had a Nagelkerke R-square of 0.08 with a X2
5,nD99 D5.68,
pD0.338. In this step, males were less likely to report intentions to change health
behavior after listening to the radio show than their female counterparts (OR D
0.327, CI [0.117, 0.909], p <0.05). The model in Step 2 encompassed the variables
included in Step 1, added radio show-related variables, and had a Nagelkerke R-
square of 0.29 with a X2
8,nD99 D17.93, p <0.01. In this step, the show types
classified as ‘‘skill building’’ were more likely to increase participants intentions to
change health behavior after listening to the radio show, when compared to shows
classified as ‘‘educational’’ (OR D0.148, CI [0.038, 0.571], p <0.01). Participants
who obtained health information from more sources were more likely to report
intentions to change health behavior after listening to the radio show than their
counterparts who obtained health information from fewer sources (OR D1.466, CI
[1.122, 1.931], p <0.01).
The results of this study indicate that a health education radio show successfully
increases knowledge levels and individuals’ intentions to positively modify health
behaviors. While increases in knowledge and intentions to change were reported,
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Table 4
Bivariate Correlations Between Variables of Interest
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1 1 0.324** 0.087 0.443** 0.133 0.038 0.277** 0.047 0.207* 0.260** 0.077 0.018
2 1 0.043 0.076 0.059 0.298** 0.037 0.185 0.196 0.018 0.014 0.197
3 1 0.049 0.157 0.097 0.083 0.299** 0.020 0.091 0.028 0.065
4 1 0.245* 0.268** 0.039 0.053 0.093 0.195 0.028 0.045
5 1 0.163 0.178 0.152 0.034 0.093 0.209* 0.027
6 1 0.044 0.027 0.158 0.133 0.110 0.061
7 1 0.065 0.155 0.159 0.120 0.062
8 1 0.094 0.118 0.168 0.261**
9 1 0.041 0.117 0.228*
10 1 0.031 0.022
11 1 0.215*
12 1
Note. p<.05*, p <.01**.
1DAge; 2 DSex; 3 DRace/Ethnicity; 4 DEducation Level; 5 DHours Listening to Radio; 6 DHours Using a Computer; 7 DPrefer Computer as
Source; 8 DNumber of Health Sources; 9 DShow Type; 10 DInitial Knowledge Level; 11 DKnowledge Increase from Show; 12 DIntention to
Change Behavior.
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Table 5
Logistic Regression Analysis Predicting Intentions to Change Behavior
Step 1 Step 2
B S.E. OR [95% CI] B S.E. OR [95% CI]
Age 0.672 0.566 1.959 [0.645, 5.946] 0.890 0.628 2.435 [0.711, 8.337]
Sex 1.119 0.522 0.327 [0.117, 0.909]* 0.640 0.574 0.527 [0.171, 1.622]
Race/Ethnicity 0.439 0.599 0.645 [0.199, 2.085] 1.215 0.692 0.297 [0.076, 1.151]
Education Level 0.544 0.641 0.581 [0.165, 2.040] 0.708 0.688 0.493 [0.128, 1.896]
Initial Knowledge 0.040 0.459 0.960 [0.390, 2.362] 0.364 0.527 0.695 [0.247, 1.951]
Number of Health Sources 0.382 0.141 1.466 [1.112, 1.931]**
Show Type 1.914 0.691 0.148 [0.038, 0.571]**
Knowledge Increase 1.550 0.914 0.436 [0.786, 28.274]
Step 1 Nagelkerke R2D0.077 Step 2 Nagelkerke R2D0.293
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our study revealed a higher percentage of knowledge gain than percentage of
intent to change a health behavior. This discrepancy between knowledge and
intention to change a behavior mirrors the findings by Alcalay and colleagues
(1999), which state that behavior change is more difficult to achieve than increasing
knowledge. Health educators and practitioners utilize an array of behavior change
theories to assist in program planning and interventions to encourage behavior
change at the individual and/or community level (Glanz, Rimer, & Lewis, 2002).
To successfully utilize a theory to incite behavior change, health professionals must
understand the characteristics of their audience and how that audience can be
most effectively reached and influenced. In most theories, health information and
messages intended to alter health behavior are delivered through multiple channels.
