ON July 1, the BCOS commenced 24-hour transmission of the television arm while the radio arm also received a boost, a satellite audio network provided by government, which will enable every part of the state to be able to tune in to its stations. Friday Treat spoke to some key officers in the transformation process to understand the process that had taken place, and future plans for the corporation.
“It is a new dawn for BCOS”, Tunde Ajayi, General Manager, BCOS, told Friday Treat. “Before now, we were not able to reach the whole of Oyo State, but now, we have the satellite with which we are able to. The people that call in on our programmes call in from other states in Nigeria, and this in itself is motivation because if you have done a work of art but you don’t have an audience or art enthusiast to see your work, it demoralises you. But these days, we have a larger audience and this makes us explore our creativity enough because we don’t want to disappoint them.
“We also have plans to make our existing belts more interesting and ‘sellable’ so as to get more people to buy into the programmes to sustain them. We have brought in some new faces and in-house members who are youths who can carry along the youth audience. If you look into our TV now, you see a lot of promos, beautifully packaged by our editors and creative team because they know what they want. We also have musicals and we want them to be up-to-date, we want to buy latest musicals in our library.
“A while ago, we met with our advertising agencies in Lagos and it was fruitful. Before now, we had not taken note of the media rating system in our country but now, we have. We are now a force to be reckoned with. The commercial department has also been given a new vehicle to move round, because we are changing our strategies. Now, we have customer care lines and we are coming up with promos too. This is to ensure you don’t have to come to BCOS TV or radio to advertise. Just call us and you pay online and we send your receipts. We are taking our products to them. We are thinking of making efforts in bringing our old customers back too.
Adeola Adedotun, the Director, News and Current Affairs, told Friday Treat that viewers can expect 100 per cent factual news programming.
She said, “I joined the organisation on October 21, 1991. This will mean I have worked here for 29 years. This was when BCOS was analog. Also, the editing facilities have greatly improved from linear to non-linear editing. Now, we can even use our phones to work. I have witnessed a metamorphosis that we can only give glory to God for. It has always been tasking even before now due to a lot of challenges and now, we have started broadcasting 24 hours.
“News is an everyday affair unlike other programmes and productions that may be recorded once a week. The news department works round the clock to ensure that the viewers are up to date. We have the AM 12O, which is a major programme. It is a challenge now bringing the 24-hour programming to the table, but it is a challenge that we have risen up to. The news and current affairs are repeated at night, likewise our major news bulletin (News Around The World) scheduled for midnight. But we have a new one, the Global Update, which is every day and this would not be repeated. The person saddled with that responsibility gives us an update of what is happening around the world every day. Our viewers can be assured of up-to-date reporting and factual analysis during our news bulletins”.
Rufai Olawale Bashir, Director of Programmes, stressed that the new line-up of programming is now all-encompassing.
He said, “We have been bringing many programmes before now on our channel but now, we want to bring in some evergreen programming that will outlive our time. We want to leave a legacy; some say we have good presentation and we want to leave that legacy. This is why we are going evergreen; good drama, interviews and productions, serious programming for the older ones, musicals for youths, soap operas and others. We want to give you both local and international updates for those in diaspora, so they will know what is going on in Oyo State and Nigeria. We also want to give educational programmes such as creating awareness about COVID-19 to children who are at home, teach them things on air such that when they resume, they wouldn’t have missed much. Don’t forget that this is also a government station so we will give updates on what is going on”.
Speaking further, he said, “There is also a novel programme that is currently ruling the airwaves, ‘Oro to nlo’, a daily current affairs network programme on Oluyole FM which treats topical, fresh and burning issues that are vital to the overall well being of the generality of the populace. It is networked because the program is transmitted live and simultaneously on the three radio stations from the stable of the BCOS. (Oluyole 98.5 FM, Ajilete 92.1 FM and Oke Ogun 93.6 FM). This makes it possible to take the programme to diverse audiences in the nooks and crannies of Oyo State as well as neighboring states of Osun, Kwara, Ogun and far beyond. It has high listenership as we gauge the number of listening audience and viewers through a 10-minute phone-in segment and through reactions received on our social media platforms. It is also streamed live on Facebook. A veteran, Oyeboade Oyewole is the executive producer, while Olayemi Alao, an assistant director, news and current affairs, is the producer. Anchors who feature on rotational basis are Adegorioye Ariyo and Seun Akinosun”.
Ademola Adeniyi, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, in his submission, spoke on how research is now done to ascertain preferences of viewers.
