The influence of radio broadcasting on rural development
This study is concerned with radio listening habits and their effects in the economic, cultural and political spheres in Northern Thailand. The three villages under study are situated in different geographical settings and achieved different levels of modernization. Radio influences all aspects of life. By diffusion of new ideas it prepares listeners for acceptance of innovations. Radio also helps villagers more directly with advice and special educational programmes to adopt new techniques at home and new agricultural methods. It makes education more generally available and this in turn affects traditional elites, who used to have the monopoly of education. To keep their position and remain the best informed, they must listen to the radio even more regularly than other villagers. Though people listen to radio more in the most traditional and isolated village, they find it difficult to make full use of the new ideas. The most modernized community nearest to the town has many other diversions and other means of gaining information, so that radio is less important there. The effect of radio is most significant in the middle community, still traditional, but with reasonable communications with the outside world. Not all the effects of radio listening are positive. Advertisements arouse desires for goods which the people cannot afford and in the absence of any consumer movement there is no impartial advice available on the quality of the goods advertised. Nevertheless radio has great potential and the Government could use it more intensively, and in preference to the usual administrative channels, when introducing new development projects.