The authors recommend reiterating health information that is presented during a
radio show multiple times through additional forms of mass media such as the
Internet (i.e., streaming). The benefits of using multiple channel to disseminate
health messages is underscored in this study as seen by the participants’ reporting
an average of over four sources to obtain health information. Our finding coin-
cides with those of Cowan and Hoskins (2007) who determined that patients use
between four and six sources when independently searching for information about
a health issue.
Actual and Preferred Sources of Health Information
Participants in our study actually received health information and preferred to
receive health information from different sources. As an example, no participant in
our study preferred to receive health information through a radio broadcast but 27%
reported actually obtaining health information by radio. While it is not a preferred
method of information acquisition, this percentage reveals that individuals are pas-
sively encountering health information through the radio and that the information is
inciting higher levels of knowledge as well as behavior changes. This is encouraging
for health communicators and health educators as radio advertisements are more
easily understood, more believable, and stimulate an increased motivation to cease a
negative health behavior than televised advertisements (Durkin & Wakefield, 2009).
These benefits accentuate the need for the continuation and expansion of health
education efforts through radio broadcasts as well as public service announcements
and advertisements.
The participants in this study indicated that their most preferred source of ob-
taining health information was health care professionals followed by the Internet,
family members, and educational avenues. Revealing that respondents preferred to
obtain information from health care professionals and the Internet is congruent with
previously conducted studies (Cowan & Hoskins, 2007; Kelly et al., 2009; Nguyen
& Bellamy, 2006). Our results indicated that the majority of participants in our
sample owned a computer, used the computer frequently, and preferred to use the
Internet as a source of health information. A majority of our participants obtained
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208 Journal of Radio & Audio Media/November 2011
information from the Internet and a quarter identified the Internet as their preferred
source for health information. This is of no surprise due to the increase in Internet
access and availability among Americans with 85% of the United States population
having access to the Internet in at least one location in 2009.
The subliminal success of radio health education messages and the increasing
influence and access to the Internet create an ideal atmosphere for delivering
health messages through streaming radio broadcasts from terrestrial radio stations
or through Internet-based radio stations. In 2009, weekly online radio listenership
increased to 17% of the United States population or approximately 42 million
individuals (Arbitron, 2009a). Individuals who have access to an Internet connection
have the ability to stream content from around the nation and around the world thus
enhancing the reach of a radio message. Streaming allows terrestrial radio stations
to broadcast their full content and relays health education information that would
normally only reach those within the radius of the radio signal. These two mediums
intersect in the emergence of streaming radio delivered through personal computers.
This study has limitations. The authors’ use of Internet-based survey methodology
limited their ability to identify a true response rate. Because participant recruitment
efforts for this study focused primarily on college age individuals, participants be-
tween the ages of 18 and 25 years were overrepresented. Individuals without a
computer and active e-mail account were unable to take the survey, thus limiting
respondents to those who previously had reliable access to the Internet. The rel-
atively small study sample size may also have been attributed to the requirement
for participants to listen to an entire 1-hour broadcast prior to taking the survey.
The length of the broadcast may have influenced survey completion because of the
hindrance of voluntarily integrating a 1-hour show into listeners’ daily schedule.
Because of the combination of young participants and a small sample size, these
findings are not representative of all radio listeners and should not be generalized
beyond this study. Furthermore, the data were self-reported and each participant
was able to listen to the show of their preference, which introduced the potential
for self-selection bias (i.e., either selecting programs in areas that they knew little
about or in areas of personal interest). Future research may restrict all participants
to listen to the same radio show episode prior to completing the survey instrument
to more consistently and accurately assess the efficacy of radio as a source of health
information and the reliability of findings pertaining to increases in knowledge
and intentions to change behavior. While the participants reported knowledge and
intentions to change behavior, there was no measure to assess the participants’
actual knowledge or behavior change. Future research should strive to integrate
measures of self-reported health behavior and/or follow-up survey waves to examine
the associations between radio content-related increases in knowledge, intentions
to change behaviors, and actual behavior modification.
