10 points to ponder on Kenyan prime time radio talk shows

Love them or hate them, there are points I have noted on the above that I would like to share with you.

  1. Positive –  Radio talk shows allow people to discuss taboo topics in privacy – To a lot of people, these talk shows are just an opportunity for people to air their dirty linen in public. But, if one would take a moment to place themselves in their caller’s shoes, they would take a minute to ponder before passing judgment. I have heard topics on marriages, infidelity, men, women, relationships that affect real people. If you were to ask yourself, who would be the right person for the caller to discuss the topic with. Parents? Siblings? Church? Medical practitioners? When we consider how explosive these topics are, we should also ask ourselves who helps or can help these people. And ask yourself how the others who cannot get help are coping with their situations.
  2. Negative – Sometimes, the hosts give wrong advice to callers. At the end of the day, in every situation, each person has the right and responsibility to make their own decisions on their lives. Psychologists and counselors know that when they meet a person who asks for their help and counsel, it is their mandate to help the person view their problem in as much objective light as possible and assist them to make a decision on how to handle the problem. It is not our place to tell a person what to do. I have heard a host tell a person to find another wife because his wife has been gone for three months (back to her parents) and the man had to wash his bed sheets, cook and do other household chores! After the gentleman accepted that he had wronged his wife and wanted her to forgive him. If he followed that advice, he will always say so and so told him to do it.
  3. Positive – I have heard some of the hosts offer tangible help to callers that included getting them medical help, legal help or attach them to a counselor. I sincerely hope that this help is actually delivered and that people are getting the help they need.
  4. Negative – Not everybody who calls, texts or comments on social media gets help. Some people call and they sound like they desperately need help or just someone to talk to. From our point of view, after they talk, the conversation is terminated and that is the end of that. It would be my suggestion that these shows consider having counselors or make arrangements so that people who call and ask for help are all directed to the right people for help. So that one does not call, open up and get no assistance thereafter.
  5. Positive – They allow views from each gender to be aired on their thoughts on marriages, relationships, finances and more. I have heard people call back angrily to condemn the caller and air their views. They do not take the time to ask themselves if that really is the mindset of the affected gender. How many of us take the time to talk to the opposite sex on the topic of discussion. Do you ask your husband, brothers or male colleagues and friends if they agree with the sentiments of the caller? You may be surprised to learn that they agree and yet you are convinced that what was discussed was sheer nonsense. The same for the female counterparts. Some of the topics should be discussed in pre-marital classes. Topics like anal sex in marriage. Nobody wants to discuss it but medical practitioners have to deal with the consequences of it. If your husband asks you for anal sex, who will you discuss it with?
  6. Negative – The opinion of children is not sort in many of the related discussions. We hear men’s and women’s views on relationships that affect the welfare of children but never hear what the children think of the same. I’m not suggesting that children just be allowed to call in but would the hosts ask the callers whether they even care what their children think of the same. An example was a discussion on spouses who disappear for years and come back wanting to continue where things were left off with their spouses. What about the children? Are they even consulted on the matter or are decisions made over their heads as the “African” way of doing things?
  7. Positive – Talk shows have made people more able to raise issues that affect them with their medical providers that would otherwise never have been raised. Hearing these discussions lets one know that they are not alone in facing these issues. Others have been there and other will continue to be there and these are issues that can be discussed and managed.
  8. Negative – These shows don’t allow for polls to see how the mind-set really is. If a topic is discussed that requires one to either agree or disagree with the same, I wish that these shows allowed people to agree or disagree with the sentiments e.g. via sms or social media. This I feel would be useful to the caller, the audience as well as the counselors; be they social workers, counselors, psychologists or religious counselors. I would wish that the following day, they could tell us that 2,000 people took part in the poll and what percentage agreed or disagreed with the topic.
  9. Positive – Talk show hosts have helped to break the myth that only immoral people do some of the topics in discussion. These problems affect people of all walks of life. We claim that Kenya is 80% Christian and yet we are more than 60% corrupt. Many of the people who call for help or to debrief themselves are Married, Church-going Christians living right next door. These same people who beat their spouses, abuse step children, have affairs, go to witch doctors, and deny their wives Kshs. 50 for food are the same very active religious people whom other people look up to. Their spouses and children are then unable to know where to get help.
  10. Negative – Talk shows should ask people the to pick the topics they think should be discussed. I am in no way trying to interfere with the way things are run but I think they would be surprised at the topics that would come up that are real to real people.

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