The role of a broadcaster
is multi-dimensional. Though we may hear one broadcaster talking to us, there are numerous voices speaking to us in the voice of that one person. A broadcaster is a friend, a confidant, a guide, an informer, an educator, and a provider at one and the same time. Perhaps this is why broadcasting is a very important and a very difficult job.
Broadcasters not only provide news and entertainment:
as is commonly believed, they also highlight problems that society faces. As such, broadcasters inform, investigate, integrate, and also in a way, indoctrinate different values and standards in their listeners.
The most important role perhaps is that of a provider; broadcasters provide information in order to create awareness among their listeners, For example, broadcasters can inform in an entertaining manner so as to create civic values, traffic sense, gender awareness, and sense of personal hygiene among listeners. In themselves, these issues can be boring for man in the street. Broadcasters take the challenge of providing entertaining information about these or any other such tedious issues and share them With their listeners.
This brings us to yet an important aspect of the role of broadcasters:
they are also agents of change. They can play a key role in shaping public opinion, and in bringing a change in the way a society functions. It is indeed a difficult task. Broadcasters, however, can make their job easy if they are willing to play the role of friend, guide, facilitator, or moderator. This they can do by not only staying in touch with the community but by involving it in the process of bringing about change for good. TO be able to do that. It is absolutely essential for broadcasters that they develop a relationship of trust and confidence between listeners and themselves. Without this vital bond, broadcasters are virtually ineffective.
Broadcasters can win the trust and confidence of their listeners and community only when they are sympathetic and compassionate in their treatment of the problems facing the community. They have to have an understanding of the composition of their listeners and must have an insight into the community for which they broadcast. For example, some of the issues, say, in which listeners in Peshawar and the adjacent areas would take interest include pollution in Peshawar; traffic problems; the life of refugees; early marriages; career building. Highlighting problems like these bring the broadcasters and listeners closer, which creates a natural need for talks, dialogues, and discussions on these, or any other such topics that can help promote understanding, tolerance, and peace in society In general and the community in particular.
We must here admit that broadcasting has been and can still be used as an effective tool for propaganda and counter propaganda.
Radio is an effective medium and should be efficiently used to serve a community Broadcasters should ensure that they highlight issues and conflicts in such a manner that listeners feel the need for resolving the problems. This goal can be achieved only if the broadcasters are aware of the significance of the language that they choose to use for disseminating information.
Since the primary function of radio programs is to create awareness, the broadcasters must always use positive and neutral language to ascertain peace and understanding. In their investigation of issues facing a community, the broadcasters and radio must bring people of diverse backgrounds together. The focus of the investigation should be on the points of difference. Using common language, broadcasters should highlight how the differences are due to lack of communication and lack of understanding. This approach will naturally create awareness among listeners and will lead to a need for promotion of peace and understanding.
Radio is a common ground:
where people from diverse backgrounds should talk to each other so as to explore and discover similarities in their cultures and traditions. This not only provides information about one another but also affords knowledge whereby people develop an understanding of the diverse groups in a community. Broadcasters work as mediators in such a manner that the course of talks focuses on common grounds.
Radio and broadcasters can also help in resolving personal conflicts. It is essential for professional and successful broadcasters that they listen patiently without being a party; focus on rational facts, and sympathetically relate to the people involved in the conflicts.