There is no doubt that radio has had a profound impact on world development. To honor the importance and unique value of radio, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared February 13 as World Radio Day.
UNESCO reserved this day to call attention to the power of radio – which remains the most affordable and portable means of reaching the largest audience.
Nigerian broadcasters joined media professionals worldwide to honor the powerful role that radio plays in global development.
“Although new media is taking over the world with how we do things, radio is still the most viable option for many to obtain information, it is still the most powerful tool for journalists to reach people in the most remote areas and remote… ”, said Bishop George Bako, during his opening speech at the World Radio Day Symposium. Bako is the former General Director of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
The FRCN – popularly known as Radio Nigeria – is Nigeria's main radio station, serving a large population of listeners in the metropolis of Lagos at three different stations: Radio One 103.5 FM, Metro 97.7 FM and the multi-award Bond 92.9 FM.
Each station – with its own audience and market share – broadcasts in English, Nigerian pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yorùbá.
Radio is still the largest means of news broadcasting in Nigeria. FM (frequency modulation) is the most common, closely followed by AM (amplitude modulation), according to Media Landscape of the European Journalism Center – and online radio has also become quite popular.
As of 2019, Bond FM occupies the first place in the State of Lagos as the broadcaster, according to the ratings of the Nigeria Newspaper radio stations of August 2019.
To celebrate, broadcasters across Nigeria went to Twitter to show their love for the radio:
Staff of Spider Radio (102.7) at Campus Radio of Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna State, Nigeria in the spirits of World Radio Day, 2020 pic.twitter.com/nPP7HDpMY6
– Auwal (@ Kauwal23) February 13, 2020
Spider Radio staff (102.7), radio of the Kaduna Polytechnic Campus, Kaduna State (Nigeria) in celebration of World Radio Day, 2020
Dan Manjang, commissioner of information and communication of the state of Plateau, congratulated broadcasters around the world for “all the sacrifice, resources and time” aimed at keeping citizens informed and entertained:
Happy world radio day to all radio Stations in Plateau state, Nigeria and the world over, Radio plays an integral role in nation building, thank you for all the sacrifice, resources and time you put to keep us informed and entertained. #WorldRadioDay#HappyWorldRadioDay
– Dan Manjang (@ DanManjang1) February 13, 2020
Happy world radio day to all radio stations in the state of Plateau, Nigeria and the entire world, radio plays an integral role in the construction of the nation, thanks for all the sacrifice, resources and time you put to keep us informed and entertained.
History of radio in Nigeria
Broadcasting in Nigeria began in 1933 with the Radio Broadcasting Service (RDS) of the British colonial government, in which speakers were installed in specific public places for people to listen to the broadcasts of the foreign radio service of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
By 1950, the Radio Broadcasting Service took a new name – Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) – and then, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), with broadcasting stations in different regions of the country. The NBC later switched to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in 1978.
“Nigeria's first radio station was established in Ibadan in 1939. The next station was created in Kano in 1944,” according to Legit online media. RayPower FM, Nigeria's first private radio station, was established in 1994, and by 2007 the masses could obtain international broadcasts worldwide, according to Legit.
The radio has always served as an instrument to control decision makers, establish and provide access to information and motivate and inspire the population.
In 2019, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) closed African Independent Television and RayPower FM for its incisive broadcasts and its propaganda against the Government. Also in 2019, Jay FM in Port Harcourt was closed for making alleged transmissions against the Government
Radius that unites and elevates
UNESCO urges all nations to celebrate World Radio and Television Day through partnership activities that transcend borders and in which all broadcasting associations and organizations, media organizations, governmental, private and non-governmental organizations participate .
The theme of this fourteenth edition of World Radio Day is “Radio and diversity.”
Radio Nigeria is fulfilling its own motto of “raising the people and uniting the nation” with the dissemination of informative, educational and motivational content that empower Nigerians to be patriotic citizens.
This occurs at a time when Nigeria has faced severe divisions due to ethnic, political and cultural tensions across the country. In the Fragile States Index of 2019, Nigeria ranked fourteenth among the most fragile states in the world and ninth in Africa. Since 2011, Boko Haram, the Islamist jihadist militancy of northeastern Nigeria, has created a climate of fear and division, as its brutal attacks have caused thousands of deaths and millions of displacements.
To continue elevating Nigeria, FRCN management in Lagos organized various actions to commemorate World Radio Day 2020.
It began with an essay contest in which 1200 words were asked about “why I love listening to the radio” for high school students. Mass communication students also presented a five-minute documentary about the importance of radio in achieving sustainable development goals. From both works two winners emerged.
The winner of the essay, Ìlọ̀rí Ayọ̀olúwa of Mater Christi Catholic High School, Igede Èkìtì, Èkìtì State, recalls the first time she met the radio at age five:
I think I was 5 years old when I got my first radio. … I fiddled with a few buttons and it came on. Then I was astonished to hear voices resonating from this “box” and thought there were people trapped in it. I got scared and asked my father what it was and he took his time to explain what a radio was to me… ”
I think I was five when I got my first radio. … I played with some buttons and it turned on. Then I was surprised to hear voices that resonated in this “box” and I thought there were people trapped inside. I got scared and asked my father what it was and he took his time to explain what a radio was … ”.
On February 12, high school students, mass communication students, major broadcasters and media industry personnel, and Cotodian radio fans gathered at the Lekki Coliseum in Lagos at a symposium to discuss the importance of the radio for development.
When it was night, veteran broadcasters, representatives of the Oba de Lagos, Ọ̀túnba Gani Adams, the Ààrẹ Ọ̀nà Kakanfò of Yorùbá-land and other guests and dignitaries mixed in the Lekki Coliseum for the awards ceremony and dinner of the Day Radio World.
Radio and television professionals such as Cordelia Okpei and many others attended. Some received recognition awards for their contributions to the development of the broadcasting industry and the service to humanity.
The series of events culminated with a telephone program on the air, listeners called to say “Happy World Radio Day” in their various languages and languages:
No one was left out of the celebration. The voices of some Global Voices Lingua teams were also broadcast on Metro 97.7FM. Some retired broadcasters were invited to read the news or to present a segment.
Nigeria World Radio and Television Day 2020 is the inaugural edition of these events, but radio professionals and promoters hope it will become an annual celebration.