EVALUATION OF THE USE OF NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN SELECTED RADIO STATIONS IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA_removed

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ABSTRACT

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 maximized.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

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 on demand 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
making” (p.111). 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 technology” (p.262).
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 efficien 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 km7,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. BCARadio 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 FM 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.
Enugu. 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 southeast Nigeria.
To determine the extent to which new media technologies are used in radio stations in south-east Nigeria.
To ascertain the broadcasters’ level of proficiency in the utilization of these new media Technologies.
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
    NMTs.
    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

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