EVALUATION OF THE USE OF NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN SELECTED RADIO STATIONS IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA
Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)
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It is not disputable that radio stations in Nigeria have commenced the integration of new media
technologies (NMTs) in their operations. This is expedient as no radio station can survive this
digital era with only analogue equipment. This study evaluates the use of new media technologies
in Nigerian radio station in order to ascertain the possibility of meeting up with the deadline by
ITU. It unravels among other things the NMTs available to the Radio stations, what the available
technologies are used for, and the proficiency level of the broadcasters in using the technologies.
To generate data for this research, survey research method was adopted to guide the study and
questionnaire was used as the major instrument. Findings from the analysed data show that the
technologies available in Nigerian radio stations are the ones used in the processes of generating
signals while transmission is done through an analogue platform. It was discovered that media staff
are highly proficient in the technologies which they use in discharging their duties in their various
units. It was also discovered that issues like virus and epileptic power supply are the major factors
militating against the use of new media technologies in radio stations. Based on the findings, it was
recommended that government and station owners should put in extra effort to provide their
stations with digital transmitters so that the potentials of new media technologies can be fully
1.1 Background to the Study
The role of New Media Technologies (NMTs) in today’s global society cannot be
overemphasized. This is obvious as they are used by the traditional mass media in this era. Prior to
the advent of colonialism in Nigeria, traditional media of communication like town crier, talking
drum and market women had been popular (Ndolo, 2006). Although these media of
communication exerted some influences on the audience, they were constrained by issues which
bothered on timeliness and reach. However, these constraints have been taken care of by the
emergence of modern mass media. The modern mass media have also intensified media effect with
the aid of several innovative technologies, through which heterogeneous audience, who are far
flung in terms of space and time are reached simultaneously.
The modern mass media are basically classified under print and electronic media. Okunna
and Omenugha (2012), grouped books, newspapers as well as magazines under print media while
electronic media on the other hand, comprise radio and television. According to Nwodu (2008),
“the power and potency of broadcasting over other communications techniques dwell in its ability
to combine sight and sound to reach the audience in a language and style the audience are familiar
with” (p.19). With the use of transmission gadgets, broadcast media programmes are disseminated
in form of signals which are received simultaneously. This analogue wireless technology involves
the use of transmitter which generates waves that carry voice transmissions or messages through
the air to the various locations where they are received through radio and television sets
(Okunna&Omenugha, 2012). Extolling the virtues of broadcast media, Nwodu (2008) said that
“the power of broadcasting in any society is premised on the fact that they give impetus and add
credence to developments that are hitherto unconfirmed” (p.19).
Feasibly, broadcasting has come to take care of the inadequacies of print media and other
systems of human communication. It is the product of young innovators who were concerned with
devising a more profitable and efficient means of communication which could reduce the
challenges of space and time (Owuamalam, 2006).
It started in Nigeria as a tool in the hands of the British colonial masters to pursue their
developmental plans and economic systems on Nigeria. It started with monitoring stations which
were later replaced by Radio Distribution Services. As years rolled by, there was a call for a fullfledged
and harmonized broadcasting system which would involve the use of standardized
transmitters, experienced staff and efficient financial backing. Against this backdrop, T. W.
Chalmers was delegated to oversee the preparation as well as ensure that everything was in order
for the setting up of a proper broadcasting terrain in Nigeria. His positive report led to the
establishment of the Nigerian Broadcasting Services in 1951 and by 1954, a broadcasting house
was erected at Ikoyi, Lagos where the first broadcasting took place.
Initially, broadcast media ownership was an exclusive preserve of the Federal Government
hence its presence on the exclusive list before it was devolved to the concurrent list, giving the
various states authority to own and run their own radio stations at their own will. With the creation
of more states, the number of radio stations increased.
