- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Broadcasting is the process of sending out and receiving messages on-air by a scientific means called electromagnetic waves, according to Hanson (2005) these messages are transformed into electronic signals with the carrier waves generated into the transmitter and the studio. The blending enables the electromagnetic waves to be moved at a great speed through the antenna and shot into the air. The air carries the waves as a medium and the signals are received by the sets in our homes and offices. An on-air presentation, whether for the radio or television can be a blend of all the types of presentation such as, the variety shows which covers various segments that deals with specific issues. The essence of on-air presentation as Baran (2004) puts it, is to stimulate societal growth, renewal and generation of vital issues the improvement of man for a wholesome life and a better community. On-air presentation is a very powerful medium because it reaches a huge audience quickly and it allows people to interact with one another in more easily than other mediums like newspaper and the internet. Folarin (2005) posits that an on-air personality is a person who introduces the different parts of television and radio shows. An on-air personality can be at the same time called an announcer due to the job that he exhibits on Television/Radio, he or she must have gone through some series of studies to know much about the rules and regulations of carrying the profession he had studied. Furthermore, the on-air personalities in television can be characterized by different individuals and these individuals go a long way in creating an image of their respective broadcast station.
Formative studies on knowledge shows have demonstrated the importance of the presenter of a programme. He or she is often the figure the child in front of the television can relate to, offering an entry point to the learning space and a connection to the content. The presenter is, so to speak, the “learning companion”, and therefore very important in terms of how viewers relate to the content, how successfully they learn, and how popular the show itself is. It is therefore essential to carefully choose a target-group-specific person as a learning companion. Research has given clear hints that TV characters of the same sex and ethnic background are often preferred by children as their favourite characters (Götz, 2010). However, in Nigeria, Endong (2014) observed that as a child growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and its affiliates such as FRCN were the only source of media broadcast entertainment for most Nigerians. Even though we had limited options of what to watch on TV or listen to on radio, government-owned television and radio stations of yester years paraded an elite group of top quality ‘On-Air’ Personalities (OAP). A rare occurrence that seems to be vanishing in today’s Nigerian broadcast media. He further noted that Nigerian on-air personalities of old displayed utmost professionalism and what I would call ‘extreme Nigerianness’. From the day I began to comprehend English words and join my parents to watch NTA news, I can still recall the articulation of TV presenters like Frank Olize, Ruth Benamaisia, Elizabeth Nze, Tokunbo Ajai and Sienna Razak Lawal to name a few. There was something about them; the way they spoke-good English with distinct Nigerian accents. When you heard their voices on air, it was clear, composed, great diction and above all they sounded very Nigerian.
Fast forward to this day, Nigeria now boasts of a vibrant, liberalized, private sector-led electronic media industry. Private TV and radio stations now litter our landscape. Today, it’s easier to get an On Air Personality job in most private radio stations, at least in Lagos than it was years ago. The criterion is simple, Television for instance: Look good, have confidence and be able to speak with an international accent. For radio, you don’t have to look good, just have a good voice, some confidence and again speak with an international accent all in an attempt to promote the image of such broadcast stations. These days no one is exactly sure of which accent is in vogue-British or American. Many young Nigerian OAPs have simply merged both accents to produce a hybrid foreign accent that now seems to have evolved and gotten a life of its own. (Endong 2014).
When you go back to the television arena, it becomes even worse, sometimes ridiculous. I don’t normally like to name names (yeah right) but if you have access to Soundcity TV and you’ve watched recent episodes of their Top 10 Nigeria count down, then you ‘might’ understand what I’m talking about. These young TV presenters both male and female, in addition to giving themselves silly nicknames, struggle throughout the duration of their show to deliver and sustain their yet to be defined foreign accents. It gets so bad that many times you no longer understand what they are trying to say, or why both of them suddenly burst into laughter. There are genuine cases were some of these OAP were actually raised abroad but they are in the minority. What we have in most cases are people who spent most of their lives in Nigeria, travelled overseas for about six months, return to Nigeria and start the accent thing. However, it’s not gloomy all round as we still have lots of OAPs that are keeping it real; though they tend to be older-thirty five years of age or above, veterans. The main focus of this study is aimed at studying how on-air personalities promote a positive image for their broadcast stations as they serve as the faces of their stations.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Thomas Patterson, Bradlees Professor of Government and the press at Harvard’s Kennedy school of Government and Director of the Shorenstein centre surveys that; “The gut decisions that journalists have to make is whether they want to be regarded as professionals with honour or merely as picking teams of scribblers and windbags”.
