School of Journalism
University of Nairobi
Supervising lecturer: Dr. George Gathigi
The place of traditional communication media in development in the context of digital revolution

1. The Radio as an apparatus of Communication- Bertolt Bretch/1927
2. A model for the Communication Process- David Berlo/ 1960

When you look back at the arguments of scholar Bertolt Bretch we are introduced to a certain truth of a time when ‘there was a moment when technology was advanced enough to produce the radio and society was not yet advanced enough to accept it.’ The first thing that comes to mind is the question on whether this very situation existed back in time of history or whether it is the present day that human beings are living and co-existing in. The discussion on the place of traditional communication media in development today, especially in the context of digital revolution is thus introduced as a conventional one whereby the society today believes that the digitalization is the route to the picture. As a communications’ scholar and media practitioner, I peg to inquire whether this is the route to the future or truly the future of digitalization predicted by scholars like is what we are currently living in today.

According to Bertolt, the radio on its impact continues to convey literature in the form of music, news among other broadcasting programs without consequences which plays a major role in neutralizing audiences on their perspectives on the consequences that come forth with the influence of the media. I think Bertolt is driving the point that radio is such a strong communications apparatus such that it will influence people to change their views and ideologies anyhow. However, he fails to look into a more principled and intellectual audience which probably is made up of scholars like himself and will not behave or reason as influenced by a radio presenter hiding behind a studio microphone running a scripted show, rather will act rationally guided by ethics, empiricism, critical analysis among other sets of principles.

David Berlo,1960 further introduces the Berlo’s model of communication which enhances the radio perspective of influencing the discussion. Berlo believes that for communication to be considered effective there must be a source, a channel, receiver and most importantly feedback. As an advanced scholar assessing Berlo’s perspective of communications impacton social change and into length for development in the digital era, the Berlo Mommunications Model demonstrates the receiver as one who is in charge of feedback. The receiver hereby acts, responds or behaves in such a way as is influenced by the message of the source. The same concept of how the radio influences behavior of its listeners comes into play. In present day, the digital platforms have become a spectacle which does not necessarily portray what is true rather people themselves shape what they want to believe in therefore contradicting the argument that it is the source which in this context is the media, plays a key determinism role in shaping people’s thoughts today.

The media environment is practically changing and therefore a raising concern of whether truly the fruits of digital impact will be experienced in full in the near future or whether what is happening today with the changing roles of main stream media is the future that was presented and argued by Bertolt Bretch back in the 19th century. Looking back in time in the context of development, Immanuel Kant (1781) argued argued that persons will behave as influenced by their own perceptions and will often make decisions that are influenced by the thing in itself, that is an unknown desire that comes with observing and making own decisions as influenced by individual inner needs hereby contradicting any traditional or new media role in their roles in impacting social change.