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Digital training for broadcasters in Calabar gathers momentum

By Chuks Nwanne
30 August 2009   |   10:00 pm
WITH few day left for the commencement of a digital training workshop for broadcasters billed to open on October 5 through 8, at Tinapa, Calabar, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) is optimistic that the four-day training will help in repositioning practitioner for the challenges of transiting from analogue to digital broadcasting.

According to the executive secretary of BON, Osita Nweke, the workshop being organized in collaboration with Solsan Communication, “is to vigorously pursue our focus on training and capacity building in the digital age. We want to focus on pro-active management and ensure that broadcst Chief Executive of public stations shade off this mindset of relying only on government subventions to survive, while the private stations seek on how to enhance their revenue.”

Though Nigeria has fixed 2012 as the official deadline of the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, Nkweke observed that most radio and TV stations in the country are still predominantly operate with analogue equipment.

“How can we fast track this problem? The workshop will equally address this, giving the necessary option for the transition and how to effectively manage resources to achieve this.”

Nweke further informed that the body has set out a road map to ensure that management and staff of all member organizations are engaged in the area of training to enable them be attuned to the latest development in digital broadcasting era.

Based on this stand, BON General Assembly during their meeting held in Lokoja, Kogi State capital earlier this year, resolved that training and capacity building will be pursued from a three prong attack; from the central level at BON secretariat, then to the six geopolitical zones, reflecting the geo-political divisions of the country and finally at the broadcast station level, with each station expected to routinely organize in-house seminars and workshops for their staff.

“At the BON Secretariat level, we’ve recently organized a train the trainee’s workshop for directors of news and current affairs/managers from BON member stations on the professional use of newspaper review that was not properly done in the past; over 100 participants attended the seminar in Lagos. We engaged a United States non-governmental organization, Interviews International, to serve as our resource persons. We intend to ensure that member stations are trained in other broadcast departments.” Nweke said.

On the objective of inviting state information and permanent secretaries for the training, Nweke explained that the attendance of government policy makers in the information sector, would enable them to comprehend the development in the global digital technology and also enable them give informed briefing to the government on why they should urgently fund the replacement of analogue equipment with digital ones in their stations.

The event, according to organizers, will provide an opportunity for sharing of information and resources in technical and programming among participants.

“Over 20 resource persons will present papers on various topics during the workshop. I use this medium to invite stake holders and practitioner in the industry to attend this all important workshop.”

Meanwhile, the choice of Tinapa for the event is deliberate.

“We intend to make the workshop interactive, mixed with seriousness and leisure; hence, the choice of Tinapa studios as the venue of the workshop. We want to showcase the huge tourism potentials of the state and Nigeria. As broadcasters, such sites are congenial to stimulate our thoughts for creative content.”

The governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke has been invited to declare the event open, with a keynote address, while the Chairman of BON and DG Voice of Nigeria, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa will also deliver a paper on information sharing among practitioners.

In the past few years, BON has achieved much in the area of collaboration among member stations to procure the broadcast rights of global events and exploit them. Such fruitful collaborations include Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006, English Premier League 2007 – 2010 Football Seasons, 2008 MTN Africa Cup of Nations and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

– In November 12, 2008, BON was formally awarded the media rights (transmission rights) of the South Africa World Cup, 2010 World Cup and Aligned Properties.

While it has made huge strides in the acquisition of media rights and their exploitation, the same cannot be said in the area of training and capacity building, which particularly informed the decision to organize the digital training workshop coming up in Calabar.