- Background of the Study
From its beginnings in the 1920s, radio as a mass communications medium has weathered the incursion of competing technological innovations. Radiotelephony was first employed as a means for naval ships to communicate between themselves. It spread to the general population as manufacturers, looking to sell radio receivers, created land-based “broadcasts” to demonstrate how the medium worked (Dimmick, Feaster & Hoplamazian, 2011). The public responded strongly in the positive, leading to widespread sales of radio sets. A major “domain” of radio was in the living room. Large radio receivers were purchased and positioned centrally as essential furniture. Additionally, tabletop radio sets found their way into the kitchen, bedroom and workshop. With the advent of television, radio faced its first threat of being replaced by newer technology. Families had been sitting around the radio, listening to broadcast news, entertainment, and serial dramas and comedies. Now, with TV, they could do that while engaging their eyes and watching the action as well. By the early 1950s, many predicted that television – “radio with pictures” – would simply replace radio. That did not happen. Instead, radio broadcasters and manufacturers looked for and found ways that radio was different, and in fact, superior to television and exploited those differences (Dimmick, Kline & Stafford, 2000). In arguing that television engaged both senses – seeing and hearing – proponents of television actually exposed a potential shortcoming of this new medium: it required more focus, and thus limited how and where the audience could use it. Radio programming could be consumed while the listener performed other tasks. So radio became portable. Radio receiver manufacturers moved the focus from building furniture to building small, portable receivers. With the advent of transistorized circuitry, small pocket-sized transistor radios gained popularity. Radio receivers were installed in automobiles. Alarm clocks combined with radio sets to wake people up in the morning. Now the listening public could keep listening to news, weather, sports and music while they got ready for work, as they drove to work, at the beach, at the park, wherever they went, they could keep their radio with them. As radio adapted to the public’s busier lifestyle, it also adapted its programming format. Where the living room set focused on serial dramas and comedies, as well as long-form music and variety programming, the advent of portable radio also coincided with the development of shorter-form music programming (Cox, 2009). As a music-based medium, radio’s next potential threat was from car stereos. With the invention of four track, and ultimately eight track tapes in the early 1960s, drivers could listen to their favorite music when they wanted, and in better fidelity than broadcast.
The arrival of internet soon brought about radio broadcast via the internet thus threatening the traditional radio and adding to the many problems of radio broadcasting. Through all of this innovation, radio held on to its unique domain: portability. No other medium worked as well in the automobile (Burueau, 2016). Peoples, (2013) now, for the first time since radios were put in internet, radio is facing competition on the dashboard. Radio is no longer the most portable medium. Traditional radio’s strength still lies in its ubiquity and ease of access but for how long we don’t know in the constant digitalization of the world. The more people become aware of the internet radio, have access to it and start using it, the more there will be challenges for the traditional radio. This research work is therefore necessary to inquire into the level of use and awareness of online radio, implications on the traditional radio, the many advantages and disadvantages therein and the ways awareness can be best created.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
With the rapid change and innovation happening in all web-based and portable media, radio in its traditional form could be in danger of becoming irrelevant. Radio executives and owners have realized that even they need to take their radio listenership to the internet in order to retain their audience and build new ones. They have since identified the need to ascertain what aspects of new media might be helpful to them in keeping radio in the media mix for coming generations. This research sets out to discover specific areas where digital radio is superior to traditional radio, as well as places where they duplicate each other’s services. It is also a need to identify the pros and con’s of this online radio stations. With clear answers to those questions, station executives can more clearly decide where to put their efforts as they plan for the future of radio. Also, the identification of extent of usage of internet or online radio has become needful to know how to build an audience base on internet radio as people clearly in Nigeria mostly may not be aware of its existence and even if aware may lack the required gadgets to access it hence this research into the use and awareness of online radio with specific interests on the Anambra Broadcasting Service and undergraduate students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to ascertain the level of use and awareness of online radio in Anambra State Broadcasting Service and among undergraduate students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
The specific objectives are;
- To identify the extent of use and awareness of online radio usage in ABS radio and among Unizik undergraduate Students.
- To identify pros and cons of online radio station.
- To identify the ways through which awareness and usage of online radio can be achieved.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are formulated based on the research objectives above;
- What is the extent of use and awareness of online radio usage in ABS radio and among Unizik undergraduate Students?
- What are the pros and cons of online radio station?
- In what ways can awareness and usage of online radio be achieved?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Online radio is a fast emerging medium of broadcasting around the globe with only Nigeria trailing behind in its usage and awareness. This research work is on ascertaining the level of usage and awareness of this medium of broadcasting. However, the following persons would find this work significant in various ways;
Owners of radio houses, intending investors, educationists, students, broadcasters, researchers, agencies in charge of media broadcasting in Nigeria and radio audience.
This significance can be put theoretically thus; students, educationists and researchers would find this work useful for reference purposes and future studies while practically, broadcasters would see new ways of improving on their services, intending investors would also identify the areas of radio broadcasting they want to be interested in, owners of existing radio stations will also be able to decide if they are comfortable broadcasting over the normal airwaves or to use the new medium available while maintaining the traditional one. The radio audience would also through this research learn a lot about online radio broadcasting and decide if they would rather opt for it or the existing known medium.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is on the assessment of use and awareness of online radio. The study area will cover staff and management of the Anambra Broadcasting Service, Awka and undergraduate students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Audience: the group of people whom radio or media reaches for a particular programme.
Listeners: a person or a group of people who form the target audience of radio programmes.
Broadcaster: a person who presents or announces programmes over radio for the public.
Broadcasting: any communication or transmission of any message or signal to the public through electronic apparatus.
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