Hard hit by low income generation and depleted revenues, due to the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, private owned broadcast stations in northern Nigeria are contemplating shutting down operations completely soon, unless intervention comes their way.
The chairman of the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA), Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan, revealed this saying the shut down would affect about 40 radio and television stations spread across the Northeast, Northwest and North Central, which collectively employ about 40,000 personnel in such fields as engineering, journalism, administration and marketing.
He said: “Our broadcast stations have a combined audience base in excess of 80 million, which is about 85 percent of the population of Northern Nigeria.
“We have written countless letters to relevant authorities, including the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) to explain the fast deteriorating financial and operational condition of private broadcast stations in the region, with a view to seeking assistance by way of special intervention and different forms of patronage in programmes sponsorships and advertising to no avail.
“Even before COVID-19, NBMOA member stations have operated on meagre revenues, due to the absence of big industry in the region, as we all shared from a small basket of advertising revenue that occasionally trickled in from Lagos based advertising agencies.”
In the same vein, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) Zone C Southwest, has said it would soon shut down operations, if urgent actions were not taken.
Chairman, BON Zone C, Festus Kehinde, due to the lockdown, the stream of income of broadcast stations had been stifled, with most companies, which are also in a dire strait, halting the flow of commercials, which is what basically sustains media houses.
He said: “It is instructive to note that the broadcast media in the Southwest, as a creative industry, contributes substantially to the nation’s GDP, and the sector is a huge employer of labour, especially youths across genres of professions.
“At this auspicious period, when the nation is battling this pandemic, the strategic importance of the broadcast industry cannot be overemphasised as the potent agent of advocacy across the nooks and crannies of the nation.”