However, it was not until 1992, when Gen Ibrahim Babangida deregulated the broadcast
industry by the virtue of decree 38 of 1992, that private individuals, who have the wherewithal,
were given the opportunity to own any form of broadcast media. This coincided with the ICT
revolution which started in the later part of the 20th century. This revolution, according to Mbam
(2006) is “the radical elimination of the old information system characterized by slow analogue
technology and substituting them with the new fast and highly efficient digital technology” (p. 63).
In other words, this revolution came as a result of the discovery of a new reliable technology which
is capable of expediting the process of information management.
Agu (2011) explains that Information and Communication Technologies are “the various
modern devices and application such as cable, satellite, the online network and telemetric
applications that facilitate the circulation of ideas and create a link between data and human
beings” (p.122). It also has to do with the use of computer software in analyzing, processing,
storing, retrieving, distribution and transfer of information. It could also be seen as the application
of digital equipment in the aspect of information dissemination. These technologies are laptops,
desktop computers, internet, microwave transmitter, condenser microphone, DVDs, audio CDs,
digital recorders, GSM, audio console etc.
Arguably, these technologies have introduced dynamism in the system of information
dissemination in terms of feedback mechanisms and interactivity as internet users through the
social media platform – facebook, twitter, myspaceetc, participate in the process of information
gathering and dissemination thereby providing and accessing information from a variety of
sources. With the GSM also, communication gap has been bridged in the sense that one can
communicate with someone in a different country and get his or her feedback at the same time. The
development of multimedia phones – androids, iPadsetc and the installation of mobile internet
through the help of various service providers have made the use of internet easier and more
interesting as one can surf the net on the go. The CD plates, MP3s, MP4s etc also give people the
opportunity to listen to songs and music at their convenience. Media stations are adopting these
new technologies to ensure good performance not only in the competitive environment but also to
stand strong in the overwhelming globalization era where countries are becoming increasingly
dependent on one another for survival.
With the involvement of these technologies, different types of media have emerged altering
the relationship between the producer of a mass media message and his audience. It is believed that
these new media evolved as a result of the increasing level of complexities brought about by the
Information and Communication Technologies. Initially, communication involved more of
transmission than interaction as feedback mechanisms were not efficient. Also, producers were
more concerned with the production and distribution of media content in an analogue format but
the new system emphasizes more on processing, exchanging and storage of media content with its
“demassification” and “asynchronous” qualities.
According to Asemah (2011), “demassification” involves the relegation of certain degree of
control which the message producer had on the mass communication process to the media
consumer while “asynchroneity” refers to the ability of audience members to send and receive
messages at their own convenience. He goes on to say that this new system makes room for ondemand
access to content on digital device as well as interactive user feedback, creative
participation and community formation around the media content. Danaan, (2006) corroborated
this when he said that “the consumer rather than the producer has more control over meaning
Through the new technologies, media contents can now be transmitted through different
ways without loss of quality. For instance, with CD, MP3 players and even multimedia phones,
people listen to music in a stereophonic format at their convenient time. The computer is also used
for word processing and storage quiet unlike the analogue typewriter. Baran (2004), states thus:
Easier creation and distribution of content leads to more choice for media consumers;
people can seek and receive contents they are interested in while ignoring other contents; a
person can communicate to anywhere, from anyplace, at any time. This affords freedom of
movement and more convenience in terms of space and time; individuals will have access
to other people despite lack of physical proximity (p.316).
According to Danaan (2006), “dynamic elements in the system have widened the media
horizon. Both the print media and electronic media are merging with the new digital technology to
create the new media” (p.107). No wonder Rodney (2007) noted that “mass communication media
in the modern age are blurring and blending together into what is really a single system or set of
interrelated systems” (p.148). Okoro (2006, as cited in Olley, 2009) sees this as technological
convergence, which is “the continuous development in media technology aimed at bringing about a
blend in technologies in the process of message delivery” (p.4). In other words, new media are
simply the use of ICTs in the advancement of the old media such that they can comfortably fit in
the complex society which is brought about by digitization.
