207005 Radio as a source for health information: Implications for traditional and internet-based interfaces

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
E. Lisako J. McKyer, PhD, MPH , Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Disseminating timely health information to community members is challenging yet critical to improving health. While several health communication mechanisms exist to broadcast health messages, radio is among the most far-reaching but under-utilized. The purposes of this study are to assess the radio as a source of health information and identify factors that contribute to listeners' intentions to change health-related behavior. After listening to a one-hour health-talk radio program, participants completed an Internet-based survey instrument. Data were collected from 99 adults. Results indicate that 27.3% of participants regularly obtained health information from the radio and 68.7% from the Internet. No participants identified the radio as their preferred source for obtaining health information, compared to 24.2% who preferred the Internet. In these analyses, 48.5% of participants reported having low or no knowledge of health issues discussed during the radio program prior to listening. After listing to the program, 92.9% of participants reported an increase in knowledge about the health topic and 65.7% reported intentions to change their health behavior. Participants were more likely to report intentions to change behavior if they regularly obtained health information from radio sources (OR=2.77) or learned from the radio program (OR=.35). Findings suggest that the radio is a valuable source for disseminating health information; however, it is accessed less frequently than the Internet. Implications of this study emphasize the importance to make radio content available via the Internet (i.e., “streaming”) to maximize the diffusion of health information for optimal reach and impact.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify accessed and preferred sources of health information 2. Assess the effectiveness of the radio as a source of health information 3. Describe strategies to integrate sources of health information to increase diffusion of health messages

Keywords: Health Communications, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a community health educator and researcher for over 4 years. Additionally, I have vast experience investigating the radio as a source of health education and information.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.