1.1 Background of he Study
The role of the broadcasters and the broadcast media as agents of rural and national development, especially at the information dissemination level is now generally recognized and accepted by experts and policy makers. What seems quite unresolved in many developing countries is how best to utilize the potentials of the broadcasters and their media to achieve developmental objectives (Nwosu, 1990:119). In Nigeria, there are three main types of media ownership namely; government ownership, private ownership and partnership. In the case of government ownership, the government establishes controls and finances the media outfit, private ownership is when an individual or a group of persons establish, control and finance the media outfit in partnership both the government and private individuals are into some sort of co-ownership regarding the establishment, financing and controlling of the media house.
There is a symbiotic relationship between the media and the society. It is in the interest of the society to have strong and robust mass media as it is in the best interest of the media to uphold the values and protect the interest of the society from which they derive their impulse, support and patronage. No media institution can survive if it is perceived to be working against its own society (Onukaba 2005:3).
It is the duty of any media institution to keep the public aware of what is going on around them by providing accurate, factual and timely information at all times. It is also the duty of the media to warn and alert the public about impending dangers to interpret events or provide information needed by the public to make every day decision that will make them participate actively in the political, economic and social activities of a community and to assist the public in determining current trends.
Media institutions are also expected to use their products to educate, entertain, modify public opinions, reinforce attitudes and set agenda for the society. In many societies, people depend on the media to know where to find jobs, where to shop, where to eat, seat out, who to note for etc it is therefore, safe to say that the influence of the media extends to every aspect of human life and society.
But for media institutions to be able to play these roles effectively, they are expected to uphold the values of objectivity, fairness, justice, accuracy, balance, moderation and decency. The reason governments have often given for their involvement in the media is that the private ones cannot be trusted to faithfully uphold these values of the profession. They accuse them of fostering unrealistic expectations among the populace, heightening anxieties about conditions in the country, mongering etc. of course, these are general criticisms against all media institutions, whether private or public. State media institutions are set up ostensibly to address these weaknesses of the private media as well as to bring government programmes and policies closer to the people and promote peaceful co- existence among the different groups in the society in which they operate. But they are usually limited by their methods of operation (Onukaba, 2005:5).
The “battle cone” seems to be drawn between those who argue unflinchingly that the best way to use the broadcast as a facilitator of development in the third world is to have them owned and controlled by the government and those that believe that the best result will be achieved by making the electronic media dominantly a private sector affair. It is on this fact that the researcher’s topic finds it footing, hence “the comparative study of the performance of government owned and privately owned broadcasting media organization” (a study of FRCN and Ray Power Radio).
Somewhere between the two extreme rolls are those who belong to what seems to be more pragmatic position that government ownership and control of the media should co –exist with private media ownership and that commercial broadcasting should exist with private media to facilitate the job of broadcasters in the area of socio- economic development of their nations.
The origin of the current government ownership and control of the broadcast media in Nigeria can be traced to the history, purpose and nature of colonial broadcasting services. It was mainly used for catering for the information and entertainment needs of the predominantly colonial political and educated elites in colonial Nigeria as well as the needs of the very few Nigerians educated elites (Nwosu 1990: 120-121)
Nigeria has since had its independence in 1960 and has undergone many changes that make it imperative that the broadcast media should change its operations and structure to reflect the change situations. Although, the broadcasting system of Nigeria has changed or broaden its aims, objectives and mode of operation but the ownership and control structures or pattern still remains the same.
So many reasons have been given by many Nigerian experts and policy makers for the perpetuation of the ownership and control status quo. One of such reasons is that the airwaves are limited and should, therefore, be regulated by the government to ensure equity, order and fairness it has also been argued that the role of broadcasting as an instrument of nation- building and development is so important that it should not be left in the hands of private individuals or organizations.
The fear has also been expressed that because radio and television are powerful instruments of politicization, they careful into the hands of some unscrupulous politicians or political groups who may misuse them to gain and hold political power unfairly or propagate parochial political ideologies or ideas. There is the question of funding proponents of government control and ownership insist that broadcasting in Nigeria can never survive financially if it does not depend on its government for financial subventions.
It is believed in many quarters that it is the above reason given for exclusive government ownership and control broadcasting in Nigeria that has kept the system unchanged until 1992. Hence, many Nigerians have yielded abundant reasons in support of privatization of broadcasting.
