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CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF CAMPUS RADIO BROADCAST

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0              Background to the study

       The personal and unique character of radio makes it one of the most appealing and universal mass medium for participatory communication and development (Teer-Tomaselli& De Villiers, 1998). Various researches avers that radio has the capacity to reach large audiences, both young and old, including those in remote underdeveloped and impoverished areas of the developing world.

       According to Bosch (2007), in the absence of other forms of media such as television and newspapers, radio has proven to be a powerful and vital means of entertainment and communication that guarantees community involvement in the communication process. Further researches show that radio is renowned for providing communities with up-to-date local and international information in their own languages accompanied by various music genres that are compatible with diverse cultural inclinations (Mmusi, 2002).

       The development of digital radio and its capacity to integrate or network with various Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), through convergence, has arguably placed radio as the world’s most successful medium to date that reaches millions of listeners everyday (National Community Radio Forum, 1993). While the traditional functions of national radio, especially Public Broadcasting Service cannot be underestimated, community radio serves as a “niche” of the media landscape that serves as a primary source of reliable information for the entire population (Dunaway, 2002).

         As such, the sector has continued to provide news and information relevant to the needs of community members in the form of a medium which empowers them politically, socially and economically, through locally produced and oriented media contents (Wigston, 2001; Fraser & Estrada, 2001). This is evident in the kind of programming that reflects people’s needs with regard to education, information, and entertainment to all language and cultural groups in the country (Mmusi, 2002 and Teer-Tomaselli, 1995).

       The African Charter on Broadcasting recognises and advocates for a three tier radio regime in individual African countries: public service, commercial/private and community. According to Fraser and Estrada (2001):

Public service broadcasting is generally conducted by a statutory entity, usually but not necessarily state supported or state-owned corporation with broadcasting policies and programming often controlled by a public body, such as a council or a legally constituted authority… and community broadcasting is that non-profit service that is owned and managed by a particular community, usually through a trust, foundation, or association. Its aim is to serve and benefit that community; relying on the resources of the community.

        The Nigeria Broadcasting Code (2012) defines a community as “a group of people residing in a particular geographical location or sharing a strong interest, which the community desires to develop through broadcasting. Such communities include: a local, non-profit organisation, an educational institution (campus), a cultural association, a co-operative society, and a partnership of associations.”

        From a simplistic perspective, community radio is the radio station established and operated by the people of a specific community to advance, promote and protect the community’s common interest and objectives. In a broader sense, the African Charter on Broadcasting defines community radio as the “broadcasting which is for, by and about the community, whose ownership and management is representative of the community, which pursues a social development agenda, and which is non-profit” (Goggle.com/http: The struggle for community broadcasting).

          The word community could be defined by a territorial space or social interest that may be cultural, political, economic, professional, etc. The important thing about a community is that it consists of people who share common interests, values, characteristics and goals. They may be physically domiciled in one geographical entity or physically separated but socially united in their goals.  Also, Opubor (2006) defines community radio as:

When radio fosters the participation of citizens and defends their interests; when it reflects the tastes of the majority and makes good humour and hope its main purpose; when it truly informs; when it helps resolve the thousands of one problems of daily life; when all ideas are debated in its programmes and all opinions are respected; when cultural diversity is stimulated over commercial homogeneity; when women are main players in communication and not simply a petty voice or publicity gimmick; when no type of dictatorship is tolerated, not even the musical dictatorship of the big recording studios; when everyone ‘s words fly without discrimination or censorship, that is community radio.

           The fundamental factor about community radio according to the Association Mondiale Des Radio diffuseurs Communautaires (AMARC), that is the World Association of Community Broadcasters, is that it responds to the “needs of the community it serves, contributing to its development within progressive perspectives in favour of social change; and striving to democratise communication through community participation in different forms in accordance with each specific social context” (Estrada, 2001).

        Although, radio is not a new phenomenon, private ownership, control of programming, content and operation is relatively a recent phenomenon. It has been gaining strength throughout the world in recent years most especially in developing countries. As a result, private FM and community radio has attracted the attention of many international development organizations as an optimal resource to be developed in the struggle for democracy, the fight against diseases and the preservation of local language and culture (Blackson, 2005).

        Furthermore, radio is scholarly proven to be the perfect medium for mass communication. If we compare radio to other mass media channels, it consistently rank as the most popular means of information dissemination, regardless of the continent. The interactive appeal of radio has distinguished it as an effective medium above other tools of mass media. What makes radio particularly appealing is its interactivity, its capacity to provoke dialogue and solicit the participation of local populations (Baran, 2003).

