Authorities of Kebbi Radio in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, said plans towards the commencement of the digitalization of its operation ahead of the 2015 deadline by the National Broadcasting Corporation has begun.
The General Manager of the station, Alhaji Bello Ibrahim Ribah, in an interview with our reporter disclosed that the state government has called for submissions to commence implementation of the digitalization of the station.
According to him, “plans to rejuvenate and digitalize the station before the 2015 digitalization deadline is on. Zuru booster station will be completely overhauled and rejuvenated with new modern broadcast equipment for improved transmission from Birnin Kebbi to other stations in the state”.
He added that the radio station is currently operating between 17 1/2 hours daily and programmes are transmitted in English, Hausa, Fulfulde, Dakarci and Zabarmanci with a staff strength of 120 and about 40 artists that includes experts on religion, health, agriculture, education, technology and others.
In terms of capacity building of the staff, the GM said apart from external workshops and fellowship programmes, the station also organizes an in-house capacity building training where lecturers from the state polytechnic and the College of Education are invited to deliver lectures on English presentations, pronunciation and translation from Hausa to English.
“Already, the state government has approved a new salary package which we currently enjoy like our counterparts in other states. This has differentiated us from the regular state civil service salary, “the GM said. Some staff of the radio station who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity also expressed happiness over the redeployment of some judiciary staff to the radio station to take care its manpower problem “Our hazard, wardrobe, shift allowances and salaries are higher than those of the civil servants in the state’s ministries. We have also been receiving kudos from our listeners on the programmes we run”, the staff said.
Kebbi Radio was established 21 years ago. It used to be a booster station for Rima Radio, Sokoto but became a full radio station in January 1993, two years after the state was created. It started with a twin 10km transmitter with a radius of between 60-70 km coverage from its current location along Kalgo road in Birnin Kebbi. Four years after its establishment by the first civilian governor of the state, Abubakar Musa Yauri, Kebbi radio was upgraded by the then state government to a 50 kw station while it’s Zuru station continued to serve as booster for it.
Ribah said almost the whole state is currently covered by the station except areas with terrain obstacles like Zuru that is situated in a valley. However, he said there is an existing booster station to re-amplify full signal from the Birnin Kebbi.
Some of Its listeners who spoke to our reporter said they are thrilled by its local news programmes because they are highly educative and sensitizing on government and public activities in the state.
Alhaji Umaru Bashir Koko, a trader and listener of the station in Koko told our reporter that apart from the local news programme, there are also attractive programmes that features religious activities in four dialects twice a week. I do not miss it except when I am out of town because it has become an avenue for me to learn those dialects, But sometimes, it will just go dead.
Malam Musa Danjumma , an indigene of Wasagu area of the state said the station has also provided an avenue to discuss problems militating against the development of some sections of the state. He said the major challenge is that “the signal in Zuru is very weak except when the booster station is on or on car radio. But you know that not everybody has a radio in his car or even the luxury of owning a car.”
He urged government to hasten the upgrade of its equipments because radio is an important medium to reach out to the people especially now that 2015 election is approaching and can be used to educate the electorate on how to elect leaders of proven integrity.
Another resident, Pauline Charake, a housewife, however said she does not listen to the station at all.”I only watch cable channels because of the station’s poor reception and because it does not give enough coverage to women programmes. I think the station should also improve on the quality of its national and international news coverage so that we can also know what is happening in other parts of the world,” she said.
However, the station’s director of programmes, Alhaji Garba Hamisu Zuru said the station is set to review and introduce new programmes to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people. “We have a programme called Daga Masu Sauraron mu’ which helps to sample the views of our listeners regarding our performance. Our greatest challenge is irregular power supply that makes us to depend mostly on generators. Being a rural state, we also have a very poor revenue base that makes us to depend a lot on the state government for the running the station,” he said.