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1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Public Relations, is a major element of the promotional mix which comprises other components like Advertising, Sales Promotion and
Personal Selling. It is quite regrettable that despite the giant strides so far made by public relations in both government and private organizations (including non- commercial outfits), especially in the area of establishing and sustaining healthy business relations between organizations clients and their respective publics, some companies still don’t appreciate the urgent need to engage the services of either the in – house public relations departments or consultancy outfits. Some of the companies that fail under this category are the small and medium scale firms which from all indications lack the financial muscle to float an in-house public relations department or even sporadically engage the services of a consultancy outfit. This low or absolute lack of patronage of public relations services by these firms has to an extent made the accurate assessment of the overall effects of public relations on the activities of commercial and non-commercial organizations in Nigeria on one hand and the impact of Top Broadcasting Media, a major medium of communication on the activities of public relations on the other hand, a rather Herculean task to accomplish.
Public Relations, being a key player in the marketing communication business, involve the creation and sustenance of mutual relations between organization and its sprawling publics. The various ways of achieving this onerous but strategic task include the setting up of far-reaching communication network that will cater for the information need to both the internal public as well as the external public, introduction of two-way information flow with virile leaning on feedback mechanism, and most importantly, the enlistment or engagement of the services of the efficacious traditional media which are strongly credited for wider coverage and greater efficiency. These traditional media include the print media comprising newspapers and magazines, the bill board, and electronic media, comprising cinema, Radio and Television. Of all this bunch of traditional or above the line media, television tends to stand out owing to its sterling qualities and the unique contributions it has made to activities of public relations in Nigeria over the years. The major factors that often inform the choice of
Images of Top Broadcasting media in the execution of public relation activities are the nature of the programme, target audience, issue at hand, timeliness, level of coverage and of course, the desired action or response from the target audience. All these factors which are situated in the Broadcasting programmes mode will be discussed under three categories, functions, format, and target audience. A proper analysis and subsequent understanding of these vital of the Images of Top Broadcasting media will go a long way in helping both commercial and non-commercial organizations to know the opportunities presented by the medium vis-à-vis having a deeper knowledge of when, how and why the medium is preferred to others at a particular occasion. Similarly, the salient issues raised by the users on the other hand especially those bordering on the cost of Broadcasting programmes will to a large extent help Television proprietors to adjust their charges and equally carry out some fresh researcher, as the occasion may demand, with a view to evolving new and refreshing or impact programmes that would further catch the fancy of broadcasting users and viewer.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Right from the inception of broadcasting media in Nigeria a lot of radical transformations had taken place in the communication industry. Some of the earlier identified barriers to mass communication such as:
· Poor training and re-training of media practitioners
· Lack of ethical standards in their operations
· Corruption and “brown envelope” syndrome there have been a number of arbitrary closures.
For example, Freedom Radio, a commercial station based in Kano, in the north-west of the country, was closed down following complaints over broadcast content in March 2006 allegedly after a number of callers on phone-in programmes had criticized the then president’s bid for the extension of his term of office. The regulatory body, the National Broadcasting Commission, said the handling of some programmes by the
station lacked professional maturity, allowing audiences to make unguarded statements tending to overheat the polity and violating the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Africa Independent Television (AIT), a Lagos based private outfit, was closed down in October 2005 after it had aired scenes at the site of a plane crash. Detectives in May 2006 shut the offices of Insider magazine in the Ogba district of Lagos after the paper had alleged that a state governor was involved in looting state resources and laundering moneys.
The attitudes of staff members towards the concept of public broadcasting varied between defining it as ‘state-owned and state-funded broadcasting’ and ‘a medium through which the governed are informed and educated on the policies and activities of government’. The generality of citizens (whose taxes are being used to fund the organization) is thought to be the prime institution which should hold a public broadcaster accountable. Specific public bodies such as an ombudsman or regulators like the National Broadcasting Commission are also considered capable to perform this role. Government is assigned a supervisory and supporting role in relation to the public broadcaster. It should not interfere in the administrative and editorial management but provide adequate funding for operations and enact appropriate legislation which would enhance the professional running of the organization. Some think that the role of a public broadcaster in relation to the government is properly served through informing the public on government’s activities, sensitizing them towards government policies and programmes and generating feedback. Others say that the public broadcaster should set the agenda for government and hold it accountable to the people through objective and balanced programming. There was agreement that all political parties should get fair and dispassionate coverage. The ruling party should never be favored above others. Parties should also be held accountable on their election manifestos when they get into power. Civil society is considered a key stakeholder in public broadcasting. Its voices should be heard and
positions adequately reflected in the programming of the public broadcaster. Some believe that a public broadcaster should reflect the full spectrum of public opinions and concerns on issues. Others argue that on issues involving the security of the country the broadcaster must be selective. Diverse interpretations are given to the concept of ‘public interest’. Some say the public interest is served when government is criticized or commended at appropriate times. Others say that for the public interest to be served, editorial decisions must be favorable to the majority of the people, while conceding that ‘majority’ may be a relative and subjective thing.
The peoples’ perception of radio and or television as information and enlightenment instrument is however hindered by the growing suspicion of the major broadcast media following government excessive control and influence.
The broadcast media are facing a lot of problem some economic problems including poor financing, commercial pressure and heated competition in the market.
Radio- and TV-channels based on advertising use fewer horror effects, because this would conflict with the principle of bringing the viewers into a buying-mood. This does not improve the journalistic and artistic quality, however. Many media workers are frustrated that their creativity is curbed by the economic structures, and the situation is hardly better for advertisement-free commercial media, such as home video and pay-TV (Blumler and Spicer 1990). Denial of advertising to media houses is a subtle economic weapon used by government agencies and private corporate organizations.
From all indications, these unique qualities inherent in broadcast have over the years been identified as virile boosters to the activities of public relations in Nigeria. As indicated in the brief history of public relations in Nigeria. It becomes incontrovertible dissemination and creation of knowledge and understanding. There is no way a public
relations practitioner can achieve this without employing the services of the right media.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are as follows:
1. To examine peoples’ perception of broadcast media organizations in the Nigeria.
2. To evaluate how Public Relations helps in maintaining / managing good corporate image for the broadcast media.
3. To find out if Public Relations helps in establishing mutual acceptance and cooperation between the broadcast media organizations and her public.
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