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Implications for Health Professionals and Radio Producers
This study presents important implications for health communicators, health ed-
ucators, and radio station personnel seeking empirical evidence to guide future
programming. For health communicators and educators this study iterates that in-
dividuals receive health information through radio broadcasts. Radio station man-
agers and producers should acknowledge the positive impacts of health-related
programming and include health education messages and shows dedicated to con-
temporary health issues as components of their station’s regular schedule. The
dissemination of health information using the radio should continue as a central
component of health education campaigns; however, existing efforts of the ra-
dio should be complemented by providing health information through multiple
other channels such as the Internet. Findings from this study indicate that although
participants received health information from the radio, it was not a preferred
channel for obtaining such messages. Participants in our sample who were pri-
marily between the ages of 18–25 reported actually obtaining and preferring to
obtain health messages from the Internet as well as other sources. This finding
coincides with previously conducted research stating that individuals between the
ages of 18 and 28 utilize the radio as a secondary source of entertainment and
information collection (Arbitron, 2007). Because those who actually obtained health
information from more sources were more likely to report intentions to change
health-related behaviors after listening to the radio show, and because a large
number had access to a computer, the logical solution is to provide the same
health messages using mechanisms such as live or archived streaming Internet radio.
Simply stated, successful transmission of health messages to intended consumers is
contingent upon providing the information in locations that are easily accessible,
regularly used, and preferred by the consumer. Archived Internet streaming radio
may also be beneficial for consumers who may have missed a live radio broadcast.
Because it may not be feasible for individuals to listen to a 1-hour radio show
broadcast in its entirety, these authors propose that health-related radio shows be
shortened to 30 minute show segments. Shortening the length of the broadcast
can make the programs easier for consumers to digest and fit into their personal
The authors also encourage the utilization of medically and technically qualified
show hosts and producers to ensure information is accurate, reliable, and presented
in a manner that is entertaining and engaging to listeners. Radio hosts and producers
are encouraged to incorporate skill building into their broadcasts to foster learning
and intentions to change behavior among radio listeners. Show content should
be consistent with existing theory and evidence-based practices to increase the
likelihood of effective knowledge transmission and intentions for positive behavior
change. Radio remains as an effective channel for disseminating health messages
to the public. To be effective in increasing intentions to change health-related
behaviors, emerging methods and channels in addition to live radio must be utilized
to ensure quality health messages reach consumers.
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... with health professionals), and affective (e.g., lower healthrelated anxiety) implications [2]. Adults often use a combination of three health information sources-the internet, social networks, and health professionals [3,4], because of convenience, anonymity, personalized health information, and access to health experts [5]. The Internet has emerged as the most popular health information source in recent decades [3]. ...
... Adults often use a combination of three health information sources-the internet, social networks, and health professionals [3,4], because of convenience, anonymity, personalized health information, and access to health experts [5]. The Internet has emerged as the most popular health information source in recent decades [3]. "Internet patients" are well-informed [6] and Donnette Narine ...
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The subpopulation of adults depends on non-online health information sources including their social networks and health professionals, to the exclusion of online sources. In view of the digital divide and health information disparities, the roles of race/ethnicity and digital skills are yet to be explored. A nationally representative sample of 6,830 adults from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) was analyzed, using binary logistic regression. Black adults and adults with higher digital skills were less likely to be reliant on non-online health information sources, compared to White adults and those with lower digital skills, respectively. Differences in non-online health information source reliance by race/ethnicity and digital skills might be further nuanced by the relevant demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Increasing digital skills may expand one’s health information sources to include reliable online sources and empower adults to promote their health.
... For instance, while some wellbeing benefits of radio listening mirrored those concerning music listening (e.g., mood regulation, company and comfort, relaxation, passing the time, and reminiscence), the fact that Krause's (2020) participants pointed to the voice as contributing to their listening experiences suggests the possibility for additional benefits to be identified. Additionally, we anticipated that people might mention the capacity radio has for large-scale communication or its role for the community, such as radio's use during crises (North and Dearman, 2010;Rodero, 2020) or health promotion (Smith et al., 2011). ...
... When asked if or how radio supports wellbeing, participants spoke about its role in delivering broadcasts during times of crisis and programs specific to health. While this mirrors prior work illustrating the use of the radio during crises (e.g., North and Dearman, 2010;Rodero, 2020;Hasnain et al., 2022) as well as its ability to assist with health promotion (e.g., Smith et al., 2011); there was additional strong evidence that radio implicitly supports mental and social wellbeing based on how listeners and personnel discussed their relationship with the radio and their perception of its purpose. For example, listeners conveyed multiple positive wellbeing outcomes while acknowledging how important radio was to their daily experience ("it's a vital part of my day. ...
