1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
“The lesson to be learned is that the future belongs to the station to the extent that the station that produces and controls programming well will be successful”. Fepper (1995).
Programming as the bedrock and mainstay of broadcasting involves a long-term calculated planned policy expressed in predetermined executable action, which if appropriately implemented and executed as individual programme operations, wins maximum success for station. Dunu (2002). Furthermore, according to Dunu (2002), programme is also defined as the strategic selection of programme materials appropriate or suitable to a particular segment of pre-defined target audience.
It is undoubtful that effective programme is synonymous with a successful broadcast station. Broadcast programming involves a series of inter-dependent processes which are expected to satisfy some specific needs of the listening and viewing audience.
A programme is a broadcast material created to meet certain specific needs or attain some set objectives and transmitted to some predetermined target audience.
Programming in radio involves the task of choosing programmes and scheduling them in meaningful order and evaluating their degree of success and or failure. Indeed, programming is constrained by time. It makes use of daily schedule for the day’s transmission or master schedule for 13, 26, 39, 52 weeks as the case may be. Programming plays a dual role between the broadcaster who views it as a means of income and society which views it as entertainment and public service.
Programming for specific audience is one of the areas of great problem to Nigerian broadcasters. The problem seems to arise primarily from lack of knowledge about the specified audience, the potentials of the radio, communication theory and the objective of broadcasting in the first instance.
In order to increase rating and attain success, broadcast stations employ programming strategies which according to Eastman (1993) are compatibility, habit formation, audience flow control, programme resource conservation, and breath of appeal.
Radio programming poses most challenges which include making the programme clear, logical, meaningful and easy to understand . According to Robert Hillard, Radio may represent a character in one setting and in a twinkling transport him - and the audience - to an entirely different one. This is done through the use of narration, sound effects and dialogue.
Consequently, it is important to note that certain indices exist that undermine the quality of broadcast programmes specifically radio programmes in Nigeria.
It has been discovered that government censorship and financial control of most broadcast stations affect the quality of programmes aired. A case in point is where incumbent government insists that airtimes be utilized in sychophany and praise singing broadcast of the government in power. Post and pre-censorship of programmes are in too.
There is a common saying in regard to mass media control in Nigeria and elsewhere which has become a cliche that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”. This means that the owner of a mass media channel controls what the medium broadcast and how it broadcasts it as the case of Anambra broadcasting service Awka. Surely control through ownership is a fact of life in every society, but then the nature of this control usually varies greatly depending upon the political system, the orientation of political leaders in control of government and the political climate prevailing the caliber of Journalists and other professionals communicators.
These forces exert control over the broadcast media in the sense that their individual or combine influences could shape the content, activities and orientation of the broadcasting media quite considerably, depending upon the magnitude of influences and these affect the quality of the programmes. The broadcasters, before giving information considers if the “piper” likes it or not. They shave out the parts that will not be pleasant to the “Piper” and not considering what the public (audience) needs to hear. This is a major problem that affects the quality of ‘events from government house’, a radio programme in ABS, Awka. Any information that is not accepted by the government who is the ‘Piper’ cannot be disseminated to the public.
Aside from this, it has also been discovered that lack of qualified staff and use of obsolete equipment has become a huge stumbling block and hindrance to effective quality programmes. Effective programming requires well talented and trained staff with the right orientation and sound judgment in the intricacies of broadcast productions. These include writers, directors, producers, presenters, engineers, maintenance staff, announcers, etc. Programming involves putting the right peg in the right hole. Therefore, the personnel required for programming affects it to a large extent . Thus when the staff lack talent or are not creative, programmes lose their integrity and attraction. It takes a creative mind to put out a fantastic performance. When a mind is creative, it has the ability of putting together research findings.
The radio station of Anambra broadcasting service (ABS) Awka, is an example of one of the most broadcasting stations where untrained staff and analog or obsolete equipment are still much in use rather than the recent digital and computerized system. It is also plagued with the absence of quality transmitters that makes radio broadcasting programmes epileptic.
Oftentimes most of the content of programmes being aired are not entertaining, educative and informative. Programmes aired by radio broadcast should basically focus on development, that is such transmissions that can spur people to greater individual and national development. It should also focus on how to sustain the attention of their listening and viewing audience. It should include hooks, suspense and other attention-getting device. Programme for broadcast is meant to be supplement to formal school offering but it is not so in Nigerian context. However, the recent Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) guideline stipulating 60% local content of any programming effort though good is adversely affecting the quality of most indigenous programmes.