Now, there exists a system of interconnectivity in the world whereby events that take place
in a specific part of the world are known in different parts. This is referred to as globalization.
Asemah, (2011) defined globalization as the “interconnectedness and multiplicity of linkages that
exist among the nations of the world which together constitute the modern world system” (p.190).
This has brought to pass the Marshal McLuhan’s concept of a Global village which states that the
advancement in ICTs will make the world seem smaller to the extent that one can easily know what
is happening in different parts of the world as though they were happening around him (Asemah
2011). Baran, (2010) described the global village as “an exciting place, a good place for people
enjoying increased contact and increased involvement with one another aided by electronic
In accordance with the view of Asemah (2011) that globalization cannot thrive without the
mass media and global information technologies, several studies have shown that most radio
stations use new media technologies in their daily operations. Based on this, the researcher is
propelled to evaluate the use of these new media technologies in radio broadcasting.
A Brief Profile of the selected Radio Stations
Hot 99.5 FM
Hot FM, a subsidiary of Spectrum Broadcasting Company Nigeria limited which has
operated for seven years in Nigeria flagged off with a test transmission in 2010. It commenced
fully in 2011 having fulfilled all the necessary requirements needed for frequency modulated
broadcasting as prescribed by the National Broadcasting Commission. Since then, Hot FM has
continued to “blaze the trail” with issues pertaining to education, entertainment, politics and
information. It covers the entire South-East, South-South, and parts of South-West States with its
interesting programmes like People’s assembly, Birthday show, P.M Magazine, Evening showers,
Request show etc. thereby linking Owerri and its environs to the entertainment master grid. It
operates through several departments. They include engineering department which handles
technical equipment like transmitter and generator; news department which sees to news coverage
and presentation; programmes and production department which sees to the effective and efficient
production and presentation of programmes and marketing unit which sees to the various ways
through which funds can be sourced for the station. Others are the maintenance department, traffic
department, and accounts department. Hot FM radiates on 99.5 FM megahertz and is located at
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Drive off Onitsha road, Owerri, Imo State.
Heartland FM 100.5
Radio Nigeria Heartland FM was established on the 8th day of February 2003 as the fifth
frequency modulated stations from the stable of Radio Nigeria (Federal Radio Corporation of
Nigeria), inaugurated for operations under the administration of Chief OlusegunObasanjo. Located
in the vital part of the country, Heartland FM broadcast programmes that cover a wide range of
fields of human endeavour like industry, economy, politics, tradition and culture. It has helped in
rekindling hopes and aspirations of people in its catchment belt. It also provides its numerous
listeners with the opportunity to interact with others on contemporary issues through programmes
like “Matters arising”. Indeed, “the voice of the Eastern Heartland” as it brands itself has
distinguished itself with the wide range of entertaining and educative programmes it provides. It is
known for good music and enlightening talk shows on current issues garnished with distinctive
actualities in sports, science and technology and has proved its mettle as the voice of the eastern
heartland as it is poised to contribute immensely towards making Imo and its environs enjoy radio
broadcasting to the fullest. Heartland FM 100.5FM is located at km 7, AzaraegbeluOwerri, Imo
State along Owerri-Umuahia road.
Orient 94.4 FM
Orient FM is the radio services of Imo Broadcasting Corporation formally known as Imo
Broadcasting Services which was established in 1976 by edict no. 15. This came as a result of the
creation of Imo state from the East central State. It was originally an Amplitude Modulation station
which transmitted on channel 721 kilohertz in the medium wave band until 1994 when the FM
channel transmitting on 94.4 megahertz in frequency modulated waveband was established. This
FM channel is now known as Orient 94.4 FM Owerri. It transmits on 30 kilowatt capacity
transmitter acquired by former Governor AchikeUdenwa.