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In Australia today, radio continues to draw large audiences, with high engagement among older adults. This research investigated how radio personnel and listeners regard the purpose of radio, and further how engaging with radio is perceived to influence listener wellbeing. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with radio personnel ( N = 16) and focus groups with older adult listeners ( N = 32) suggest that the purpose of radio is to stay informed (e.g., news and information), for entertainment (e.g., music), and for perceived social purposes (e.g., communion, social connection, company, and companionship). Findings indicate there are implicit and explicit ways in which radio facilitates the wellbeing of their listenership. Explicitly, radio promotes mental health through broadcasts and programming, as well as exploiting the medium of radio as a public service for the community to call and rely on. Participants implicitly indicated that radio acts as a surrogate friend in their home; someone to keep them company and encourage connection to their greater community. Broadly, perceived relationships with radio programs and individual presenters, built and sustained over time through repeating listening, underpin the radio's ability to support listener wellbeing. These findings have implications for broadcasting practices as well as future work concerning how the radio might be used as a widely accessible tool for promoting quality of older life.
... ''Unlike the television, radio is everywhere, at home, in the offices, in cars, at places of business, in the farms and in the fishermen's canoes to keep them company'' (Ottah, 2017). Corroborating, Arbitron (2008) cited in Smith, Menn and McKyer (2011) say radio serves as a lowcost, passive form of communication that holds the capability to reach listeners in different languages at home, at work, in stores, gyms, or in personal vehicles; the majority of radio listening occurs away from homes thus making radio a portable and accessible media source in a variety of locations. Radio is an agent of social mobilization saddled with the mandate of bringing the people together to achieve certain societal goals. ...
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The main intent of radio is to reach out to people with a view to influencing them in all areas of life. From this, the study has appraised the extent of radio information and education and infant death rate averting in Kwalla, Namu and Bakinciyawa communities of Qua'npan Local Government Area of Plateau State. Survey research design was employed and questionnaire was used to collect data. Agenda setting theory guided the study. Findings revealed that showed moderate satisfaction with radio messages on infant death rate, extremely low information and education on child mortality and ineffective of the messages on the women. The study concluded that radio has not been doing enough as regards provision of information and education on infant death in Bakinciyawa, Kwalla and Namu communities of Qua'npan Local Government Area of Plateau State. The study recommended, among others, that radio needs to do more on provision of information and education on infant death rate.
... Television has the advantage of utilizing attractive visual aids in the form of videos and animations to deliver health information, which can attract the viewers' interest more easily than magazines, newspapers, or the radio. Nevertheless, a study conducted by Jacobs et al. [23] found that some individuals still prefer seeking information from printed media such as books, brochures, and magazines; while others still use the radio as a source of information [24]. These arguments support the finding of a positive correlation between knowledge about contraception and the use of different types of media as trusted sources of information. ...
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Objective: Rapid population growth has been a problem in Indonesia for several decades. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is limited knowledge of reproductive health and proper contraception methods. The use of mobile phones and the internet has made it easier to access health information. This study aimed to determine the influence of the internet, mobile phone use, and sociodemographic factors on Indonesian women's knowledge of and attitudes toward contraception. Methods: The present study used secondary data from the 2017 Indonesian Health and Demographics Survey. Altogether, 49,627 women participated in this study. Descriptive statistics were performed, and bivariate analysis using the chi-squared test was performed to measure the association between variables. Results: Knowledge about the ovulation cycle and contraception was positively associated with mobile phone ownership, frequent internet use, higher wealth index, reading printed media, listening to the radio, watching the television, higher educational level, and older age. The use and intention of contraception were positively associated with lower wealth index, watching television at least once a week, primary-secondary educational level, rural residence, and older age. Thus, acquisition of knowledge does not necessarily translate into implementation of contraceptive methods, since there might be certain digital and social barriers. Conclusion: Access to the internet and mobile phones as well as certain sociodemographic factors have contributed to an increase in women's knowledge about contraception, but not necessarily in their knowledge regarding the use of contraception.
