Problems And Prospects Of Government-Owned Radio Stations In A Digital Era; A Study Of Broadcasting Corporation Of Abia State

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Problems And Prospects Of Government-Owned Radio Stations In A Digital Era; A Study Of Broadcasting Corporation Of Abia State


Ownership of the media was vested with the government, especially in the areas of issuance of licenses and renewal of such licenses, among others, through the National Broadcasting Commission empowered to carry out such salient responsibility. The empowerment of NBC through the enabling Decree in 1992 saw the emergence of private broadcast stations in Nigeria. But years after the deregulation of the broadcast media in Nigeria, the private broadcast stations and ownership are still bedeviled with some challenges, which If not well addressed, will leave them at cross roads; but if addressed properly, the sky would be too small to be their limit. To realize these, the study examined the problems and prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era using a case study of broadcasting corporation of Abia State. The survey method was used to expose the challenges faced by these stations and their prospects. In course of the study, the following findings, interalia, were discovered: that the government-owned radio broadcast station are faced with challenges arising from poor facilities, government regulation and legislations, inadequate expensive and advanced technological equipment, welfare and debts. However, the study discovered that progress could be made if enabling environment would be created for them to strive.

Table of Content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Brief History of Broadcasting in Nigeria
  • 2.3 Types of Broadcast Media Styles
  • 2.3.1 Government Media
  • 2.3.2 Private Media
  • 2.4 Broadcast Media Policy and Regulation in Nigeria
  • 2.5 Policies for Broadcast Media in Nigeria
  • 2.6 Structure, Regulation and Funding
  • 2.7 Policy, Management Styles and Practice in Nigeria Broadcast Media
  • 2.8 Strategies for Implementing Policies of Private and Government Television and Radio Stations
  • 2.9 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.9.1 Development Media Theory
  • 2.9.2 Democratic – Participant Media Theory

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Data Collection
  • 3.5 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Radio broadcasting started in Nigeria when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) launched the British Empire Broadcasting service. Based in Daventry, England, the programs of the empire service were relayed in Lagos to a limited audience. English language was the language of broadcast. The whites (colonial masters) and a few elites who understood English constituted its audience. Later, the Lagos station started experimenting with the rediffusion service, by distributing programs to subscribers in Lagos, Kano and Ibadan.

The colonial administration, in April, 1951, established the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS). It consequently converted the existing re-diffusion stations into full-fledge radio stations. The NBS was condemned by the public for being bias and acting as a government tool. Nigerians had expected the NBS to be impartial and reflect the divergent views and multi-cultural/religious sensibilities of Nigerians. Hence, D.S. Adegbenro of the Action Group introduced a bill in the Federal

Parliament for the conversion of the NBS to an impartial public corporation in August 1954. The bill was passed into law and NBS was renamed Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) on April 1, 1957.

Thereafter, Nigeria witnessed the emergence of regional broadcasting stations. The Western Region headed by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo blazed the trail in 1959 by setting up the first television station in Africa which started operation on October 1, 1959. This radio arm (Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service-WNBS) went on air in May 1960. The other two regions followed suit. When the military took over government in 1966 and ruled till 1979, the pattern of ownership did not change. The states that were created in replacement of the regions set up their own radio stations. However, the military government restructured the NBC and renamed it Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in 1978.

In 1988 there was agitation for the deregulation of the electronic media Nigeria which continued till early 1990s when the military government promulgated decree 38 of 1992 which deregulated the electronic media by allowing private individuals to own both radio and television stations. By June 1993, the first set of broadcast licenses were issued by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission. Hence, the first private TV station (Clapperboard TV) and radio station (Ray Power FM) went on air in May 1994 and September 1994 respectively.

The public service media in Nigeria aims to produce high-quality content, make it available across widely used devices and platforms, and reach all audiences. The means of attaining this however, has meet with some challenges over the years. The place of modern day new media technology makes it impossible to imagine our contemporary society without them. This is so because; the new media brings us together in variety of ways that would have been thought as impossible (Sehl, Cornia, & Neilson 2016). For instance, a few generations ago, it took several hours for a message to be transmitted from Nigeria to North America. Today however, information can be transmitted in seconds. Surmounting one of the greatest challenges to information posed by distance with the internet today, means that people can communicate and access information anywhere in the world regardless of where they are located in the globe. As such, the distance barrier does not exist anymore; the world has become a global village (Severin& Tankard, 2001).