Following the directive by the National Broadcasting Commission for all broadcast stations
to be digitized, the former governor Chief IkediOhakim awarded a contract for the digitization of
the corporation to Harris/Pinnacle firm. This led to the installation of a 30kw transmitter for radio,
two 30 kilowatt transmitters for television, two Outside Broadcasting vans for radio and television,
modern Digital High Definition Cameras for outside and studio coverage and other studio coverage
as well as other studio and allied equipment. He also built two houses for the transmitters and
engaged the services of media consultants to train the staff.
Orient FM operate through these departments: Administrative department, News and
Current Affairs department, Programmes department, Commercial and Business Enterprise
department, Finance and Technical Service department which among other things mans the various
equipments thereby seeing to their services and maintenance. Orient FM is located at chief
AchikeUdenwa Avenue, Aka Nchawa road, New Owerri.
BCA Radio, the radio Channel of Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State started
transmission on November 16th, 1992. Since inception, BCA which transmits on 88.1FM has
proved its mettle as a station “born to lead” with a number of scintillating programmes designed to
educate, inform as well as entertain. It is known for its wide coverage. The station is made up of
different departments structured to ensure effectiveness. These departments include the Director
General’s Office which has the corporate affairs, internal audit, and transport Unit under it;
Administration, Planning, Research and statistics, Technical services, News and Current Affairs,
Programmes, Training as well as Finance and supplies. Their staffs are well trained and committed
towards maintaining a good standard. They are making efforts to remain afloat in this era of new
media Technologies as it has a DOT com presence on to www.bcanigeria.com. BCA Radio is
located at Broadcasting House, Government Stations Layout, Umuahia, Abia State.
Dream 92.5 FM is one of the new private stations in the country today. It is known by the
slogan “my dream, my reality”. Established in 2012 by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Dream FM has
come to stay with its wide range of programmes designed to enlighten, educate, inform as well as
entertain. It has a number of staff members who are poised to upgrade dynamism in the area of
Radio Broadcasting. With its level of dynamism, Dream FM is seen by many as a replacement of
Cosmo FM which ceased transmission in 2008. It is located at No. 1,Temple Avenue, G. R. A.
Coal City FM
The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Enugu Regional Station popularly known as
Coal City FM- the dependable voice of the east, is one of the oldest Radio Stations in the country.
Located at Broadcasting House, No.7 Onitsha Road Enugu, Coal City FM has a wide sphere of
coverage. It entertains the audience with a wide range of programmes designed to inform, educate,
enlighten and entertain. It is a station which is poised to serve the audience better. In August 2013,
the National Broadcasting Commission changed the Frequency from 92.8 FM to 92.9FM in a bid
to ward off interferences from an adjacent station located at 92.5FM Band width. Indeed, Coal city
FM has proved its mettle as the station for the mature minds with its variety of network
programmes designed for the satisfaction of different interest groups.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Prior to the advent of the New Media Technologies (NMTs), radio broadcasting operations
had involved the dissemination of news and information as well as other broadcast programmes
through radio sets alone. Broadcasting was more of a transmission act than interactive since there
was, arguably, no fast feedback mechanism. Also, the news from radio stations was ephemeral
except in the case of repeat broadcast as streaming technologies were not available then.
In this globalization era, new media technologies have emerged with their overwhelming
attributes that most aspects of human life are becoming technologically driven. It is believed that
for any medium of information dissemination to remain relevant, the New Communication
Technologies must be incorporated in their operations because they are believed to enhance
productivity, interactivity as well as make room for a more vibrant system. Following the influx of
communication technologies, studies have shown that radio stations in the country have
commenced the use of New Technologies in their operations.
In spite of the presence of new technologies in radio stations, the possibility of Nigerian
radio stations to meet up with International Telecommunication Union ultimatum becomes bleak
given that recent studies have shown their relative backwardness when compared to their
counterparts in other developed countries. This leads us to query the new media technologies
available to radio stations, the extent to which they are used and the proficiency level of radio staff
to use them effectively. It is against this backdrop that this study is embarked on.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
To determine the new media technologies available in radio stations in south-east Nigeria.
