1.1 BACKGROUD TO THE STUDY
The mass media perform a lot of key functions in this society and have been credited based on their positive role, as well as their centrality to development. Masses in any organized society depend on media for information, education and socialization. This is brought by the functions of media, which include among other things, surveillance of the environment and transmission of cultural heritage from one generation to the other.
The radio provides an excellent means of keeping people well informed on current events. It also plays a vital role in shaping public opinion. The Radio enhances development as it supplies information on basic developmental needs, which seek to enrich the life style of its citizenry. That is by influencing positively the society, political, as well as economic and cultural well being of the people. Constant exposures to news stories lay new values, which change peoples attitude and perception, and make them, adjust to suit the new values being laid down. It helps to coordinate national economic development.
The origin of broadcast media goes back to the 19th century. Radio was invented in 1890s or to be precise in 1885 by an Italian called Glena Marconi in Italy. An American made the first broadcast of music and speech in 1906,, R.A Fessenden. Etymologically, radio has its root in the Latin word Radius which means Ray. The radio communication is known as wireless communication and popularly known in other words as over the air broadcasting. South African was the first to establish Radio broadcasting in the black African continent By 1920 Johannesburg has already started Radio Broadcasting. In Nigeria, Radio broadcasting was the first to be established as far back as 1933 when the empire broadcasting service was introduced. On the 19th December 1932, the British broadcasting corporation BBC launched the world first regular short wave programmer. It was meant to develop political, economical and cultural like between United Kingdom and the English speaking countries of the world. One of these wireless as they were called at that time located in Lagos, Nigeria.
Nigeria realized the potentialities of broadcasting and by 1933, post and telecommunication department Pamp;T was directed to evolve a method of distributing programmer to the main centers of population, that is Lagos, Ibadan and Kano. The project was completed in 1934. These stations were only allowed to rebroadcast BBC programmer through rediffusion boxes. This method was called Radio Diffusion serves RDS.
The redistribution system continued until 1951, when in April, the first Nigeria broadcasting service NBS was in done from Tugweli House in Marina, Lagos, with the creation of states in 1986 and subsequent creation of more states later, almost every state of the federation have started owning radio station. The broadcasting industry has seen magnificent growth, from the pioneering efforts of the British colonial governments in 1935 to the present sophisticated era. This is manifested in the ever increasing number of broadcasting houses in the country today.
1.2 BRIFE HISTORY OF RADIO BENUE
Radio Benue, Makurdi came into existence through Edict No.14 of 1978. This Edict may be cited as the Radio Benue Edit 1978, and shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 1st April 1978. Since the inception of this broadcasting industry in 1978, the corporation has continued to operate under very difficult and trying conditions.
Similar to the tremendous growth of the broadcasting industry is by coinciding growth in listenership. The listenership has swelled from small privileged elite, to millions, the qualification being the ability to pay for Radio sets and willingness to listen. Though, it is not every programmer that is being listened to by listeners. Some listeners prefer listening to particular programmer. As a result of the highly specialized skills required of staff, the sophisticated machinery high operating cost such as transportation, out of station allowances, etc. the electronic media institution require adequate funding by government or private media proprietors.
Regrettably, over the years, the down turn in our nations economy seems to have lowered the rate of the patronage of Radio programmers in the country in general and Makurdi in particular. Many third world nations today have as one of their major problems how to reach the significant majority of their population that are largely illiterate, rural and poor with information on development programmer such as agriculture, health and other useful information.
Radio Benue, Makurdi which was set up in 1978 by the government of Benue state and empowered to disseminate information aimed at informing, educating and entertaining the people of the state among other objectives, at present broadcasts on two band FM, which operates a music format, while the medium wave operates a music format, through effective utilization of these two formats. Radio Benue, Makurdi satisfies its primary objective of education, informing and entertaining the people of Benue State.
In discussing a topic on programmer patronage it is necessary to look at what a programmer is Robert 1988 says:
Programmed is a creative message, with a
beginning, middle and an end occupying a discreet
period of time which may be separated by one or
more intervals and which a broadcasting
organization produces to justify its reason for
existing, and satisfying some taste and or
Based on the foregoing definition, broadcasting organizations broadcast various programmer to satisfy the taste of the society in which they exist. These programmer classified on the basis of their nature, the elements that make up the programmer and how they are related. Examples of programmer are documentaries, magazine, public affairs, current affairs, discussions, feature, drama, talks, interviews, etc. these can further be classified based on what constitute and is involved in producing the programmer.
There is hardly any information on how many Radio sets are in use, size of audience. And it is noteworthy that, the number of sets used at a particular time could be a clue to the size of audiences.
