Nigerian broadcasting community celebrated 35 years of FM broadcasting in Africa with pomp and pageantry in Lagos with a call on younger radio broadcasters to sustain the excellence of the information and entertainment roles of FM broadcasting.
Yusuf Nuhu, Director General Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, owners of Pioneer FM station, METRO formally known as Radio Nigeria 2 , gave this advice while speaking with Voice of Nigeria. He said these roles if sustained will enhance socio economic development across the African continent as he remains a fulfilled broadcaster as he celebrates 35 years of FM broadcasting in his life time. Mr Nuhu paid glowing tribute to pioneer staff of the first FM Radio station in Africa- Radio Nigeria 2 now Metro FM Lagos for their dedication and selfless service to FM broadcasting in Africa. In recognition of these pioneering roles, former leaders of the Radio Nigeria 2 and principal officers were presented with plaques , while others were given opportunity to share memories to the younger broadcasters at the event.
Down memory lane
Bishop George Bako, a former Director General of the radio outfit went down memory lane on what informed the establishment of the first FM radio station in Africa. In his words, “the FM station was created for the urban listeners who are always on the move, trendy and progressive. “ The station which has more entertainment and news, as its focus started during the tenure of Dr. Christopher Kolade and the dream was actualised during the tenure of Bishop Bako.
The first broadcast was on the first floor of Voice of Nigeria, studio broadcasting house Ikoyi, Lagos on 22nd April, 1977 at exactly 11.00 hrs, but was later relocated to the top floor of the 6th storey building in the heart of Lagos Island on 45 Martins Street. The name of the station popularly referred to as Sunshine station, where the sun never sets, in the 1980s and 1990s has been changed four times to meet the exigencies of the period. First it was named – Nigerian broadcasting corporation 2, NBC 2, it later transformed to Federal Radio Corporation 2, FRC 2, then to Radio Nigeria 2 and now called Metro FM on the frequency of 97.7. Ndidi Osaka, the current general manager of the station who is set for retirement after 34 years in service, acknowledged the pioneering roles of the tested and refined broadcasters such as late Egbuna Obidike, Okesanya Oyinsan, Tunde Aiyegbusi, Mr. Atilade Atoyebi, Princess Banke Ademola Bola Kalaiwo and Robert Awefada completed the roll call.
Ensure good content
With strong passion for entertainment, light hearted news items were put together by seasoned news editors from late Ladi Lawal, Ambrose Etukumo, Ahmed Kobanji to veterans like Wilson Akpabio, Dele Gordion, S. T. Tiamiyu, Mike Onochie, Charles Kanu and the current assistant director news- Mrs. Sherifat Ahmed.
In her memoir entitled –the story so far, Ndidi Osaka remarked that from 1999 till date Metro FM has witnessed a turning point under the tutelage of former director general, Eddie Iroh, Boma Kalaiwo, Atilade Atoyebi and presently Bola Agboola . They all ensured that the truly metropolitan radio started running a 24 hours service and running network programmes with a slogan- more music, less talk.