Radio and national development

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The importance of radio broadcasting in national development cannot be over-emphasised. This is because the traditional role of educating, informing and entertaining of the media remains an impetus to driving development. Development is multifaceted and can be measured in various ways as long as life becomes meaningful for the people. It includes ensuring secured lives and property, reduction of poverty to the barest minimum, high life expectancy, high level of literacy, food security, and availability of rich infrastructural facilities, to name a few.

To ensure that the place of radio broadcast is not relegated to the background, a number of issues should be taken into consideration such as quality assurance, ethic and adherence to rules and regulations. Taking a look at some of these points, a doyen of journalism in the country, Mr. Ademola Oladosu has stressed the need for quality control in broadcasting to scrutinise the contents that go into the air. He lamented that some radio stations were not recruiting competent personnel into the profession in a bid to cut cost, saying such practice was demoralising. The veteran journalist said the radio can be used as social engineering tool to correct anomalies in society, stressing that those operating radio stations must be professionals and do everything according to the ethics of broadcasting.

He described radio as an indispensable instrument for development. According to him, the World Radio Day was declared by the United Nations, through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to appreciate the significance of radio in political, social and economic life, noting that it was an important day to appreciate and commended the pioneer, who discovered the radio wave, through which it had evolved till date. “It is a day for everyone to appreciate the contributions of radio in our social, political and economic ways. It has been a veritable instrument, when it comes to governance, politics and social mobilisation for political enlightenment”, he stated further.

Oladosu reiterated that radio had always been important and would remain important; stressing that technological development had enhanced the status and significance of radio, as an instrument of governance and social integration. Oladosu equally called on the government to make public radio stations serve the people and not only the government, and proper equipping of stations for service delivery. In the same vein, a former Director of Operations at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Eddy Aina, has cautioned operators of campus radio against violating provisions of the commission’s code. Aina affirmed that campus radio operations were designed to aid teaching and complement classwork. He made this known at an in-house seminar for radio personnel themed; “Nigeria Broadcasting Code and Campus Radio Operations in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects”.

According to him, a campus radio is supposed to provide an opportunity for practical experience in grooming and moulding students in the rudiments of broadcasting, stressing that such specialised radio performs the traditional role of informing and educating students and the host community on issues bordering on public interest as well as entertainment. Aina noted that a campus radio is expected to foster civic responsibilities, and engender communal integration. He said, “General challenges like capital-intensive nature of broadcasting, inadequate financial pool, inadequate requisite professional qualification by station personnel, a deliberate attempt at over modulation of transmitter power, non-adherence to provisions of the NBC and peculiar challenges like non-adherence to provisions of the code, particularly with respect to revenue generation and funding”.

The ex-NBC Director admonished the management and operators of campus radio stations across the country to adopt self-censorship, self-restraint, and strict professionalism as their mantra. Radio communication should embrace quality control in broadcasting to scrutinise the contents that go into the air, recruitment of competent personnel into the profession, engaging the radio in social engineering tool to correct anomalies in society while the contributions of radio to the country’s social, political and economic spheres should be appreciated. Not only that, radio should be an instrument of governance and social integration, public radio stations should serve the people and the government, and adherence to the NBC code. Radio station should provide an opportunity for practical experience in grooming broadcasters, community members on matters bordering on public interest, foster civic responsibilities, and engender communal integration.

In the final analysis, the radio should be more responsive to the needs of Nigeria and the citizens in this period that politics is in the air whereby the people yearn for good governance. The desire for a better nation tops the needs of the people considering the avalanche of challenges facing us. These range from insecurity, unemployment, poverty, sectarian crises, and declining economic fortunes. Therefore, radio communication should make it possible to eligible voters to turn up massively to exercise their civic duties, electoral body should be empowered to carry out their statutory functions without fear or favour while constant awareness should be stepped up to ensure that the people are adequately educated on what they are expected to do in the electoral process. Doing this would be taking the right step in the right direction.