- For over a decade, there has been growing decline in radio listenership
- Media practitioners, others give reasons for the development
- UNESCO declares February 13, World Radio Day
In the early 20th century, radio was arguably one of the credible source of information in our society which in its essence has earned it a flagship of not only information but also entertainment.
Back then before the advent of internet services and social media, it is said that whatever was aired on radio station was viewed by the society as credible, reliable and truthful.
In fact, during such era, radio broadcasters were seen as people of impeccable character and purveyors of information.
Millions of Nigerians and world over owned and listened to radio more than ten hours everyday.
To further show people’s unbridled attachment to radio message and information dissemination, even farmers in rural areas in Nigeria took their transistor radio to their farms just to get first hand information on any happening around them.
It was said then that it was easier to see home of an average Nigerian without a seat than without a radio set so much so that it remained an indispensable property in millions of homes.
However, WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that with the explosion of internet services, the radio listenership has continued to take a nose dive.
Notwithstanding the innovation of phone manufacturers in building radio apps in today’s phones, the listenership is still nothing to write home about.
In any case, some persons interviewed by WITHIN NIGERIA reporter showed that radio has gradually become an technology with the advent of social media.
Felix Ikem who spoke to our reporter stated that though he has a radio, he listened to it twice in a week or monthly depending on how busy he is.
Giving his reasons for not showing more interest in radio program, Mr. Ikem said that, “Well, radio stations have remained stagnant for over a decade now in terms of their usual operation methods.”
According to him, many radio stations usually air programs that are so much boring that many people see them as object of ridicule.
Proffering solution for radio listenership to bounce back, Ikem said that “they need to introduce new and modern operational method to match up with the ever-changing modern technologies.
“Everything is now moving faster and smarter. As broadcast stations, they need to be ahead of every other media outlet in terms of sourcing and casting their stories/news. And they have to package their news in a way that it will be compatible with the modern mobile technological gadgets, and will not be difficult to access.
“Again they should make their radio stations accessible on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tit tok, etc. This is so because this is where the world has moved to. Therefore they should make themselves available and accessible in those platforms.”
Explaining further, Mr. Ikem said that radio stations should find a way of creating mobile app for their stations.
This according to him will bridge the barrier of coverage in radio broadcasting.
“You will agree with me that if you go to places like Kaduna, Abuja, Jos and other northern part of Nigeria, you can’t receive signals of radio stations in this South East zone. With the level of technology, we are not supposed to witness this barrier. Radio stations should develope mobile apps so that wherever you are in the world, you can receive their clearly.”
Ikem also stressed that radio stations should always update their news story at least every three hours.
” I tell you, a situation whereby a radio will air one particular news story in the morning, afternoon and repeat in the evening and the following morning is to say the least, unprofessional and boring. Why can’t they go out and scout for news instead of repeating same news stories for more than 24 hours? It is very unprofessional.”
Another journalist Chief Sam Otti told W
ITHIN NIGERIA that though he has radio, he no longer listen to radio as often as before.
“I no longer listen to radio as often as before. Occasionally I listen to Network News in the morning.”
Explaining further, Chief Otti said that “online media is more flexible and offers a rich variety of news.
Online also delivers timely news, and offers visuals to complement the story.”
By and large, a primary school teacher at Model primary school, Nsukka, Mrs. Jane Eze told our reporter that for over one year now, she has not listened to radio.
According to Mrs. Eze ” when I was in the northern state, I couldn’t do without radio. My brother with whom I was staying has radio both at home and his shop. His radio was on 24 hours every day.
“But when I came down to the Eastern part, I lost interest in listening to the radio. This is due to the fact that their programs here are not interesting. They air stale news, morning, afternoon and night. Moreover, internet services has taken over every aspect of information gathering and dissemination.”
Mrs Eze stated that radio stations are too lazy to step up with the new technology, stressing that many of them don’t have Facebook account where they can stream live programs for those who don’t live within their area of coverage.
In a chat with radio broadcaster at Voice Fm radio, Nsukka Enugu state, Mr. Francis Akubue told WITHIN NIGERIA that radio listenership has reduced drastically when compared to what was obtained in the early 90s.
According Mr. Akubue, popularly known as Icon and sports presenter in the station, ” I listen to radio everyday. I have radio in my room and listen to other stations other than my stations.
“However, I must tell you that people listen to radio in the northern Nigeria more than other parts of the country.
“Let me also remind you what draws people to a particular station is the kind of programs they air in that station. If your programs are boring, many listeners will certainly switch to other vibrant stations. Again, you should also know that today, many people rely heavily on social media to get and disseminate their information.
“As a sports presenter, I receive a lot of calls during the program because you know sports is a universal program that cut across all genders and age.
“So, all in all, radio listenership has lost its vibes but that natural. It is a shift in technology. Youths like sports program more than any other programs. That’s why they listen more to sports program than any other programs.”
When our reporter visited some electronic shops at Enugu, majority of the radio sets seen have inbuilt MP3 technology which allows users to play music.
One of the sellers told our reporter that he sellers average of five radio sets everyday.
In any case, one of the buyers who spoke to WITHIN NIGERIA stated that he was buying the radio purely to listen to music but not for radio.
According to the buyer, he has not listened to any radio station over half a decade but likes playing music everyday.
WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that due to continued decline in its listenership, the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO has designated February 13 every as World radio day.
How this will impact positively and revive radio listenership world wide is still open to conjecture.