... Due to its ease of access, radio is well-placed to promote public health: broadcasting health messages and recommendations has been found effective in the context of heart disease, smoking behaviours and safe sex practices, amongst other issues (Smith et al. 2011). Moreover, radio is an effective crisis communication tool during community emergencies, which call for 'access to reliable information in a language that is easily understood and culturally appropriate' (Hugelius et al. 2019: 2;Laskar and Bhattacharyya 2021). ...
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Community language radio is known to provide information and social connection for community members. This article examines the role of community language radio in Australia during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Drawing on data from interviews with four presenters at a community language radio station in Melbourne, this case study explores the station’s operation during the pandemic and presenter perceptions of the station’s contributions to supporting listeners’ well-being. To situate our study more globally, the case study was preceded by an examination of press reporting on the role of radio during the pandemic. Overall, our findings indicate that community language radio has played a vital role in promoting listener well-being by communicating information about COVID-19 and by providing a sense of comfort, entertainment and companionship through regular broadcasting. Results are discussed considering crisis communication and resilience theory to highlight the vital role community language radio plays for migrant communities during crises.
... Radio broadcasting has been central to the dissemination of information for nearly a century (Hickling, 1992) and is influential in enhancing public understanding of science and in shaping opinions (Grilli et al., 2001). Science-based radio programming that centers on health education can increase audience knowledge levels and positively modify health behaviors (Smith et al., 2011). However, the scientific literature lacks practical insights for communication concerning mental health via radio. ...
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Radio broadcasting is an integral medium for the public understanding of science. Yet, as a poorly recognized health disorder, mental health was not commonly discussed in U.S radio broadcasts until the early 1980s. Since then, mental health has increasingly been the subject of societal discourse and is now frequently the topic of focus for radio programming. Despite the increased attention on mental health, little academic inquiry has considered how science communicators may navigate locally complex and sensitive themes, such as those related to mental health. To address this gap, we discuss our experiences in producing a radio series on mental health called MindTap . Using the exemplar of MindTap , we explore models of science communication and their application within radio communication. Specifically, we suggest that topics, such as mental health, are best approached using the dialogue model of communication, which recognizes the value of integrating experiential and culturally situated knowledge with that of expert knowledge. We also illustrate how this form of communication supports narrative creation, and as such, identify practical insights for practitioners seeking to produce a mental health radio series.
... As per the study by Hwang on the patterns among South Korean radio listeners, the number of radio listeners is gradually decreasing, and fewer listeners use the radio to acquire knowledge and information [36]. Given the passivity of the radio communication type, guiding people's health behaviour via the use of radio information is more difficult than in other forms of media [37]. Another possible explanation could be related to the listeners' political stance. ...
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Background Along with the rapid transmission of COVID-19, adherence to preventive behaviours plays a crucial role with respect to the control of COVID-19. However, different individuals’ psychological characteristics and risk perception result in various forms of response to preventive behaviours. Based on the Health Belief Model, this study identifies the factors associated with preventive behaviours towards COVID-19 in South Korea during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted in April 2020 through an anonymous online survey. A total of 1207 people in the age bracket of 20–59 years participated in the survey. Single and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to identify the determinants of preventive behaviours against COVID-19. Results The following factors were associated with preventive behaviours towards COVID-19: female gender (β = .124, p < 0.001), has a master’s degree or above (β = 0.065, p = 0.010), perceived susceptibility (β = .197, p < 0.001), self-efficacy (β = .404, p < 0.001), trust in radio (β = −.080, p = .006), trust in official government website (β = .057, p = .045), trust in social networks (β = .054, p = .033), and trust in family and friends (β = .068, p = .009), with an explanatory power of 41.5% (R ² = 0.415). Conclusions To flatten the epidemic curve, it is important to understand the public’s risk perception and the motivation behind behavioural responses that aim to promote preventive behaviours among the public. Thus, this study calls for the provision of accessible and credible information sources and demonstrates a public health campaign that encourages the public’s engagement in preventive behaviours towards COVID-19.
