Mar 30, 2016

The Cost of Unethical Radio and TV Broadcasts

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These days I don’t listen to local radio much. There is so much littering of the airwaves on my part of the globe. Every morning, after booting my life for the day, I will tune to local radio. This is notwithstanding the fact that I am aware that everything has become very pedestrian. But I tune in out of fear of missing out on critical local issues that could affect me, after all my life is still ninety per cent tied to what goes on around me. But it won’t be long before I will impulsively switch off, after I would have been turned-off by the usual irritants. 

What are those things that turn me off? There’re often issues that fall short of what one may consider news, bits and pieces that aren’t news-worthy at all. For instance, an old politician calling on Nigerian subjects to have the fear of God. But, one also hears news items that have already become so stale that they shouldn’t be aired as new. These days, getting people to call and air their views on selected topics has become fashionable even when the complexion of the show is unsuitable for such.

The greatest and biggest litter of local radio airwaves is the kind of music that one hears. In the past half a decade or so unprofessional local music artists have increasingly become dominant of the airwaves. This is despite the truth that their materials are demos that fall short of the acceptable standards. Tolerating such shoddy material means that we’ll have to make do with the irritation that comes with hearing them.  When one argues he is asked: “if you don’t play local artists how would they find their bearing?” An apt answer has always been that while promoting experimenting artists one shouldn’t end up exhausting a greater percentage of music time on them. It makes them seem like the professional and the toasts. After all, most of the artists played are satisfied with just that and won't do anything to further improve their conditions. Why can't they be given something like one hour (at most) every day.

The tawdry of these transmission practices compels one to turn to better competitors. In this era of digital satellite competition the pedestrian loses out to the innovative and professional. A large number of radio and TV stations are owned and financed by public money. The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria has its headquarters in Abuja, with at least a branch in each of the 36 state capitals and Abuja. It is the same thing with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The 36 states also have their own radio and television stations to help air their peculiar activities and policies. That is a cursor to the enormity of public money that is spent on transmission operations. Always, there is the issue of how public agencies can become self-sustaining thereby taking off part of the burden from the shoulders of the various tiers of government who will then be able to heed the other issues that have been left in the cold.  The tradition also breeds a culture of mediocrity, a culture to which Nigeria has become enslaved.

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