Ahead of the forthcoming Online Forum on “How To Adequately Resource Community Broadcasting In Africa”, Broadcast Media Africa, in collaboration with 2Gwana Media, interviewed Abdullahi Yelwa, the Chairman/CEO of Caliphate Radio and Nagari Television and Vice Chairman of Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association. In the interview, Yelwa noted that human resources and content development training were the secrets to the succession of community broadcasting in Africa.
During the interview, Yelwa echoed the sentiments of most community radio broadcasting practitioners, which often stresses the extent to which community radio broadcasting is limited due to a lack of financial resources. This deprivation causes a ripple effect that alters the acquiring and maintenance of equipment and human resources.
Below is an excerpt of the conversation Abdullahi Yelwa had with the BMA on the forthcoming Forum where he is a featured speaker and panellist:
BMA: What influenced your decision to agree to participate in the Online Forum on “How To Adequately Resource Community Broadcasting In Africa”?
Abdullahi: Community broadcasting is an essential instrument for promoting participatory democracy. It’s a necessary voice of the community, spoken through their languages, traditions and cultural setting.
BMA: What aspects of “Community Broadcasting” are you passionate about?
Abdullahi: My decision to participate in this exercise, therefore, is informed by my interest in giving voice to the voiceless and promoting participatory democracy and community-based agenda setting.
BMA: What is the biggest community broadcasting resource challenge at the moment?
Abdullahi: Community Broadcasting may take a variety of forms. In all its forms, however, community ownership and sustainability are critical. Communities must therefore provide both human and material resources for the operation of the outfits. Therefore the training of the workforce and content development is vital.
BMA: In your opinion, what do you think can be done to improve the broadcasting and media space within the community broadcasting arena?
Abdullahi: Human and material resources are pivotal to the success of Community broadcasting. Funding is a significant challenge. Broadcast equipment has to be acquired and maintained. Similarly, operational costs are prohibitive.
BMA: Could you please tell us what you hope fellow participants will take away from this industry event?
Abdullahi: Participating in conversation like this would allow for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and sharing of experiences. Community broadcasting varies from community to community. It’s, therefore, my belief that participants would be better educated and prepared for the challenges and fulfilling experiences of community broadcasting.
About Abdullahi: Abdullahi Yelwa, Nigerian journalist, broadcaster, author and public policy analyst, is the founding Chairman and CEO of Caliphate FM Radio, Sokoto, Nigeria. He holds a B.Sc. degree in political journalism (1984) and M.Sc. in international Studies (1985) from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, U S A.
Yelwa has held various editorial positions both at home and abroad. He was at different times senior producer/director, NTA Sokoto; Special Correspondent, New Nigerian Newspapers, Kaduna; Deputy Editor, Trumpeter Newspapers, Bauchi; Associate Editor, Nigerian Economist, Lagos; editor, New Outlook Newspapers, Enugu; Managing Editor/CEO, The Nation Newspapers, Abuja; Managing Director, the Great Republic Newspapers, Abuja, etc.
Yelwa has also served in the public sector in Nigeria.
He was assistant director, public affairs, INEC; Hon. Commissioner, Kebbi State Executive Council; director, intergovernmental/inter-ministerial liaison, G77 South Summit, Presidency; Facilitator, National Political Reform Conference, 2005; Resource Person to the Presidential Committee For the Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.
Yelwa is Chairman/CEO, Caliphate Radio and Nagari Television and the Vice Chairman of Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association.