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Uses and Gratifications Theory Applied to Religious Programming

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Introduction

In the article by Abelman, there is an expansion on the view for which the previous capture of the coverage of uses and gratification as initially proposed by Jay Blumler and Elihu Katz as cited in the works of Infante, Rancer and Womack. In his research, Abelman notes that the audience that he dealt with was an active audience in that the audience was aggressive in selecting what to view and what not to view. He expands the ritualistic and instrumental by laying clearly the distinction that exists between the two television usages.

Unlike in previous assumptions and researches, where there was concentration of mass-mediated messages and passive consumers as seen in the works of DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach, the uses and gratification approach deals with an audience that takes an individualistic concept towards mass communication. Littlejohn on the expectancy value theory notes that individuals have a habit of believing and evaluating a television program with reference to themselves thus making the theory a sub-branch of uses and gratification. Abelman identifies a list, which is included with various genres as part of religious affiliates as follows: - Talk show, Children’s show, News-magazines, Music/ variety shows, Game shows, Soap Operas and Sports programming  just to mention but a few.

a) My Reaction

Based on the findings of Abelman, this researcher agrees with the findings and the same findings would be expected in future research. This is because, unlike previously assumed about television programming where people listened to/ or watched programs that were more generalized, nowadays, there is increasing specialization of television programming that is evident even in the arrangement of programs in most television stations. For example, children’s programs are more likely to be aired in mid afternoon when they are perceived to be out of school, teen and young adult programs are aired after the children’s programming which also coincides with the time teens leave school. People know that which they want and they go for it and in the event that a broadcasting station does not offer that, it is more likely to have less audience.

b) Another programming that uses and gratification is applicable

Since the research focuses more on television viewer-ship, another most like application would be the radio station broadcasting since the two modes of mass communication are quite similar. It is good to note that there are some specialized stations that only broadcast specific type of information like news only for example BBC News network. Due to a mixture of broadcast the results would not be similar since there are stations whose programming does not quite cater for people across the divide. For example some stations like SKY .fm Country play one type of music meaning that they cannot be solely used to gather all information on uses and gratification. In addition they can also be helpful since lovers of country music will seek such havens.

c) Reactionary usage of religious programming

Christian preaching is another reactionary usage of religious programming because there are some preachers who preach specific types of messages. Take for example, Benny Hinn preaches messages that draw reaction towards healing, while John Hagee preaches messages inclined towards the end of days. Such messages have a tendency of making people to react in a specific manner thus making people who would like to hear more about such things to seek more on such messages. Take for example, someone who is ailing, such a person is more likely to seek messages of healing more than messages of relationships since what such a person desires is good health first before thinking about anything else. When people in churches listen to messages, they personalize these messages and react to them in different ways. Some will be found shouting, some crying, and some kneeling among other things.

Conclusion

In conclusion, uses and gratification is an approach, which covers the active role that the audience takes in seeking mass mediated messages from different quarters.

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