There is no doubt that progress in technology is helping matters in the area of broadcast equipment, by bringing down the cost of starting an FM radio station. It is the reason why there is a proliferation of FM radio stations across the country. In Jos, Plateau State, we now have up to ten FM transmitting stations in the city.
A lot of people are overjoyed, as the chance gives them a lot of options for their education, enlightenment and entertainment.
These are the radio stations, all of which are actually located in Jos-south, with the exception of Ice FM and Unity FM, that are located in Jos North.
- 90.5 - Peace FM, owned by the Plateau State Government.
- 100.5 – Ray Power FM, owned by DAAR Communications.
- 93.7 - Rhythm FM, owned by Silver Bird Communications
- 101.5 - Highland FM owned by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)
- 96.1 - Ice FM, owned by the University of Jos.
- 98.9 - Rock FM, owned by the Plateau State Polytechnic.
- 93.3- Unity FM, owned by Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, ex-senator from Plateau North.
- 104.3 - Tin City FM (ownership unclear)
- 101.9 - Jay FM, owned by the Jonah Jang Family
- 103.9 - KT FM (ownership unclear)
A lot of folks I spoke to are happy about the development. A few others are, however, sad that, despite the increasing number of these stations, they all seem to replicate the plans of the older stations. But they also expressed the feelings that, given the fact that the stations are new, they will build up experiences and improve on their contents for diversity and variety to serve the people better.
A retired broadcast veteran spoke of what he thinks the radio stations need to do to improve to serve people better. He said that Nigeria is a diverse nation. So, the best way to serve the people is to fashion the radio stations to reflect this diversity. The radio stations need to create niches for themselves. What that means is that there should be specializations. Some niches the stations can take advantage of include:
A radio station can decide to broadcast only religious matters and play gospel music. It will attract a lot of listeners, especially with Nigerians being very religious.
Our diversity is also in the area of language. A radio station can decide to transmit only in a single language. This ensures that everyone is carried along, particularly the rural folks, a lot of whom don’t understand English, the major language of transmission of most of the stations. This ensures that role of radios in the education of people is effective. In Plateau State, we have tribes with large populations that radio stations can take advantage of. The big tribes in Plateau State are Mwaghavul, Berom, Taroh and Goemai. Some of the radio station can be located in other local governments to reach the populations effectively.
A radio station can decide to play only music, with a bias on genres. For instance, a radio station can decide to play just reggae music. Others can decide to play old school records to educate the young ones about music that reigned before they were born. That could be Jazz-specific, Soul-specific radio stations. Some radio stations can decide to play only Nigerian music, if they think they will be able to attract enough audience. Others could play Nigerian music, focusing on the contemporaries and the old genres like Juju, Fuji and Highlife, genres that helped to earn respect for the country around the world.
Politics and Current Affairs
Such a radio station will centre on news, political discussions and analysis. That doesn’t stop it from playing music. But, when there is a discussion or issues of current affairs, the radio station sticks to its niche. I see such a radio station attracting the educated and matured at heart.
Of course, there should be one or two radio station(s) that combine(s) everything. That would be their niche, Medley. When Peace FM 90.5 started in 1988, it was the only FM radio station and was expected to embrace all to avoid others getting left out. Such are the stations that should stick to that very role, which has already shaped its identity over a long period.
In all cases, the radio stations would survive from the commercials they air. Creating a niche ensures that you attract people who love that niche. They understand it is for them and would want it to survive. Hence, they would ensure their monies go to it to ensure endures.