Ahmadu Bello University Radio Station, ABU Samaru 101.1 FM! An Overview

ABU Samaru 101.1 FM is the official radio station of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Kaduna State, Nigeria. The ABU Samaru Studio was established by the British Broadcasting Corporation, World Service Trust (BBC WST), under its VOICES Project and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), hence it is referred to as ABU/BBC Studio. The station was established with with the following dual mandates:

1. Training students of Mass Communication and Theater and Performing Arts students on the practical aspects of broadcast journalism e.g. non-linear editing, news and programmes production and presentation.

2. Radio broadcast i.e. informing, educating and entertaining the University community and environs especially on the latest news, scientific and technological discoveries as well as health tips among others.

The collaboration on the project started as a routine exercise to record some experimental programmes with the Theatre and Performing Arts students, which culminated into a partnership.

This collaboration led to the establishment of a state-of-the-art broadcast facility. Also, a good number of staff from the participating departments were trained on how to operate and manage the facility.
The Studio was commissioned on the 8th of June, 2005 with two main components-training and transmission.

The collaboration on the project with the BBC/DFID ended in December, 2006, thus ABU took over fully the management of the centre.
The training component commenced in the 2004/2005 session with students from Mass Communication and Theatre and Performing Arts who wish to specialise in Radio Broadcasting.

The Radio Broadcast License for the ABU Samaru Campus Community Radio was granted to the University by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), in February 2007.

A committee was setup by the then Vice-Chancellor to investigate and find out the most ideal transmitter to be purchased for the Station. Two transmitters and their accessories were then purchased and installed at the Studio in 2008.

The Station then received a visit from the National Broadcasting Commission sometime in December, 2009, to inspect the transmitter and other facilities at the Station, as per the NBC code.

A committee was set up by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), after the visit of the NBC team to chart a course for the gradual take-off of transmission at the Station. The committee was able to prepare a Schedule and Synopsis for the Station, suggest number of hours to transmit and suggest the number of staff to be employed for a start at the Station.

The Station then sought for permission from the NBC in April 2010, to commence test transmission at the Station. With the granting of permission the Station commenced test transmission.
Unfortunately, however, the Station’s mast fell some months later as a result of heavy rains and wind. It was re-erected a few months later.
We received another visit from the Kaduna office of the NBC to inspect the re-erected mast in June, 2011. The test transmission then resumed at the Station.

The Station initiated the process of staff employment and an advert was placed for vacancies to be filled at the station. With all processes for the employment complete, five more staff where employed by the University. As at January 2012 these staff had all assumed duty.

With this employment work started in earnest at the Station.
Programming commenced with the sourcing of programme producers and presenters. Recording of programmes then began.

The license of the Station expired in February, 2012, and the Station applied for license renewal which was approved by the NBC upon the payment of the sum of One Million Naira. The license renewal fee has been paid by the University to the NBC.

Full transmission commenced at ABU Samaru 101.1 FM on 21st May, 2012.

STRUCTURE OF THE STUDIO

The Studio is structured into four parts:

1. Lecture hall (training room) – This is where students receive lectures before going out to locations to source for news materials. The news room has a cable satellite for the students to monitor international/local news.

2. A computerized news room: The news room has 12 work stations. These are networked to each other to enable students have access to all the stations. Each work station has software called Adobe Audition 1.5. These enable students to edit, assemble, and package their news materials. The students are provided with Midgets, tape recorders and microphones, while going to locations to source for news.

3. An independent radio master control room: the control room is like the heart of the station where all the signals terminate and leave to the transmitter via an audio console.

4. The post production: the idea of the post production as the name implies is to produce/assemble/package/document programme. The post production is also to serve as archive to the station.

BOOKS/LECTURE MATERIALS

There are few books on broadcasting donated by BBC WST and other lecture materials kept on reserve. These are loaned to both lecturers and students. There is regular supply of news papers to studio for the use of the students.

TRANSMISSION CAPACITY

The Station has two (2) new Transmitters. One thousand (1000) Watts, and Five hundred (500) Watts. At 70% radiation, on 1000 Watts transmitter, our signals can be received as far as Kawo, Kaduna. At 70% radiation, on 500 Watts transmitter, our signals can equally be received as far as Rigachikun.
Other facilities provided by the BBC WST include a 40 KVA standby generator

FEATURES OF ABU SAMARU COMMUNITY RADIO

1. It is a non-profit organization
2. Promote community-based ideas
3. Owned by the Community
4. Management style is democratic
5. Its transmission radius is limited
6. Feedback mechanism is instant
7. Have homogeneous audience

Due to limited manpower, the station engages the services of students from the Mass Communication and Theatre and Performing Arts departments of this University numbering about 12 who assist in programmes production and presentation.

THE STRUCTURE OF NEWS AND PROGRAMMES DEPARTMENT

The department is divided into two units:

1. News and Current Affairs
2. Programmes – This is further divided into two:
Production and
Post-production

(First posted on ABU Samaru FM Radio)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in a Nigerian University.

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