The official language of communication is not always the mother tongue of the on-air personality, for instance, in Nigeria English is not the mother tongue but mostly used in the media, and so it seems like some on-air personalities have not received proper training in higher institutions and universities. Consequently, communicating in the appropriate language is becoming a source of worry to language experts especially on media contents. This concern is hinged on the belief that the media is the conscience of the society and that people have greater inclination to belief their messages. The fear is the misuse of language of communication in the mass media in Nigeria, and who is to make correction as languages are being used to promote violence and vulgarism instead of promoting the image of the broadcast station. Also, the palpable threat to extinction of indigenous languages due to wider acceptance of foreign languages over indigenous ones is a serious challenge.
The Nigerian Journalists cannot boast of objectivity, the reason being that the Nigerian media is unable to function efficiently and independently because Journalists are financially dependent on the very persons they are supposed to be watchdog over, one argument is that Journalists are poorly paid. The truth is that ‘poorly paid’ is an understatement. It is therefore conclusive that more than 80 percent of Journalists in the country do not earn enough to pay their basic bills (Elor Nkereuwem, 2014), and so if on-air personalities are not paid well, they will not be able to buy varieties of clothes to appear decently as Africans on a television screen.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study sets out to achieve the following objectives:
- To determine the roles of the on-air personalities in promoting the image of the broadcast station.
- To examine the job description and responsibilities of the on-air personalities as prescribed by NTA Jos.
- To find out the challenges faced by on-air personalities as image builders in NTA Jos
- To find out how best on-air personalities of NTA Jos can serve the function of image building
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- To what extend are the roles of on-air personalities effective in promoting the image of the broadcast station?
- What is the job description and responsibilities of on-air personalities as prescribed by NTA Jos?
- What are the challenges faced by on-air personalities as image builders in NTA Jos?
- How best can the on-air personalities of NTA Jos serve the function of image building?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is relevant because it will help in creating awareness to the general public on the challenges of image building that on-air personalities face in carrying out their duties effectively. The study will also form the basis for subsequent researches on the on-air personalities and their challenges in image building in broadcast station. It will also be of importance to NTA Jos as it identifies the problems their on-air personalities face and suggest ways of tackling such problems.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study centers on the role of on-air personalities in building the image of NTA Jos.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Broadcasting: Broadcasting is the dissemination of information using a an electronic medium to large, diverse, and heterogeneous audience simultaneously.
Television: Television is seen as an audio-visual medium, it blends pictures with sounds to produce a communication experience exhibited on the screen. It uses sound to explain visuals presented on the screen. It uses the movement of images in a unique way or pattern to express thought and feelings in an appealing manner (Owuamalam, 2007)
Presentation: This refers to the process of delivering a topic or message to an audience. It is typically a demonstration, lecture or speech meant to inform, persuade or build goodwill. (Wikipedia 2014)
On- air personality: An on-air personality is an individual whose duties involves reading various text, from a script, delivering news reports, reading a station’s identifications and in some areas conversing with guests or other television hosts. The person must have a strong voice that is free of regional dialects as possible and he/she must be able to read from a script quickly and accurately.
Image Building: This refers to an act of improving the brand image or public image of an organization, a brand or someone by good public relations, and advertising (Collins Dictionary 2005).
This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research
THE ON-AIR PERSONALITY AND CHALLENGES OF IMAGE BUILDING IN THE BROADCAST STATION>
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