Such information, unfortunately, is not available, neither is there any demographic data on which to plan. The absence of demographic data, which deals with the educational level of the audience, is compounded by the total absence of psychographic data which deals with likes and dislikes of the audience.
In spite of the death of the information of which to plan, Radio Benue, Makurdi has resorted to the sure means through which it measures audience patronage of its programmer. These methods are:
a Direct feedback, which involves various types of personal audience responses, especially letters sent in to the programmer, Talk back in English and Nger pine in Tiv.
b Regulatory constraints, which include station policy.
c Inferential feedback, which includes responses from advertisers and other clients, including personal paid advertisements.
d Conditional feedback, which are the opinion of friends, family, critics and press reports.
e Staff feedback, which are the opinions of fellow professionals at work including colleagues in other departments.
f Personal judgment, which is based on instinct, common sense, knowledge of community, personal experience and opinion of the management of the station.
The soared state of the nations economy has forced some media houses to retrench works of which Radio Benue, Makurdi is an example. The general trend of economic depression has affected audience attitude towards patronage of Radio, even though Radio is the simplest and cheapest medium of communication and mass mobilization in Nigeria. Every average Nigeria has a Radio set and listens to. Radio is the medium that reaches the grassroots perfectly, and therefore, the most powerful medium of communication in Nigeria.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The issue of economic depression by observation, is not peculiar to Nigeria but has assumed a global dimension. For quite some now there seems to be a decline in the patronage of Radio. This has generated heated debates among a lot of people. Many people argue that listenership has fallen drastically, and this consequently affects the disposal income of a lot of people. People where are of low socio economic status in the society, cannot afford Radio sets at the expense of their livelihood. The soared nature of the economy has increased the rate of unemployment to an alarming proportion following retrenchment in public and private sectors.
For obvious fact that Nigeria depends largely on western countries, technologically, every communication equipment and facility are imported. The importation of these heavy equipment, by law attracts heavy import duty or taxes, and this tend to raise the cost of production, and subsequently leading to high cost of media products.
The problem then is that the media and the radio in particular is expected to play an important role in mobilizing the people towards social, economic and political development. If the utilization of messages from it declines it might pose a critical setback. What, therefore, poses critical factors in programmer patronage.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
As a guild for the progress of this project, the following research questions are raised:
1. Do the people of Makurdi patronize Radio programmer
2. Does the output of Radio programs affect its listenership
3. Does cost prevent the people from buying radio sets
4. When does decline in the consumption of Radio message surface
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will serve to provide the much needed information to community leaders, respective sponsor, promotes and the concerned audiences about special problems that hinder the patronage of Radio Benue programmer, among the Benue people of Makurdi.
This study is a synthesis of knowledge as concerning Radio programmer patronage. It is intended to serve as a reference material in the subsequent study concerning Radio program
Achievement of goals must be identified and removed if the system is to survive, develop and to prosper.
This study seeks to examine answers to the raised research question on the decline in patronage of radio message in Makurdi. Efforts will be made to establish the truth or otherwise of this assertion.
The research is aimed at shaping the minds of those in government, and private media proprietors on the need to, as a matter of necessity, fund media institutions to the expected standard. This is in order for the media as a role model to be effective and efficient in molding the society.
The study is aimed at point out some lapses on the part electronic media management by those who are bestowed with such responsibilities to see themselves as pedals for these transformations of the society to suit modern taste.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study was designed within the context of Benue state media only. It considered the general level of patronage of Radio programs in Benue State and Makurdi in particular.
This was deemed possible by dividing the entire Makurdi into five groups or geographical areas as fellows: North Bank area, the State Civil Service Secretariat, Wurukum Area, Local Government Secretariat, and New GRA areas respectively.
The factors that impede the smooth completion of this work, apart from time factor, was the fact that there was little or no scientifically documented study on an important subject of the decline in the patronage of Radio messages in the state.
There was hardly any information on quantitative and qualitative research, which are information on how many Radio sets are used, size of audience, such information, unfortunately, are not available, neither is there any demographic data on which to plan.
The absence of demographic data, which deals with the educational level of the audience, is compounded by the total absence of psychographic data which deals with likes and of the audience.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Broadcast Information dissemination sent to all direction by Radio or television.
Consumption: the viewing, reading and listening to media information, utilization or patronage of media communication.
Audience: Members of the society that listen, view or read the media radio, newspapers or television of communication.
Radius: Latin word which means Ray the outgoing waves that bear signals or message called programs.
Depressed: State economic or political backwardness.
Demographic: Statistical data of birth, death, age, occupation to show condition of the community.