Contemporary youth: Radio vs social media

Radio, for decades, has been one of the ways of information dissemination globally. News, music, and information are transmitted to the audience through radio waves, while the audience receives them as sounds on their radio sets. For years, till now, the radio and television have been the most reliable sources of information. This is because there, news or any other information before dissemination go through rigorous editing. Sometimes, programmes are even recorded then get edited before being broadcast to the public. 

Most radio stations in Nigeria have a very good percentage of their programmes transmitted in the local language of the very community/society that the radio station is situated, if not for news (usually translated) and other handful programmes that are transmitted in the country’s official language – English. This has facilitated the acceptance of the programmes by the audience since the programmes are usually aimed at entertaining and educating, as the case may be. 

Kudos to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, for its efforts towards ensuring that programmes aired are free of anything that will be threat to the security, unity and oneness of this sovereign country, Nigeria.

In every radio station across the country, there are certain programmes set specifically for news, discussions/debate s on national issues (current affairs and youths). In the news programmes, happenings all over the country and the world at large are broadcast to the audience reliably. The programmes about national issues/current affairs are done in two ways or at times in separate time slated for each as a programme of its own. Here, headlines of the national dailies are discussed or a topic or two are picked and dealt with intellectually. Programmes slated for youth issues are usually aimed at reminding the youths of their roles in nation building and suggesting solutions to problems the youth face. 

The aforementioned three kinds of programmes, when regularly followed, will give an ordinary citizen (youth) insights on happenings around him with facts, unlike the social media. This is because the issues are discussed intellectually and neutrally, except for some privately owned stations where inclined opinions are forcefully chipped in.  Contemporarily, using the radio is synonymous to aged and rural people. An average Nigerian youth hardly will remember the last time he purposely tuned into a station to listen to a programme. Unfortunately, our youths are missing these impacful programmes aired on radio. I remember a post by Badamasi Aliyu Abdullahi where he was lamenting on a woman who has been in business for years and has a masters degree in a social science course but didn’t know what’s CAC, Corporate Affairs Commission. In the same post he mentioned an aged woman named Maman Abdussalam, now late, who had vast knowledge in religion, politics, business and culture, all because she followed impactful radio programmes. 

The emergence of the internet which brought about the social media has seen the radio and television relevance decreasing in the 21st century especially in urban communities. Unlike the traditional mass media, the internet is less restrained hence its massive acceptance by the public. Opinions are freely aired, even at the expense of others’ dignity or security. Despite the massive usage of the internet by Nigerian youth, they are ignorant of a lot of national issues. Issues like the distinctive duties of the executive, the legislative and the judiciary arms of government are strange to many of them. Not that the social media isn’t impacting, but our youths hardly go beyond the news’ headlines, yet they comment on the topics – one of the tools of propagating fake news.

A very good number of social media youths who give themselves the title of public/political analyst know little about the topics they discuss. One will know this when you listen to how the likes of Adamu Ibrahim Chiroma of Fombina FM Yola, break national issues into pieces, his comments when compared to that of the so called social media analyst will beat them hands down.

“Lack of awareness is the problem of our people and awareness is the beginning of change”, says Badamasi Aliyu Abdullahi. If you are reading this and live in Adamawa state and environs I have programmes to suggest for you – “Iya Ruwa Fidda Kai” of Fombina FM helps in self growth, ‘Ina Matasa’ of Radio Gotel and NAS FM discusses things related to youths. For national issues and current affairs you can try “Najeriya A Yau” and “Daga Jaridumu” of Fombina FM and NAS FM, respectively. These programmes will enlighten you as a youth on many issues. Radio is not just for the aged and rural dwellers , you are missing a lot of things by having that stereotype in regard to the stereos.

Musa writes from Jimeta, Yola, Adamawa state via [email protected]