Misuse of the broadcast media for political purpose has always constituted a serious problem in the country. Government and private broadcast media sometimes disregard the started objectives of their organisatiosn by allowing their channels to be used for political selfish ends by political lackeys.
The ABS radio station is sometimes being hampered by lack of significant independence in programming because the prime viewing time has been taken over by network programmes which the ABS radio station is meant to hook onto. The scheduling of some of these radio station broadcast programmes does not coincide with audience activity. This is evident in the time scheduling to some programmes which does not suit with the timing of the listeners. For instance, ABS, Awka airs the radio programme ‘Events from Government House’ at 5.30am. This time is not convenient for its audience as they might not be awake by that time and so wrong audience who now listen to it may not understand the quality of such programmes. Lack of continuity of such programmes and effective feedback and lack of proper research on the subject matter are also cankerworms that have hindered the production of quality radio programmes. Most times, radio programmes are haphazardly done, and because of this, quality programmes will never be the end product.
The feedback system through phone–in-facilities has become the lazy way out of programme production. Producers are no longer keen in searching for qualitative artists to discuss programmes on radio. Instead they allow unguarded or uncontrolled outbursts from listeners who are privileged to have telephone in their homes but do not know what to do with them.
Years ago, listeners where encouraged to write letters to producers of programmes and such letters have been constructive and of tremendous help in improving the quality of broadcast programmes. It is difficult to explain why a developing country like Nigeria will issue licenses to broadcast operators just to play music. This is true, but sad development. Broadcast Media should be channel towards development efforts and this pre-supposes the fact that recipients of broadcast messages should be part of programmes conceptualization and implementation. Every radio programme in Nigeria should be backed up by researchers.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF RADIO BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA
Over the decades, broadcasting in Nigeria has served as the channel for government propaganda.
Radio has been found to be very useful, because it is popular with the rural population and also enjoys the intimacy which other media of communication lack. In developed world, radio has been used for development purposes. Programmes that are meant to achieve these development purposes have been conceived and executed at the various levels of the society. In Nigeria, however, radio has been seen as a one-way communication channel in which the government communicates to the governed without an appropriate feed-back system.
Radio, according to Microsoft Encarta Premium (2009) is a system of communication employing electromagnetic waves propagated through space.
It has been acknowledge universally as a very important means of disseminating information of all the modern means of communication in the world, radio is the most popular because the majority by of the members of the public have access to it. Moreover, radio has the capability of achieving its programmes for both literates and illiterates. This is particularly true in a developing country like Nigeria with its high illiteracy level. Newspapers, Magazines, posters and books which are the print media can hardly reach the illiterates. Radio can, because it employs the oral vernacular as well as television. Launery (1962) observed and said:
“Africa will in large measure own their freedom and newly found place in the world to two singular technological developments. The dry cell battery powered portable offer leaders of Africa’s newly independent countries that only practical means of reaching much of their people most of the time”.
Radio is supplemental. Most radio listening occurs while we are doing something else–driving working, studying cleaning, falling asleep, waking up and so on. Radio rarely is the prime focus of our attention; it provides an audio background for our activities.
Also radio is portable. Virtually every household has at least one working and almost every car is equipped with radio. Some radio sets, like the walkman, are small and personal. Others like the boom box, are big and public. No matter their size, radio sets are easily transported and go every where-the beach, sporting events , jogging trails, the work place etc. Car radios provide news and entertainment to commuters on their way to and from work. Infact, it is hard to find a place where radio cannot go.
Radio broadcasting in Nigeria dates back to 1932 and has its roots in England. It started as ‘wireless for monitoring and relaying programmes from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for the interest of her colonial servants’. Church (2009:9).
Before independence, all the programmes are packaged and relayed from BBC in London. Radio in Nigeria between 1937 and 1955 was an extension of oversea broadcasting organization. Programmes were purely British, sometimes tailored to suit the task of the colonial listeners.
In 1951, the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) was formally inaugurated as a relay station working closely with the BBC. The ordinance No. 36 of 1956 heralded the setting up of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) which was set up among other functions, ‘ to provide independent and impartial broadcasting services” within Nigeria. The NBC tried to maintain a national profile in its operation but according to Lan Mackay (1964) “it failed to provide a regional image to the satisfaction of the regional government’.
The growth of radio stations often followed the creation of more states in the country. An example is in 1976 when the country was divided into 19 states, radio stations increased.
The NBC later changed its name to Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in 1979. Today in Nigeria, all the states of the Federation enjoy the broadcast service of FRCN along with the state owned stations like Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), Awka. That had made radio to be the medium of the widest audience in the country. Radio is the most obvious as well as the most effective means of mass communication in Nigeria because its impact is immediate and enduring.