He said, “To begin with, we are now on 24-hour transmission and we have researched into the preferences of our viewers. In doing that we have been able to come up with programmes that we think will quench their thirsts in terms of what they want, that is informative or entertaining programmes. Part of our research is that we have discovered the need for us to be completely digitalised which is now very imperative. In line with that, we have come up with programmes that will be in compliance with the current digital age because the world itself is a global village.
“Talking about programme content, we researched and discovered that our programmes must satisfy the youth segments which include entertainment and networking. In terms of feedback, we have made sure our Twitter and other social media handles are on 24/7. This is to ensure that we can process our feedbacks and work on them so that we can be pragmatic as well as proactive and be responsive to the wants of our people, because this is the ultimate focus of our pragmatics. Also, we are coming home with establishments. We have discovered that some of the programmes of government are misunderstood. We must stand in the gap to make sure the correct interpretations are given out on government policies and programmes”.
Akinniyi Akinlabi, the Director of Engineering, in his chat with Friday Treat spoke on how government interventions had provided a needed lifeline to the corporation.
“When I joined the corporation, it was an era of analog transmission. During that era was when most of the money disbursed on capital projects were only seen on paper but weren’t released. It was a static approach. But in 2001, the late Lam Adesina, provided an intervention by giving us two units of 50 kilowatts AM transmitter which was the best in the country then. It had no comparison in any of the South-West to the best of my knowledge at that time. It was the order of radio broadcasting in Nigeria. It reached every nook and cranny of the country, all the way to Sokoto and Kano states.
“However, before we were dismissed in 2016, due to lack of political will to maintain and upgrade them, the two units of transmitter which people used to listen to beyond Oyo State had become obsolete. The then government and the management at that time were unwilling to sustain that laudable arm of broadcasting. However, efforts are now ongoing to make sure that the AM radio people used to know with Oyo State government, which happened to be the foremost radio broadcasting outfit in the South-West region, is brought back. That’s for radio.
“For the television arm, energy became our first major problem. The former governors, Ladoja, late Lam Adesina and Alao-Akala provided us intervention for energy. We had to deal with obsolete, unserviceable generators. Then came the intervention. The then AM transmitter that was used from 1978 was in use till 2001 before we were provided a power plant. We had erratic supply of power which was militating against our smooth transmission. We were burning a lot of diesel. It took the intervention of the administration of Alao-Akala in the areas of massive renovation of infrastructural facilities and provision of two units of 500kva generators in 2007/2008, which was the life line support for the corporation during the eight years of the immediate past administration in the state.
“So far, things have changed. We are now in the digital area. The present administration, with the assistance of the present governor, has provided us with audio satellite network; hence our FM radio is already on satellite. So, if you have a decoder at home, you can listen to our FM radio channel all over the world.
“So, we thought if the government can do that for us with all our unlimited ideas, we should be able to complement the efforts of our state government through the inspiration and support of the executive chairman which was to push our television channel further. Right now, we are transmitting 24 hours. We are on GoTv and Star times on channels 105 and 113 respectively. Asides from the two bouquet, we are streaming live so wherever you are you can watch us live through our live streaming channels”, he said.
Peter Ajayi, Director, Commercial Services, was optimistic about the revenue drive of the corporation in the face of the new digitistion drive.
He said, “We had to adopt so many strategies to cope, while the pandemic was eroding our source of income. It was increasing our cost because most people who did not ordinarily watch television before were forced to stay at home to do so. So, viewership increased but the fund to maintain reduced. It was a double problem. It was a challenge and to survive was challenging. There were days when no one would walk in to make any announcements. People at home too wanted programmes to watch, so they needed us to be there.
“With the help of our executive chairman, we were able to scale through and plan strategies that pushed the effect of that period without much problems. The revenue dropped overnight and you had to buy diesel. We could not stay at home; we could not afford to make mistakes because oversight reduced as people paid attention to details more, being at home. We explored other areas and they all helped.
“We are lucky for the governor we have in Oyo State. The Oyo State government’s template was what the federal government had to come back to. We have a responsive governor and that has helped us. One of the ways he helped is through the network system we have which was the idea of the executive chairman and governor. Before now, we had to travel for repeat broadcast but we now have a network that can air the programmes simultaneously. So, that has helped networking, publicity, popularity as we now reach borders as far as Edo and Kwara states. It is a very big advantage and is a very innovative idea and system. For almost eight years, you would have a budget and nothing coming from it. Now, we have someone who responded in six months, hence we are now able to compete. We are spreading out in the community and people can call in from around Nigeria.”
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