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Exploring the Potentials of Community Media for Climate Change Resilience through Social Transformation towards the New Normal in the Asia Pacific Region

Authors / Editors: Marifi Magsino Gonzalez-Flor Benjamina Paula


ABSTRACT

Guided by the Transformational Communication Model, the study submits that community media such as community radio stations (CRS) can transform social norms through social processes that involve education, collective pressures, and shifting people’s worldview, attitudes, and values towards climate change resilience. However, CRSs thrive on volunteerism and social activism, which make it volatile. Using the case study research design, the researchers interviewed in-depth five CRS managers in the Philippines, a municipal mayor, the head of the Philippine Federation of Rural Broadcasters, and the president of a community radio-contracting firm to determine what makes a CRS sustainable. Sustainability indicators included organizational structure, influential factors, and operational mechanisms that led towards the development of a CRS model. Results showed that CRS played facilitative and catalytic roles in these social transformation processes. CRS sets social agenda, facilitates governance communication, enables changes in norms, and moves people to action. The synergistic action of Local Government Units, academe, civil society, and relevant national agencies through block time and community programs with guidance from the Community Radio Councils led to systematic programming and strengthened people’s capacities in addressing local issues. Running 7 days a week on an average of 15 hours/day showed that CRS performed their role even with partial support. CRS can be made sustainable through multi-media platforms (SMS and Internet) to develop and deliver contents using participatory radio in facing the threats of the new normal (climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surge, or very strong typhoons) to socially prepare affected communities given an unpredictable risks of a moving target which could no longer be taken as ‘business as usual.” With the advent of information and communication technologies, low-powered radio stations as interface can be accessed using mobile technology. Through participatory radio broadcasting, public-private partnerships can be built to support the operation of CRS for lifelong learning.


Remarks

This paper was presented during the Asia Pacific Conference in Beppu, Japan in November 2015 based on the results of a research grant provided by OVCRE on the Sustainability of Community Radio Stations in the Philippines.