Therefore, radio broadcasting is regarded as a national undertaking of the highest order and an indispensable element for public motivation by every government. Political, social and technical considerations are the cardinal reasons for the proliferation of FM radio stations in Nigeria. The federal government decided to restrict state radio stations to medium wave broadcast on December 8, 1979. This led to the setting up of FM station by some government in Nigeria. This brought the existence of the many FM stereos and other FM stations.
The Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) Awka is a disengagement from Anambra Broadcasting Service, Enugu in 1992. The ABS Awka originally started in 1960 at Enugu as the Eastern Nigerian Broadcasting corporation (ENBC) which was later renamed the East Central State Broadcasting Service (ECBS) of 1971 after the civil war at Enugu. The then ECBS has a television and a radio arm, which was later spilt into Anambra Broadcasting Corporation and the Eastern Nigerian Television Authority (ENTV) as of 1976.
Subsequently, the ABS was renamed the Anambra Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Eastern Nigerian Television Authority (ENTA) was renamed as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) with subsequent political charges, merging took place in 1985 under a re-organization exercise which resulted to the ABS Enugu. Anambra Broadcasting Corporation and Anambra television which came into existence by Jim Nwobodo were the two stations that merged and this was backed up by the then government Edict No 6 of 1985 and later by the Edict No 4 of 1987 as a corporate establishment.
After the creation of states in 1992, Anambra Broadcasting Service or corporation disengaged from ABS Enugu as an autonomous corporate establishment and backed by the Edict No 4 of 1987 under the Ministry of Information with specified scheme of service and the conditions of services for staff regulations and welfare.
Government Regulations of Broadcasting
Among the different media of mass communication, the broadcast media have always been a source of worry to government. One major reason for government control of broadcasting is based on the fact that the airwaves (electro-magnetic spectrum) are a scarce and public resource. It is argued that this resource should be controlled and allotted by the government in the way best suitable for serving the public good.
Another reason for government control of broadcasting derives from the perceived power of broadcasting to influence public opinion, given the peculiar characteristics of broadcast media. From its inception, therefore, government has sought to exercise control over the broadcast media. It is not usually the case with the print. Consequently, for a long time in virtually every third world country, the government owned and controlled all broadcast media. The defence often offered for the adoption of this prevalent ownership pattern in developing world is that there is an urgent need for national development and that the government needs to control the mass media so as to better use them to achieve the national goal.
However, government control of Broadcasting has always involved more than ownership, and extends beyond government owned media to include privately owned broadcast media. Even in most advanced democracies, broadcasting is subject to government regulation which varies in degrees from country to country. In the United States of America, for instance, the government regulates broadcasting through the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). This is the body established by the United States Congress in 1934 and empowered to regulate radio, television, and telephone communication. Bittner (1980:326).
In Nigeria, the equivalent of the FCC is the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) which was established by Decree 38 of 1992. This decree gives wide – ranging powers to NBC to regulate and control the broadcast industry in the country.
Licensing process and control is one way the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) regulates the broadcast industry. The then information minister, Chief John Nwodo (Jnr) says:
“‘under the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No.38 of 1992, the commission is empowered to receive, process and consider applications for ownership of radio and television stations including cable to services, direct satellite broadcast and other medium of broadcasting”
Establishments licensed to broadcast under Decree No. 38 of 1992, are subject to strict monitoring and control by the commission in relation to purely technical as well as to regulate the type of broadcast equipment to be used by it. Operators of license stations are obliged to make their broadcast facilities (including equipment and station log book) available for inspection by the inspectorate staff of the commission.
Another control Mechanism can be seen in the fees which Broadcasting Association of Nigeria called for a review of fees payable by broadcasting houses arguing that ‘this will remove the present situation of unilateral imposition of asphyxiating fees in millions of Naira on broadcasting stations by the NBC’.
Quality of Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria
How could the programme content be improved in order to achieve national idea of combating most on the social ills of the society, is one important question which needed to be asked in this study. This brings the word ‘Quality’ which means a general standard.
The quality of Radio Broadcasting could be determined by the good or bad programmes rendered to the listeners. A quality radio broadcast programme as articulated in the National broadcasting code of 1993 is meant to:
A) Cover the areas of education, entertainment and information.
B) Promote social values and norms, civic and social responsibilities
C) Promote the acquisition or pursuit of knowledge.
D) Promote the physical, mental and social well–being of the people
E) Foster the spirit of self discipline and self sacrifice
F) And encourage the prevention and development of human values and respect of the dignity of man.
