The Federal Radio Corporation in Nigeria was founded in 1933, when the country was in charge of the British colonial government. It is known as Radio Broadcasting Service or RDS and it allowed locals and foreigners to enjoy varied content from the British Broadcasting Corporation in public spaces equipped with loudspeakers for it.
In April 1950, the previously known RDS became the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and it was then that national radio stations such as Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, Ibadan and Kano began operating.
This service was reorganized by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) on April 1, 1957 through an act of parliament, giving it the mission of operating as a public service, offering independent and impartial broadcasting.
By 1962 there were new radio stations such as Sokoto, Maiduguri, Ilorin, Zaria, Jos and Katsina in the northern part of the country, while Port Harcourt, Calabar and Onitsha were playing in the east, and Abeokuta, Warri and Ijebu-Ode in the west.
All of them functioned in a subsidiary manner to the regional stations, which means that they broadcast programs of local interest part of the day and the rest adhered to the programming of the regional station. On the other hand, national programs were broadcast on short and medium wave in Sogunle.
By the end of 1960, Parliament modified the NBC Ordinance to enable the sale of commercial advertisements and the first ones were broadcast in October of the following year. In 1962, regional and provincial broadcasters sold advertisements to local companies to obtain funds to support NBC stations in addition to what they received from the State.
It was imminent that the radio in Nigeria was making progress when the Federal Parliament approved the creation of the external shortwave service known as the Voice of Nigeria or VON during 1961 and its broadcasts began that same year from Lagos, with a reach of two hours a day in Africa. Occidental thanks to five additional transmitters.
With this service, Nigeria had reached the maximum of its capacity in radio material, but later, with the economic collaboration of the Ford Foundation and the technical help of the British Broadcasting Corporation, NBC started the National School Broadcasting Service, through which they broadcast educational lessons in primary and secondary schools, as well as training programming for the teachers’ college.
That is how NBC and the Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) merged in 1978 to give rise to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). Then, the medium wave transmitters that previously belonged to NBC were transferred to the individual state governments and, for their part, the states gave shortwave transmitters to the FRCN.
By 1996, VON was able to install three high-power transmitters in Ikorodu, making it possible to hear it around the world for the first time in Nigerian history.
The FRCN today
FRCN’s medium wave service, Radio Nigeria, consists of 25 radio stations that are distributed throughout the country and together with Voice of Nigeria is considered the largest radio network on the African continent.
The most recent known event is from 2007, when the FRCN introduced FM transmissions in certain parts of the country and expressed interest in modernizing short and medium wave transmitters in the future.
Through all the events that we have outlined in this briefing note, the remarkable progress that Nigerian radio has made from its inception to today has been evidenced and it is expected that it will continue to progress for the benefit of the citizens of this nation.
If you want to learn more about other radio stations in Nigeria, we invite you to read our new article dedicated to Kapital fm already available on the blog.