Brief History of radio in Nigeria
In Nigeria, radio started with the introduction of the Radio Distribution System in the year 1933 in Lagos by the British colonial government under the Department of Post and Telegraphs (P&T). The Radio Distribution System (RDS) was a reception base for the British Broadcasting Corporation and a relay station, through wire systems, with loudspeakers at the listening end. In 1935, the Radio Distribution System was changed to Radio Diffusion system. The aim was to spread the efforts of Britain and her allies during the Second World War through the BBC. The Ibadan station was commissioned in 1939, followed by the Kano station in 1944. Later, a re-appraisal of radio broadcast objectives gave birth to the establishment in 1952 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS). The NBS began broadcast in Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano and Enugu on short wave and medium wave transmitters.
Mr. Torn W. Chalmers,a Briton and Controller of the BBC Light Entertainment Programme was the first Director-General of the NBS.
For two decades after its founding, as the local repeater station of the empire Service for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), radio broadcasting served, merely, as a hand maiden of the colonial enterprise, being the cultural arm of a political and economic process that consolidated British rule on our shores. All that changed in 1957 with the birth of the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation [NBC]. ]. In theory the NBC, unlike its predecessor, the Nigeria Broadcasting Service, NBS, was created to be an independent institution designed to be neutral of existing political forces on the ground and to treat all parties equally. In practice, however, that dream was never realized. Four years after it was created, just to demonstrate how unwilling the then government was to the notion of independence in the broadcast environment, the central government went to parliament in 1961 to use its majority to transform, through legislation, the independent NBC to a federal government mouth-piece.
Radio in Nigeria developed along different lines than in other African nations, reflecting that country's ethnic divisions and unique federal character. Two parallel state systems of stare radio developed, often in direct competition with each other. The federal government had its own broadcasting system, and each of Nigeria's several stares had its own system, as well. Naturally, the philosophical foundations that gave expression to early radio broadcasting in Nigeria was unabashedly centralist and unmistakably monopolistic. The ethos was designed to serve the governance goals of a regime that was not only colonial but was typically disdainful of true democratic demands in policy formulation and implementation. It made all good sense therefore that a strong wave of agitation from the regions would counter-pose an agenda of liberalization of the airwaves against the monopoly of the central government. Since the Nigeria Broadcasting...