The dominant belief of those who advocate privatization of broadcasting in Nigeria seem to be that the electronic media practitioners would render the best service when those media are operated as privately owned business or a commercial enterprise. Among the reason given for making this conclusion is that the electronic media would then be able to avoid unsuitable government influence that content of broadcast news or current affairs in today’s Nigeria tend to be politically biased.
The point that some people make is that private ownership of broadcast media allows for healthy competition which could lead to improved services to the masses of Nigeria. Related to this service of the masses is the argument that privately owned broadcast media encourages diversity in production, programming and other areas of broadcasting.
By 1992, there was a lot of debate and protest against the monopoly of the government in broadcasting business. Thus, there were clarion calls for deregulation and decentralization of broadcast media establishment and ownership. Hence, it was the contention of the people that a media system that does not suffer undue restrictions and interference from government would definitely become the best for the development democracy in the country (Nwosu 1990:22)
It was not until 24th of august 1992 that the federal military government under Babangida’s administration promulgated decrees number 38, which established privatization of electronic media. It was in view of this that Dr. Raymond Dopkesi; established Raypower which started broadcasting in Lagos and later established Enugu station which is one of my study focus.
It is the development that gave rise to the contention as to which system of ownership is preferable, hence, the relevance of the study at hand.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Ownership of the media house, its control and recruitment of its principal staff has formed the influential factors consequent upon the programme quality of the media house since the owners of the media house usually determine the aforementioned factor. The media ownership has in some ways influenced the media progrmames and this has posed problems to journalism as a trade.
In this case, the broadcast media have to function in tune with the whims and caprices of the owner(s). Nothing runs the broadcast media practitioners down as having the option of either following the dictates of he owners or face the bitter music of being sacked. Ownership influence on programme content has made many broadcasting media outfit to collapse in operations and has also made them to loose their audience grip. This is mostly true of government owned broadcast media. After the liberation of media started springing up from all corners, one of which is Ray power FM radio station.
These new privately owned media station produced standard programmes that out bids that of the government owned media stations and as such, many people abandoned government owned broadcast media.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study will include:
i To find out if the emergence of private broadcasting media in Nigeria has improved broadcasting generally.
ii. To establish if the entrance of private broadcasting is a challenge to government owned broadcast media in Nigeria.
iii. To know if source credibility affects broadcast media listenership.
iv. To find out if Enugu radio listenership prefers private radio programmes to government radio programmes.
v. To check whether the radio listenership use what they hear from the radio.
1.4 Research Questions
i. How does the emergence of private broadcasting media in Nigeria improve broadcasting generally?
ii. To what extent is the entrance of private broadcasting a challenge to government owned broadcast media in Nigeria?
iii. How does source credibility affect broadcast media listenership?
iv. To what extent does the Enugu Radio listenership prefer private radio v. programmes to government radio programmes?
v. To what extent does the radio listenership use what they hear from radio?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypothesis derives logically from the problem posed in the research questions.
Hi: The emergence of private broadcasting in Nigeria improves broadcasting
Ho: The emergence of private broadcasting in Nigeria does not improve
Hi: The entrance of private broadcasting is a challenge to government owned
broadcast media in Nigeria to a great extent
Ho: The entrance of private broadcasting is not a challenge to government owned broadcast media in Nigeria to a great extent
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study “The comparative study of the performances of government owned and privately owned broadcasting media organization” (A study of FRCN and Raypower Radio station Enugu) will help other researcher in carrying out a similar study. It will add to the mass communication literature and bulk of knowledge on media performance in Nigeria. The study will help to analyze the pattern of media ownership and its influence on Nigerian development. Finally, it will provide the premise for individuals and stakeholders to make decisions on which form of media ownership is better and needful in Nigeria.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The researcher’s scope will center on comparatively studying government ownership of media alongside privately owned media. The study focus will be on FRCN and Ray power radio stations both in Enugu.
The population selected is made up of the entire people who listens to FRCN and Ray power radio stations.
The sample size will be on those in Enugu metropolis. Due to time and financial constraints and because the researcher is convinced that since FRCN and Raypower FM are both situated in Enugu, it will offer a good sample for the study.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Comparative study:- Based on the study, it means that the researcher will study two media houses government owned (FRCN) and privately owned (Raypower) to find out how similar or different they are.
Government owned media organization:- This is represented by Federal Radio Co-operation of Nigeria (FRCN) which is part of the researcher’s study focus. It is owned by the federal government of Nigeria.
Privately owned broadcasting media:- It is represented by Raypower FM, which is also part of the researcher’s study focus. It is owned by Raymond Dopkesi, under the corporate name: DAAR Communications.