…No formal complaint yet –NBC
Indications have emerged that radio stations in the country have continued to flout the directives of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on recommended transmitter power in city-based FM stations, which has resulted in frequency clashes all over the country.
This development is said to be most prevalent in Lagos and its environs because of the location of about 28 radio stations in the state and some others.
National Business spoke with some enthusiastic radio listeners across the six geo- political zones of the country to ascertain the disturbing trend in frequency clashes.
Radio listeners in Lagos and environs are worried that their loved stations and programmes are being undermined by frequency interference and clashes of such stations by either adjoining stations or far stations in recent times.
However, the Head of Public Affairs, NBC, Mrs Maimuna Jimada, in a telephone interview with National Business on the issue said “We are not getting any report of interference and clashes as of now. It could be your set, but officially we are not getting any report from Radio Nigeria as you have said. If there is any such report, all we need to do is to investigate and ask such station to drop down its transmitting power.”
It was learnt from Mrs Ikenna Chukwu, a Bariga resident and an ardent listener of Radio One 103.5 FM, Ikoyi that due to the juicy news and other programmes it offers, she doesn’t fail to tune to the station from 5am.
She lamented that the frequency interference and clashes of the Radio One Station, Ikoyi by UNILAG FM Radio Station is a ‘kill-joy’ as it is difficult to listen to what the two stations are saying, simultaneously.
“What amazes me is that the two stations are on different frequencies yet their jamming has become a recurring decimal. It means that the broadcasting stations are not doing the job of monitoring the transmission channels and other necessary things that will enable the radio audience enjoy the radio station of their choice,” she said.
Another ardent listener of UNILAG FM Radio, Steve Durojaiye, said that there are some education programmes that attract him to the station, but at the peak of listening to such programmes, he experiences frequency interference and clashes from another station, broadcasting at the same time on the UNILAG channel that he tuned to. So everything about the programme is distorted by the jamming of the station.
“I wonder why such a thing happens in this era of digitalization of broadcasting. I believe that something is wrong somewhere because there is no enlightenment to the public as to what to do when such thing occurs except one phones to inform the station concerned through their phone-in programme.”
Mr, David Odogwu, a public commentator in Ogun state, said that he listens to CityFM, Oregun but frowned at the interference from other stations on that station in Lagos, stressing that the latest NBC’s sanction on 23 broadcasting stations for various breaches of its Code was a welcome development that should be extended to this trend of station frequencies.
He claimed to receive Unilag FM that is being transmitted in Lagos State in Ogun State and it also interferes with stations in the State.
In Asaba in Delta State; Esther Ijeh, a teacher, informed National Business on phone that there are too many stations within the state as a result, tuning to stations that have weak reception is impossible as the stronger ones over-shadow them.
In Kaduna, the northern zone, National Business reached out to Mallam Nuhu Abubakar, who disclosed there are intermittent interference in some radio channels, but they have to make do with the situation since they don’t know anything about lodging complaint to anyone.
Mrs Jimade further disclosed that Radio Nigeria has been told to reduce their transmitting power and wondered why those affected are not complaining.
“If Nigerians are getting interference, we have machinery for complaint on our Facebook. The way you are complaining now I will forward it to the engineering people and they will look at it,” she assured.
In August, 2017, there was an international Conference held by NBC in Lagos for both local and international stakeholders where they were inundated with complaints from listeners of stations using unauthorized equipment for broadcasting, giving them the leverage to broadcast beyond their approved range.
NBC warned the stations at the conference to revert to their approved equipment and stick to the statutory approved range.
It cautioned all licensed radio stations in the country to adhere to city-based FM radio transmission, or risk revocation of their operating radio licences.
The Director General of NBC, Mr Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who gave the warning at the stakeholders’ meeting on transmitter power in Nigerian broadcasting, stated that the industry is faced with very difficult challenges resulting from unauthorised transmission that is causing frequency interference and clashes.
According to him, “There are illegal and rampant uses of transmission power by stations all over Nigeria.
‘Stations procure transmitters without respecting the stipulated and recommended transmitter power in city-based FM stations. The consequence of this is that we have frequency clashes occurring all over Nigeria,’ he added.
High-power transmitters installed all over the country today, according to him, have become responsible for the frequency jamming that is taking place all over Nigeria.
Engineering and Technology officer, NBC, Mr Friday Ojone Ukwela, explained that Electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, a valuable and limited natural resource is the medium for broadcasting, telecommunication, aviation, navigation and data services in the areas of earth science, space science, human space exploration, aeronautical research, and disaster management.
“The use of the radio spectrum needs to be planned, managed and regulated to make the radio spectrum available for all uses.
The 88MHz – 108MHz frequency band is allocated for the FM Radio service by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the bandwidth for FM radio is 200 KHz. In Nigeria, the guard band between adjacent FM radio stations is a minimum of 200KHz.”
Ukwela, also, said that in 2008, NBC suspended sales and processing of broadcast application forms for FM radio service for these saturated areas.
He further said that in 2010 Nigerian Broadcasting Code was reviewed in Uyo, where it was agreed that the coverage area for FM Radio service in Nigeria should be per city as from 2010.
Mrs Jimada said that the instruction that the commission gave at a time was for them to reduce the transmission power so that they reduce their frequency and so far, they are complying.”