... Since its introduction, radio has been a powerful tool for delivering information. Its wide reach and low production costs have made it an excellent medium for disseminating health messages (Dutta-Bergman, 2004;Smith, Menn, & McKyer, 2011). In the context of community radio, characteristics such as being "pervasive, local, readily understood, portable, speedy and efficient" (Manyozo, 2009, p. 1) offer unique opportunities for tailoring messages to local needs. ...
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Radio-based entertainment education (EE) programs have long been a way to communicate health-related information, particularly in developing countries. To explore the effectiveness of these campaigns, we used meta-analysis to examine the results of 20 published studies on the effectiveness of health messages embedded in radio-based EE programs. The results suggest that these messages had small but significant effects in changing health related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. We also found that research methods, health issues, and exposure levels were significant moderators of these effects. These results have both theoretical and practical implications.
Health communication influences the health choices of populations, informs decision makers, and is recognized by the WHO as a “best buy.” The current age is often referred to as a digital age of healthcare and a post-COVID world has accentuated the benefits of digital health because of increased stakeholder awareness and involvement and limited physical access to health setups. This paper aims to understand and evaluate the complexities that arise in the field when designing and delivering mobile-based healthcare interventions by discussing case studies of three programs currently running in India: 1) TAMA/Maitra – an interactive voice response system for people living with HIV/AIDS; 2) mMitra – an automated voice call service for pre- and post-natal women; and 3) Saathealth – a mobile application for sending nutrition messages to families with young children. The paper critically evaluates these programs based on learnings from the field, examines issues that affect program efficacy such as sociodemographic and psychosocial factors, and focuses on the change in perspectives toward health communication in the context of COVID-19. The analysis suggests the importance of self-regulation and self-responsibility as significant contributors to health promotion strategies, indicating possible directions for building a social communication model based on health behavior frameworks.
Tobacco production poses serious dangers to tobacco farmers especially in developing countries. Previous studies have shown that tobacco production activities continue to expose tobacco farmers to health risk. This study examines sources of health hazard information that tobacco farmers in Kuria West Sub- County of Migori County, Kenya access and use in an effort to protect themselves. The data was collected from a sample size of 100 tobacco farmers and 41 key informants. A representative sample was chosen from the four selected wards of Kuria West Sub-County. Software Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse data. A major finding was that majority of tobacco farmers used various sources of information whose adequacy about potential risks associated with the crop farming remained a challenge. The paper concludes that, the sources of information that tobacco farmers relied on are unreliable and not trustworthy. The study recommends the establishment of Non- partisan organisations to train and disseminate relevant information on health hazards to tobacco farmers.
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Individuals with a family history of cancer are at elevated risk for the disease, and web-based tools are available to assist in assessing risk. Preferences for a potential campaign to promote awareness of the role of family history in cancer risk were sought, guided by McGuire's Input-Output Persuasion Model. A randomized telephone survey administered to five underserved communities assessed potential campaign messages, channels, sources, receivers, and destinations and use of the Internet (n = 101). Information sources sought about hereditary cancer and their predictors were assessed. Nearly half of the sample was African American and had annual income below $25,000. Most (59%) had Internet access at home. Few differences emerged as a function of race (African American vs. Other). The Internet was the most common (43%) first source sought for hereditary cancer information, followed by physicians (23%). In univariate multinomial logistic regression models, those with a high school education or more and those with greater family history (trend) were more likely than those without to choose the Internet as their first source of information over physicians. Our survey provided a wealth of information for understanding how to best launch our family history cancer risk communication campaign. Education level affected information seeking, and efforts are under way to lessen this potential barrier.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for Latinos living in the United States. This population is generally unaware of important lifestyle or behavioral changes that can prevent CVD. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with a community alliance designed and implemented Salud para su Corazón (Health for Your Heart), a culturally specific, community-based initiative to increase awareness about heart disease risk factors and knowledge about heart disease prevention, and to promote heart-healthy lifestyles. The initiative included messages about smoking cessation; weight loss if overweight; increase in physical activity; and checking blood pressure and cholesterol and treating them if high. Messages were communicated through multiple mass media, interpersonal, and outreach channels. A summative evaluation assessed the impact of the campaign. A pre- and post-campaign survey was conducted in the intervention community to assess whether the messages reached the target audience, and if the initiative had an effect. The sample of respondents included over 300 participants. Results showed that respondents were significantly more aware of risk factors for CVD after the campaign, and had greatly increased their knowledge of ways to prevent heart disease. Current behaviors to prevent cardiovascular disease had not changed at the post campaign measurement. Television, radio, and doctors were the most frequently cited sources of information for learning about the Salud para su Corazón initiative. Furthermore, the specific messages recalled and the source of information cited at post-test were similar to those promoted in the campaign, indicating it was successful in reaching the target audience.
