Nigeria: Lack of Funds Stalls FRCN FM Projects

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Inadequate fund has grounded the 32 FM radio stations initiated by the FRCN nationwide in 2000. The stations were conceived by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to cater for the states that had not yet benefited from the national station policy. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that only 18 of the stations have been inaugurated while the 14 others were in limbo.

The uncompleted stations include Harmony FM, Ilorin; Prime FM, Lokoja; Highland FM, Jos and Atlantic FM, Uyo. Others are Creek FM, Yenagoa; Paradise FM, Calabar; Charity FM, Asaba; Bronze FM, Benin and Jewel FM, Gombe. Horizon FM, Dutse; Equity FM, Birnin Kebbi; Royal FM, Sokoto; Gift FM, Jalingo and Sunshine FM, Damaturu.

A report submitted by the Committee on the operations of the FRCN, however, stated that the 18 operational stations had no back-up transmitters. Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, explained that some of those inaugurated stations were facing operational constraints. "Some of these stations are located in remote areas, far from state capitals, thus creating additional constraints, " he said.

Specifically, the five-man committee suggested to government, to review the FM stations, especially on the possibility of converting some to Short Wave (SW) and Medium Wave (MW) broadcasting. It said while the SW and MW could render largely social services, the FM stations should be commercialised, to generate funds for FRCN operations. "FM stations, where appropriately cited and efficiently managed, should be profitable ventures, " the committee said.

(Vanguard (Lagos), 23 March 2008)