Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Effective Broadcast Management in print

As the broadcast profession and business become more and more demanding, the broadcast manager, practitioners and students of broadcasting will find Mathew Okoduwa book Effective Broadcast Management and Glossary of Broadcast Terminologies (Mat-Emos Publishers, Lagos; 2010) a most valuable contribution to the literature on this important subject
Written with a clear pedagogical, students and new entrants into the broadcasting profession will benefit from the practical approach enployed. The author highlights the essence, sensitivity and value of broadcasting and how broadcasters, especially the manager, can basically manage the theoretical frameworks applicable in running a station.
However, according to the Author, the most important thing to note is how to be in tune with one’s environment in order to meet the needs of the different target audiences of the broadcasting station, strike a balance in the programming and make a success of the business.
In his analysis of the broadcast sector, he focuses on the role of the media in the society. Just as nations historically move through different stages of development, he argues, so, too does the media also go through different periods of metamorphosis.
The author reiterates the agenda-setting role of the media and discusses five major roles of the media in society, specifically the Social Responsibility Theory of the media and uses relevant evidences to prove his points. He articulates the implications of the theory in a society such as ours in today’s complex world.
Okodua treats technical topics such as media management, media economics, managing the broadcast industry and broadcast station management. He discusses its functions, highlights key factors, and explains industrial economics and structures of broadcast stations.
The book gives details of the broadcast station environment and operations featuring departments, personnel schedules and possible challenges as well as ethical considerations and legalities. Okoduwa’s book compares very well with another book that treats this subject comprehensively: Radio-television-Cable Management by James A. Brown and Ward L. Quaal (1998). Okoduwa’s book offers local perspective that captures the essence of the Nigerian context. All the topics should be of interest and benefit to the broadcast manager as well as the green horn in the business.
Issues about digitization are dealt with, even as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set a global deadline of 2015 for the digitization process of the entire media and communication sector. Ahead of this date, Nigeria targets to be fully digitized by mid-June 2012. This chapter expounds on digitization although it is lacking in the history of technology in broadcasting. A sense of history is needed in chronicling progressions in the digitalization process.
However, the author criticises the Nigerian broadcast journalist for under-performing, especially in the fight against orruption. According to him:
“While the print media writes and publishes (sic) articles condemning corruption, the broadcast media mainly report court proceedings on the persecution of suspected corrupt officials. This has been the pattern of broadcasters in social engineering including development. (pg. 80)”
Furthermore, the author is not happy with what he describes as civil service broadcasting in Nigeria and calls the Nigerian broadcast journalist a social messenger, “They wait to take information from the government and deliver as it is to the people. They don’t have their opinions. They don’t analyze clinically, except when it comes to praising the efforts or initiatives of government (pg. 80)”
He suggests that broadcasting houses should air editorials just like the print media so that they can be seen to take a definite stand on issues of public concern. The author has clearly given the broadcaster much food for thought.
The language of the text is simple and easy to understand. There is evidence of research in the coverage of broadcast matters with effective illustrations in the different subject areas adequately captioned to aid understanding. However, there are some avoidable errors including typographical errors. For example, in the preface we see the word ‘fair’ used inside of ‘fare’, ‘why’ instead of ‘while’ .pg 80.
As an academic material, index and references would have been appropriate to served further reading for students but this aspect is omitted. Perhaps, this is deliberate as the two last chapters deal with glossary of radio broadcast terminologies and glossary of television and film terms respectively. These two glossaries are rich and extensive for broadcasters.

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