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On January 22, 2016, I expressed opinion on some inadequacies of Radio Lagos. Because of its uniqueness as a public utility, from time to time, it is not extraordinary or out of place to point out its deficiencies. These can arise at any time. They can be mechanical or human. It can be both, as its operation is a combination of human and mechanical efforts. On Sunday, April 17, 2016, for instance, the scenario was horrific and terrifying.

Therefore, I am not yet done with my consistent observations of Radio Lagos, as a broadcasting house. Nowadays, the station does not open at the expected period of the day. This may not be the fault of the editorial or technical staff. And when it resumes, the programmes are delayed, failed to broadcast or completely distorted by rumblings and squeaking. The early morning programmes are most enjoyed by the listening public, because most are yet to leave for their places of work or businesses. And it is not everyone who attaches radio set to the car, or even in possession of car. Therefore, the ideal period of listening to the programmes – the prime time – is the early morning. It is the richest and most educative period of the day, to listen to the news. But if it is not forthcoming, the disappointment is great.

Most often, the “oro agba,” that is “the wisdom of the elders” which is most sought after, is not relayed to the public. Sometimes, it is repeated which makes it a boring trite. The six o’clock world news is often a real apology. This is because some news-casters utilise the occasion for bizarre and blatant display of phonetics. Is it borne out of arrogance or what? Perhaps it is so. The newscasters must remember that they are broadcasting for Nigerians and not for Europeans or Americans. Therefore, it must not be an occasion for speaking through the nostrils, as so doing inhibits free flow of communications processes. Sometimes, I drop the transistor radio to doss off. After all, the early morning sleep is the most nourishing health-wise.

Many years ago, the late Chief Anthony Enahoro, himself a veteran journalist, information minister in the old Western Region and later at the Centre, was usually full of criticisms for our broadcasters about their outlandish pronunciations. Many listeners of the British Broadcasting Corporation and Voice of America can agree that the two world renowned broadcasting institutions have improved on their pronunciation to favour non-whites; it is modified for proper understanding of Blacks and other races. The phonetics editors in the Radio Lagos must emphasise on distinctive articulation for effectiveness to the public. In the recent few days, the six o’clock news is omitted, with tenuous apology by the announcer. This is not acceptable.

“Koko inu iwe Irohin” – main news headlines, is commendable, because it is comprehensive and even runs into three parts, interspersed with some advertisements and sporting news items. But it is daily over-embellished with unnecessary anecdotes, proverbs or idioms, in attempts to please the listeners. The two announcers forget that a super abundance of everything is too bad; the embellishments must be in moderation. For instance, the description of an Ibadan newspaper, arriving with “Ape amala gbona felifeli” has become a nauseating monotony. New descriptions should alternate with this. “Variety is the spice of life’’ so people say. The Current Affairs Department is performing well. Its News Talk is my favourite cup of tea. It is well-researched, couched with excellent use of language. Besides, it is usually concise and contains suggestions in conclusion. Radio Lagos must keep it up.

To me, the advantages of these early morning programmes are that they provide topics for discussions in the listeners’ places of work, later in day. Secondly, prospective readers are encouraged to look for details in the respective newspapers of the day. Thirdly, the public are, enlightened and entertained.

This opinion piece springs from my conviction that there must be untrammeled access to information. On the whole, the staff members are good in their services, except for the few observations, which may not entirely be attributed to them, but probably to the archaic equipment. The staff members work with commitment. And in the wisdom of James Madison (1751 to 1836), United States politician and political theorist: “Knowledge forever will govern ignorance. And the people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”
• Oshisada, a veteran journalist, lives in Ikorodu.



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