Note: Republished in: Am J Psychol. 100(3-4) 441-71 (1987). Republished in: Int J Epidemiol. 39(5):1137-50 (2010).
During 1987, the National Cancer Institute conducted a radio public service campaign using a well-known celebrity spokesperson, which was targeted to teenage audiences to warn them of the dangers of smoking. This article describes the influence of (a) the celebrity spokesperson and (b) personal contact with station personnel regarding the media gatekeepers' response to the campaign. We argue that radio is an often neglected media channel in most public service announcement (PSA) campaigns, but can be especially effective for hard-to-reach audiences such as teenagers. As in any public service effort, the media gatekeepers must be convinced to air the messages before the campaign can be successful. The evaluation of this campaign demonstrates that by targeting the stations and the audience and by producing credible, high-quality PSAs it is possible to reach these media gatekeepers and gain their cooperation in conducting a successful national radio campaign.
The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to identify a possible relationship between the information-seeking behaviour of patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer with source, type, amount and satisfaction of health information accessed. The sample (n = 36) were drawn from the medical oncology department of a large city centre teaching hospital. Participants were recruited through consecutive attendance to the medical oncology department. Eighty-six patients were invited to participate (response rate 42%). An anonymous self-report questionnaire and the Miller Behavioural Style Scale were used to measure attitudes towards 10 different sources of information and identify information-seeking behaviour. The study found that high information-seeking behaviour influenced the type of information sources used to find out about chemotherapy, but did not influence the level of satisfaction with the information sources used. Healthcare professionals were the most frequently used sources of information, but the majority of the sample used a variety of information sources. The Internet was the most frequently used mass media source of information (50% of the sample), especially by those under 50 years old (P = 0.033). Patients’ behavioural signature needs to be considered when addressing their information needs. Oncology services need to provide patients with details of recommended high-quality websites to access for information about their chemotherapy.
The usual test that a sample comes from a distribution of given form is performed by counting the number of observations falling into specified cells and applying the $\chi^2$ test to these frequencies. In estimating the parameters for this test, one may use the maximum likelihood (or equivalent) estimate based (1) on the cell frequencies, or (2) on the original observations. This paper shows that in (2), unlike the well known result for (1), the test statistic does not have a limiting $\chi^2$-distribution, but that it is stochastically larger than would be expected under the $\chi^2$ theory. The limiting distribution is obtained and some examples are computed. These indicate that the error is not serious in the case of fitting a Poisson distribution, but may be so for the fitting of a normal.
While mass media campaigns have been shown to contribute to reductions in smoking prevalence, little research has been undertaken on the effectiveness of radio advertising as a communication medium. This is despite radio being less expensive and having greater reach than television in some low and middle income countries. We aimed to explore the potential of radio as an adjunct or alternative to televised campaigns by comparing reactions to a radio anti-smoking ad with three televised anti-smoking ads, all of which communicated the serious health consequences of smoking in an emotionally evocative way. In pre-exposure interviews, 18-59-year-old daily smokers (n = 306) were asked to listen to a particular radio time slot/watch a particular television program that they usually listened to/watched, in which the ad was broadcast. Post-exposure interviews were conducted within 3 days of exposure and measured recall, recognition, emotional and cognitive responses, and intentions to quit smoking. Findings indicate that the radio ad showed similar or slightly higher levels than a concurrently aired television ad on understanding (radio: 96%; television: 95%), believability (radio: 89%; television: 90%), concern about smoking (both 77%) and motivation to quit (radio: 51%; television: 45%), and significantly higher levels of unprompted recall (radio: 20%; television: 6%). It also compared well against two subsequent anti-smoking television ads. Emotionally evocative radio advertising may be an effective adjunct or alternative to television advertising in jurisdictions where there are substantial limits on funds available for airing these campaigns, or where the reach of radio outstrips television.