A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF AKBC AND PLANET RADIO STATIONS OPERATIONS DURING THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN AKWA IBOM STATE.
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BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Radio as a medium of mass communication has acceptance across the difference social strata in the society over the years. It has being identified as advertiser’s preferred medium of marketing of consumer goods because of it unique features. Recent studies indicate or show that politicians and political parties use this medium during election earring campaign with 2011 election inclusive.
In the process of competition for power and control, politicians and political parties have to appeal to the elaboration for votes and mass supports. They have to persuade through the elaboration of their planned action, that is policy and programs designed to satisfy the needs of the electorates as the party leaders and functionaries have initially perceived them. Such party policy, programs, positions and usually contained in a party platform or party manifesto and these can be in the form of jingles, election programs etc.
Radio jingles become an effective system of influencing voters on their choices of candidates in view of its availability and versatility to a large number of audience over far distance according to Oyeleye(1988;p.67). It is capable of reaching people in their various place of abode who may not have access to other media.
Radio broadcasting necessitates grassroots mobilization in Nigeria politics which had long deals with mass emotional motivation, psycho-social and political spurring of the people towards the attainment of corporate and communal goals which is a sinequa-non to a stable democratic Nigeria, Akindele (1989; P. 1)
In general overview this study seeks to make in-depth enquiry on the operations of the radio stations in Akwa Ibom state considering their level of operations challenges, successes and perhaps the difference in the operations by this two stations. AKBC 90.5 also known as the voice of promise is a radio station owned and managed by the Akwa Ibom state government. From it inception, the broadcast media had been establish to carter for the pleasure of entertaining and informing the audience apart from performing the above mention functions, it is also a vital tool used in running the government activities and serve to protect the interest of the days government. Progressively when Nigeria took over the control of the government, these media remained government owned since their funding come directly from the government and this dependency mark the beginning of their control by the government.
The AKBC as a government owned broadcast media stills works according to the role of protecting and serving as the mouthpiece of the government. This is because as the saying goes “that he who pays the piper dictates the tune”, AKBC must always strike to dictates the government in power if it must render it services. Since the concept of freedom of reporting has been mortgaged by the financial dependency of this broadcast medium on government on government. It does not broadcast anti-government in various mobilization campaigns in their news and various programs. At times, it goes further to do special report to highlight problem areas for government view on specific issues. When it tries to report serious matters pertaining to the government, it does it in a way and manner that wouldn’t displease the government that owns it, in like terms they do not convey the same amount of urgency and seriousness as reported by the privately owned radio stations in such cases. The news reported by the government broadcast medium AKBC radio to some extent lacks accuracy in in-depth facts, fairness and objectivity. It becomes a mere propaganda agent for the savaging of the image of the antigovernment.
PLANET radio on the other hand is also a radio station in Akwa Ibom state with the frequency of 101.1fm but different from AKBC radio is that PLANET radio is privately owned and managed. Contrary to what seem like a government monopoly of the press media overtime, the need for balance reportage and flexibility in programming brought the privately owned media into existence. In 1992, the federal military government under General Ibrahim Babangida regime passed a decree allowing private individual participation in the ownership of electronic media. The aim was to fill the gap in government owned media reportage and also to generate profit reward for the financier’s enterprise, the privatization gave birth to establishment of private media house such as minaj system radio/television, cosmo fm, and African Independent Television (AIT) etc. Unlike the AKBC radio which is owned and controlled by the government, PLANET radio operations is independent of the government. The government does not determine it programs that are carried out on this medium and because of this relative freedom, it makes it possible for it to comment critically and more objectively on government matters than AKBC radio. This forms the base for audience greater confidence in the privately owned media like PLANET radio. As thus the salient point to note here is that this two radio stations are differently owned and managed which is presume to have a whole lot of influence on their operations generally and specifically during the 2015 general election.