The services rendered by the Nigerian Broadcasting commission has achieved little or no benefit. For instance, broadcasting to the Mass audience has the ability to transcend illiteracy and other traditional barriers associated with the print media programme. Contents of radio which is programme should be given a careful consideration and every decision that has to do with the proposed programme should be evaluated in line with the expectations of the intended audience.
The ability to reach specialized audience and penetrating the lives of virtually the entire world population could mean that radio broadcasting has high quality in rating.
Objective of Radio Broadcasting
Radio broadcasting has come a long way like many countries in Africa. It has evolved from transmitting programmes from the home countries of the colonialists to the poor natives in Africa. Radio in this sense had been effective in brain washing the Africans on what their colonial masters were doing to cater for their interests
At independence, the African leaders were to know the effect of broadcasting on the people and so used it as government megaphone. Radio broadcasting is a medium that could be used for a lot of purposes. It could help to report the activities of the people for government attention and because of the high illiteracy level, radio broadcasting is preferred to other media of communication because of its portability and its flexibility in programming.
Government policies could be translated into local languages and broadcast to the people. It is not therefore surprising that broadcasting has been adopted to propagate the ideas of a government in power to the detriment of the people they are supposed to serve.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This nation Nigeria is constantly facing the problem of illiteracy coupled with ignorance. Different qualitative programmes have been adopted and old ones discarded in preference to new ones in order to educate the masses. But the big question here is ‘have all these programmes been able to inform, entertain and educate the people?”. Radio broadcast programmes always have an objective behind it which it tends to achieve which are information, entertainment and education. The question is “how far have this been fulfilled and accomplished?”.
Producers moreover, tried to change and modify their progrmames in perception of what the audience wants to know and mostly to the choice or decision of the ‘Piper’. Also a constant problem to the producers is the issue of timing of the programmes. Some of the programmes are projected at the period not suitable for the audience and consequently, audience perception and reception of the programmes become a serious concern to the producers.
The problem of two-way flow of information (feedback) between the producers of these programmes and their audience constitutes a challenge to the said issues.
Also unavailability of certain facilities and use of obsolete equipments will definitely hinder the effectiveness of this programme. And the question is “to what extent has government. assistance especially in the area of power supply been felt?”.
Lack of adequate financing of local programmes is not forgotten. These and many more questions are being raised in order to give appropriate response to the issue of quality broadcasting.
Questionnaire, interviews and participant observations are designed to examine the hindrance to quality radio broadcast programmes.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study is with the view to examine critically the state of programmes and programming in Anambra State, with the aim of discovering all the hindrances to effective programmes. Broadcast has been defined as the single most powerful means of information dissemination. This lie in the nature of broadcasting seeing that it is all pervasive and persuasive, especially radio, which can transcend the barriers of illiteracy time and location to capture the mind of audience. A radio broadcast programme in Nigeria has consequently become a powerful tool for influencing the public.
This research work also aims at assessing the objectives of Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) with which the present investigation is concerned in the production of quality radio broadcast programmes.
This study is equally aimed at suggesting adequate solutions to the factors that affect the quality of radio broadcast programme.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Radio is one of the instruments for disseminating information to the mass media audience that are heterogeneous, diversified and with different cultural background. Radio stations are expressing opinions to its target audience and trying to sell its ideas to the audience through well planned and systematically organised programmes at all times.
This research work will assist and let programmes producers or radio stations to understand the factors affecting the quality of the radio programme ‘family forum’. Equally, it will enable them to know how to plan a programme that is of a high quality.
It will furthermore, help the programme planners to monitor and adjust their airtime as time requirement must be evaluated realistically even if it involves eliminating some segments of the production. This will encourage and require the programme producers to produce quality broadcast programmes to suit their audience which according to Eastman (1993), broadcast station must employ the use of programming strategies such as compatibility, habit formation, audience flow control, programme resource conservation, and breath of appeal.
This research study will help the government know the areas where it has to support the media and also remind the radio programme producers about the objective of radio broadcasting.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated and tested in this research.
1) Does funding of ABS by the state government affect its activities profession wise?.
2) Do differences in culture, language and custom affect the quality of the radio programme ‘Family Forum’ of ABS Awka?.
3) Does lack of proper personnel and modern equipment affect the quality of the radio programme ‘Family Forum’ of ABS, Awka?.
4) Does lack of knowledge of programming strategies affects the quality of the radio programme Family Forum’ of ABS Awka?.
5) Does profit motive make it possible for the neglect of the function of broadcasting by ABS, Awka?.
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
This study will definitely answer and give solutions to fully understand and achieve the purpose of this research. These questions will appear in some hypothetical formulations which will be proven later in the course of research.
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