1.1                  Statement of the problem

      This research work observes that Kaduna state university (KASU) is faced with the problem of providing training ground for students of Mass Communication in the area of practical radio journalism. The university management does not only realize the benefit of establishing a community radio for actualizing this objective, it also realizes the benefit of establishing other platforms for training students who have interest in  both radio and television broadcasting.

      It has also been observed that the university is willing to establish a community radio station, but faces the challenges of funds, staff, equipment, location of the radio station and obtaining license from the National Broadcasting Commission.

    The university also faces some challenges in information dissemination to the members of the university community. There are other means of information dissemination to the members of the community who are either directly or indirectly affected by the messages,, but not all the members of the community get the information. This poses a threat to the management and a new way of information dissemination is required. Therefore, this study looks at the challenges and prospects of campus radio broadcast, taking Kaduna State University as a case study.

1.2       Objectives of the study

The objectives of the study are:

1.   To find out the factors responsible for the establishment of Kaduna State University campus radio.

2.   To find out the operational nature of the radio station.

3.   To find out the administrative structure of the radio station.

4.   To find out if there are existing gaps between the aims of establishing the radio station and its current operational function.

5.   To find out the challenges affecting the effectiveness of the radio station (if any).

1.3       Significance of the study

          The data and information gathered in the course of this research would help the broadcast industry, media policy makers, the legislature, government regulatory agencies in charge of broadcasting and university management/authorities to foster a more proactive, competitive and productive ways of developing community radio broadcasting in Nigerian universities.

           Wherever it was established that this work further provides information and additional literature on the nature, importance, challenges and the prospect of campus community radio broadcast.

         The findings in this research work provide a platform for students of mass communication who aspire to achieve greatness and breakthrough in radio journalism and presentation.

       It serves as a guide for researchers and others interested in the area of community radio broadcasting. This and other literature on the challenges of community radio broadcasting will guide the researchers on the possible solutions to the challenges.

     It also provides information for students who wish to build from this research and to explore other dimensions to this study. Lastly, this research work would help scholars in the field of mass communication in identifying the relevant areas of research in the community.

1.4 Scope of the study

      The focus of this research is on the challenges and prospects of campus radio broadcast taking Kaduna State University (KASU) as a case study.

1.5 Limitations of the study

       One of the limitations of this study is that it shall only consider the process and procedure enabling the establishment of campus radio or community radio broadcast in Nigerian universities. It also considers the challenges limiting its effectiveness and efficient operations.

     Another limitation is that it shall only understudy KASU 98.5 FM station out of about 27 licensed campus radio stations across the federation. This probably makes some findings from the research inapplicable to other campus radio stations. More so, the intention to use questionnaire as an instrument of survey would not erase the possibility of bias from the respondents’ responses to the questions in the study.

     Another limitation is that, community radio broadcasting is a new area in Nigeria compared to other developed African countries; this makes it hard for the researcher to find available materials for the research.

    Time or the duration of the research work is a limitation for the work to be completely and accurately executed. Also delay in respondents’ feedback is another factor which affects this research study.

    Financial constraints hinder the smooth conduct of this work as materials are needed but the economic condition in the society is affecting everyone and respondents apathy are also limitations the study  also encountered.

1.6 Research Questions

The study seeks to provide answers to the following Research Questions:

1.   What are the factors that influenced the establishment of a Campus Radio Station in Kaduna State University?

2.   What is the operational nature of the radio station?

3.   What is the funding mechanism of the radio station?

4.   What is the state of the current operational function of the radio station in relation to the aims of establishing it?

5.   What is the perception of students towards the radio station?

1.7 Definition of terms

Campus:         An environment of learning in an academic institution, especially for tertiary education.

Radio station: A broadcast house where mostly audio content and programming are produced and transmitted over broadcast spectrum or frequency

Campus Radio: A radio station situated at the premises of an academic institution.

Community Broadcast: The way of broadcasting within a close frequency or range to a section of the society.

Challenges: The limitations and inhibition posed or that threatens the establishment, effectiveness and efficiency of the campus radio broadcast in Nigeria universities.

Prospect: The possibilities and capacity to operate a successful campus radio broadcast in the universities.

NBC:  National Broadcasting Commission. The acronym for the sole broadcast  regulatory agency in Nigeria.

KASU: The acronym for  Kaduna State University.

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