How ever as journalism becomes a profession with and expanding scope instead of a sideline for the enterprising printer of government: the broadcast media house should no longer be limited to their owner control. Prior to this, the broadcast media whether owned by an individual or by the government should be able to give to it audience what they need to know and perhaps the accurate thing which they had selected in the midst of so many events which were considered as news worthy for the audience consumption.
The government owned media were at every stage, determining what the audience saw and heard from these media. They had the power to focus attention on some events and ideas rather than other. This was the reason, White (1964) remarked that the editors “in his position… sees to it that the community hears as a fact only those events which the newsman believe to be true”.
Also paramount to this research is the 2015 general election which is a key indices that will be used to assess the two radio stations operations in the course of this research. Going by definition, an election is a formal decision making process by which a defined population made up of qualified adult citizens chooses individual to hold public office.
Another definition of election according to Debie Chris (essential government: p. 112) defines election as the act of electing candidates to represent the people of a given country in the parliament. The executive and possibly into other arms of government as stipulated in the constitution of that particular country.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem that has necessitated the researcher to undergo this research is was this radio stations objective or was media ethics involved in their operations during the 2015 general election. It is necessary to find out this because government owned media (AKBC radio) may be bias to the side of government of the day that owns it by not giving out accurate information as required of them.
Another problem that the researcher is keen to make investigations into is to know if there was any internal factor (adequate man power, mobility, availability of needed equipment, prime time like network news) that affected AKBC radio and PLANET radio station in their operations during the 2015 general elections.
All these assertions are going to be resolved after proper analysis of research data to find out the fact and truth of either of the two statements.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The Objective of the study was to:
I. ascertain if AKBC radio or PLANET radio reported more on the election.
II. determine if really there is a difference in the reporting pattern of the government and privately owned media organizations.
III. ascertain any threat to the operations of this two media houses during the elections
IV. find out how objective the government owned media (AKBC)was in it operation
1.4 Significance of the study
This research work upon completion will make adequate recommendations and will go a long way in proposing ways through which broadcast stations can properly operate during key and important happenings like the general election without or with less short comings. It will further pave way for media stations to operate effectively during important national issues like election that requires professionalism without any form of threat either in the field or in the studio where everything is being anchored.
Another importance of this study was to help direct the attention of media users towards a more reliable medium for a proper comparison of the reporting pattern of both the government and privately owned media in the country.
1.5 Research Questions
The following constitute the question for the study:
I. Are there more levels of control in AKBC radio station than in the planet radio station?
II. Which of the radio stations among AKBC and planet is being enjoyed most?
III. Did PLANET radio station fill the information gap skipped by the AKBC radio?
IV. Is there any difference in reporting pattern between AKBC radio and PLANET radio?
1.6 Scope of study
Scope of the study here has to do with the extent of the areas of the study to be covered. Therefore this research work is limited to the two forms of press media, AKBC and PLANET radio with an objective of drawing a comparison between them. radio stations
1.7 Limitations of the study
As the saying goes “nothing good comes easy”. Indeed for this research project to have come to its completion it was not an easy task. During this course of study the following setback were encountered by the researcher. radio stations
I. Difficulty in collecting data
II. Inaccessibility of relevant materials in the school library and other libraries.
III. Inadequate financial support
IV. Another major challenge that stood has a limit to this research work was the bad topography condition of the access road leading to PLANET radio.
V. One other challenge or limit to this research work was the fear among some staffs of this radio station to release some vital information required to support this research.
1.8 Definition of terms
There are some terms used in the research that may not be clear to an average reader and therefore needs to be defined as it applies to this research. This is necessary for the purpose of clarification, intensification and interpretation of the study.
Programs: significant ideas/experience put forth and developed by a communication artist using various procedures.
Prime time: it is the day part or a broadcast programme with the most viewers and is generally where television and radio networks reap much of their advertising revenues. Example of such in AKBC and planet radio is the network news by 7A.M, 4P.M, and 9P.M. radio stations