To determine the extent to which new media technologies are used in radio stations in
To ascertain the broadcasters’ level of proficiency in the utilization of these new media
To ascertain how the use of new media technologies has affected the radio operations in
south east Nigeria.
To determine the major challenges militating against the use of New Media Technologies in
radio stations in south east Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What are the new media technologies available in radio stations in south-east Nigeria?
2. To what extent are new media technologies used in Nigerian Radio stations?
3. How proficient are radio broadcasters in the utilization of these new media technologies?
4. How has the use of new media technologies affected radio operations in south-east Nigeria?
5. What are the major challenges militating against the use of new media technologies in radio
broadcasting stations in south-east Nigeria?
1.5Significance of the Study
With the entrance of ICTs in the area of radio broadcasting, a study of this nature is needed.
In view of the overwhelming influence which the New Media Technologies (NMTs), exert in the
world, it becomes exigent to sensitize the general public on what they are used for and how they
are used in radio broadcasting so they can appreciate the position of Nigerian radio broadcasting in
the world ranking. Besides, this work has specific relevance to the professional practice of
broadcasting, to the academia as well as to future research efforts.
With regards to its relevance to the professional practice of radio broadcasting, this research
would help broadcast stations review their terms of operation in order to compete favourably with
their counterparts all over the world. With the new media technologies that abound, an additional
knowledge apart from the ordinary professional ability of the broadcaster is needed to harness the
potentials of these technologies. It will also elucidate on the advantages and disadvantages of new
media technologies so that broadcast media practitioners will be cautious in their application of
To the academia, this study is relevant in the sense that it exposes the relationship between
the deregulation policy of General Ibrahim Babangida in 1992 and the influx of new media
technologies in radio broadcasting. It would also add to the existing body of knowledge in the
application and influence of new media technologies on radio broadcasting thereby widening the
horizon of students who will specialise in this area. Also it will expose the students to the level of
acceptability and operation of NMTs in the government owned and private owned radio stations.
With the change which they have introduced in radio broadcasting, there is need to review the
broadcasting curriculum which is hitherto taught in schools so that Mass Communication graduates
can compete with their counterparts in other countries.
With reference to its relevance to further research efforts, this research will serve as a
reference material for other researchers who may embark on similar study. It will also serve as a
spring board for researchers who have the intention of specialising in radio broadcasting operation
or NMTs. With this, researchers can embark on a comparative study of the other fields of mass
communication like television broadcasting and print media to determine which one is most
affected and influenced by New Media Technologies.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This work is limited to radio stations in south east Nigeria. Six radio stations are selected
representing the Private owned, State Government owned and the Federal Government owned
radio stations in Nigeria. The stations are Hot F.M Owerri, Dream 92.5 FM Enugu, Heartland FM
100.5 Azaregbelu, Coal city FM, BCA FM and Orient 94.4 FM Owerri.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
This study was limited by time constraints on the part of the respondents who were too
busy as a result of the nature of their works as they were working towards meeting up with the time
scheduled for their programmes. Also, due to issues like Ebola virus and Boko haram insurgency
as at the time of this study, some of the radio stations were skeptical about admitting the researcher
into sensitive areas of their stations.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Evaluation: This means ascertaining or determining or assessing the worth of something or
an appraisal of the value of something.
New Media: This refers to those media that evolved as a result of the application of new
Information and Communication Technologies in media terrain.
New Media Technologies (NMTs): These are the various Information and
Communications Technologies used by the various mass media to disseminate information to
diverse audience in the globalised era.
Radio Broadcasting: This is an aspect of broadcasting which uses only sounds to
disseminate information to diverse audience.
Use: This refers to the act of putting something into service. Here, we are referring to the
way new media technologies are put into service in radio stations.