1.0 Background to the study
The personal and unique character of radio makes it one of the most appealing and universal mass medium for participatory communication and development (Teer-Tomaselli& De Villiers, 1998). Various researches avers that radio has the capacity to reach large audiences, both young and old, including those in remote underdeveloped and impoverished areas of the developing world.
According to Bosch (2007), in the absence of other forms of media such as television and newspapers, radio has proven to be a powerful and vital means of entertainment and communication that guarantees community involvement in the communication process. Further researches show that radio is renowned for providing communities with up-to-date local and international information in their own languages accompanied by various music genres that are compatible with diverse cultural inclinations (Mmusi, 2002).
The development of digital radio and its capacity to integrate or network with various Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), through convergence, has arguably placed radio as the world’s most successful medium to date that reaches millions of listeners everyday (National Community Radio Forum, 1993). While the traditional functions of national radio, especially Public Broadcasting Service cannot be underestimated, community radio serves as a “niche” of the media landscape that serves as a primary source of reliable information for the entire population (Dunaway, 2002).
As such, the sector has continued to provide news and information relevant to the needs of community members in the form of a medium which empowers them politically, socially and economically, through locally produced and oriented media contents (Wigston, 2001; Fraser & Estrada, 2001). This is evident in the kind of programming that reflects people’s needs with regard to education, information, and entertainment to all language and cultural groups in the country (Mmusi, 2002 and Teer-Tomaselli, 1995).
The African Charter on Broadcasting recognises and advocates for a three tier radio regime in individual African countries: public service, commercial/private and community. According to Fraser and Estrada (2001):
Public service broadcasting is generally conducted by a statutory entity, usually but not necessarily state supported or state-owned corporation with broadcasting policies and programming often controlled by a public body, such as a council or a legally constituted authority… and community broadcasting is that non-profit service that is owned and managed by a particular community, usually through a trust, foundation, or association. Its aim is to serve and benefit that community; relying on the resources of the community.
The Nigeria Broadcasting Code (2012) defines a community as “a group of people residing in a particular geographical location or sharing a strong interest, which the community desires to develop through broadcasting. Such communities include: a local, non-profit organisation, an educational institution (campus), a cultural association, a co-operative society, and a partnership of associations.”