About five decades ago, media world relied principally upon print and analogue broadcast models, especially the ones used by television and radio stations. But the last twenty years have been a transformation period, as rapid transformation in the sector has been witnessed; this rapid transformation in the media which is largely predicated upon the use of digital computers, such as the Internet and other portable digital devices like mobile smart phones, tablets and so on. However, these examples are only a small representation of new media technologies. For instance, the use of digital computers has transformed the remaining old media, as suggested by the advent of digital television and online publications and propelled by the need for media convergence in a digitalized world.

The new media rely strongly on digitally powered technologies, allowing for previously separate media to converge. Media convergence is a phenomenon of new media and this can be explained as a digital media. According to Flew, (2002:11), “The idea of new media captures both the development of unique forms of digital media, and the remaking of more traditional media forms to adopt and adapt to the new media technologies”. This obviously accounts for the reliance on computers, smart phones, tablets, and other medium instead of the previous analogue means of information gathering. The most prominent example of media convergence is the Internet, whereby the technology for the streaming of video and audio has now changed the face of broadcasting and movies rapidly.
It becomes pertinent therefore to know what the new media is. According to McQuail (2005: 136) “the new media are disparate set of communication technologies that share certain features apart from being new, made possible by digitalization and being widely available for personal use as communication devices”. This implies that the new media are advancements of the traditional or old media through digitalization and convergence, and these have made the new media to have an edge over the old (analogue) media. The new media has drastically changed communication in some fundamental ways over the traditional media especially in information dissemination. It is imperative to note that many newspapers and broadcast news operations now have websites from which they dispense news. Furthermore, using the internet as a platform, the e-mail and videoconferencing have also become veritable tools in this new dimension (Fitzgerald & Dennis, 2005: 60).

The New Media has become a significant element in public service broadcast. The global network of the Internet, for instance, connects people and information via computers (Croteau & Hoynes, 2003:77). In this way the Internet, as a communication medium of New Media, overcomes the gap between people from different countries, permitting them to exchange opinions and information. Diverse means for this exist even within the context of the Internet, including chat rooms, Instant Messaging applications, forums, email messaging, online video and audio streaming and downloads, and voice-over-internet telecommunications. New Media is defined not only as a communication tool, but also as a tool for the commercial exchange of goods and services (Barr, 2002:167).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Public Service Broadcasting in Nigeria has continued to grow immensely in line with global trends despite strong infrastructural challenges. Communicating with a mass audience is not totally strange in Nigeria (Nwanne, 2016). The use of these new media technologies in the broadcast industry in Nigeria today can be largely attributed to the deregulation of the industry by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida in 1992. According to Udeajah (2004:164) the deregulation of the broadcasting sector was a landmark achievement in Nigeria as it gave constitutional backing to the private ownership of broadcasting stations which was formerly an exclusive right of the government.

In Nigeria today, there is no doubt that the stiff competition in the broadcast industry is as a result of the private broadcast stations trying to effectively compete with the public or government owned stations with their modern sophisticated digital broadcasting equipment. The government stations on their part have started to take the lead by digitalizing their stations to modern world standards with a view to facing the challenges of modern broadcasting propelled by the new media technologies. This also affirms the stand of the National Broadcasting Commission in stipulating that by the year 2017, all broadcasting stations and equipment still in analogue, must be phased out of the country; as such, Nigeria transited from analogue to digital television viewing on April 30, 2016 in the city of Jos, the Plateau State Capital when it launched the pilot phase of the Federal Government’s digital transmission project that kick started the digitisation process in Nigeria. The reason for this may not be unconnected with the idea of the regulatory body to ensure that the opportunities which the new media technologies herald as well as the challenges they pose on the broadcasting industry are taken and maximized for the optimum use of the citizens of Nigeria. Against this background, this study sought to assess the problems and prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era using a case study of broadcasting corporation of Abia State.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the problems and prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era using a case study of broadcasting corporation of Abia State.

Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To assess the broadcasting corporation of Abia State in the digital era
  2. To identify the problems of government-owned radio stations in a digital era
  3. To ascertain the prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. How effective is the broadcasting corporation of Abia State in the digital era?
  2. What are the problems of government-owned radio stations in a digital era?
  3. What are the prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1 There is no significant difference in the government-owned radio stations in a digital era
  • HA1 There is a significant difference in the government-owned radio stations in a digital era

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is not intended to break an entire new ground, rather, it is undertaken in the premise that it will add to the existing literature in the area of radio broadcasting in the digital era. In addition this study is very necessary especially at this point of Nigeria’s development, when there is massive adoption and transition to digital technology in various personal and work settings.

This work is expected to guide stakeholders, broadcast stations, planners, and the public on the problems and prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era.

1.7 Scope of Study

The study is limited to broadcasting corporation of Abia State. The context scope of this study is limited to finding the problems and prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

This study faced certain limitations. Some of these limitations include: choosing the topic for this study, constructing and administering the instrument and getting it validated were not easy exercise. Also, there was paucity of data on the study area and the researcher face time and financial constraints in the course of the work.

1.9 Definition of Terms


A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. This study focuses on those challenges encountered by government-owned radio stations in a digital era


The possibility that something will happen in the future. In this study, it refers to the opportunities inherent in government-owned radio stations in a digital era.

Radio Station:

Is a brand or corporation that deals in the transmission of audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience.

Digital Era:

Is a period where a shift process occurs from industrial based to a information based economy using computer or other technology devices as medium or communication.

1.10 Organisation of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding it is broken down as follows:

  • Chapter one kicks off with the introduction, which consists of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, scope and significance of the study.
  • Chapter two begins with the conceptual framework on which the study is based, the theoretical literatures and also the empirical literature and thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design, the population of the state used as a case study, the sample size and the sampling techniques used, the data collected, data analysis and the limitations of the method used.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study was carried out to assess the problems and prospects of government-owned radio stations in a digital era using a case study of broadcasting corporation of Abia State. Broadcasting is a worthwhile venture if creatively and tactically managed. This management of modern broadcasting in Nigeria’s public service broadcasting can be successful if channeled through the right new media technologies with a blend of the old media. As a result of the new media, there is the need to determine whether Practitioners in the Nigerian public service broadcasting sector understand the new media technologies as an indispensable tool meant for their effective operations, find out what really constitutes the new media technologies in the broadcast industry, unveiling the advantages the new media technologies hold for the broadcast sector in Nigeria, as well as ascertaining how public service broadcast practitioners in Nigeria perceive the new media; and to know those problems militating against the acceptance or acquisition of the new media in Nigeria.

From the study, the prevalent areas noted include the funding, expensive and advanced technological Equipment, government regulation and legislation, welfare, government harassment, debt accruing from the advertising agents, and the unfavourable working condition amounted of media personnel. The most public service broadcast stations in Nigeria are still transmitting on analogue broadcast equipment. There is the need to urgently equip the public service broadcasting stations with new media facilities which are capable of placing them in the same pedestal as their counterparts in Africa and other developing countries of the world if properly utilised.

5.2 Conclusion

The respondents were of the view that if an enabling environment is created, the private broadcast sector will enjoy the points contained in the boxes, thereby forming the prospects of the private broadcast media outfit. The fulcrum of this study is on examining in totality, the challenges and prospects of broadcast media in the Nigerian landscape. To properly handle this task, the study narrowed down to Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State.

It should, however be noted that through the revelation from this study that all is not well with the government-owned broadcast media outfits, as lots of challenges hamper their performance, such that their successes have been hanging in a balance, thereby reducing the chances of achieving their set goals. More than anything else, success would be the order-of-the- day and, the world information and communication order would be achieved via the existence of government-owned broadcast stations, thereby achieving not only the millennium development goal, but the global target of the world as a village throughout the world and Nigeria in particular.

5.3 Recommendation

  1. Management and other operatives should comply with laws guiding the profession and nation.
  2. The operators must be given free hand to operate, but not without respect for professionalism.
  3. Tariff for importation of broadcast equipment should be reduced to enhance productivity and participation.
  4. Training of staff should be top on priority to enhance productivity.
  5. Those placing adverts should be made to pay before broadcast of their advertisement, to avoid piling debts, thereby affecting the welfare of staff, as well as running of the station.
  6. Salaries of workers should be paid regularly and on time; to avoid strike, which will affect transmission.
  7. Positions of authority in the private broadcast stations should be a product of a sheer dint of hard work, merit and capabilities and not through sentiment and favoritism; to avoid mediocrity and low productivity.

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