- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The media are an indispensable agent of development in any nation given their invaluable contribution to governance as a watchdog and partner in progress with other arms of government. In a developing country like Nigeria, the mass media have been instrumental to the delivery and consolidation of the current democratic experience. Democracy allows people to participate equally either directly or through elected representatives in the proposal, development and formulation of laws. It is a system that emphasises a broader participation of the constituents in the direction and operation of the political system. The term “participatory democracy” is often used to describe this system, implying that more members of the democratic society as a matter of right and obligation to it become active participants in the direction of its political destiny as against the traditional representative democracy. While the citizens of many third world countries such as ours may not be aware of this civic responsibility to the nation, the media becomes an invaluable tool in mobilising and educating them of these duties before, during and after the electioneering period. Participatory democracy seeks to create opportunities for all the members of the society in making meaningful contribution to the overall decision making process of the polity and also strive to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Given that so much information must be gathered and disseminated for the overall decision making process to succeed, the advances so far recorded in media technology provides an important force in creating the type of empowerment required for an all inclusive participation by all. The media are important pillars of the democratic structure of every society, and the progress of any society is reliant on the significant role played by its media, because through its (i.e. the media) various efforts, people have come to be informed and kept at pace with events and happenings locally and at the international level. Thus, giving credence to the consideration that the media are one of the major factor that controls the general direction of the political and economic fate of any nation (Pate, 1992). Democratic government is a system that emerged from the principle that is based on the fact that an effective democratic governance is one based on equity, cross-gender and ethno-cultural as well as economic representation, transparency accountability and a vibrant and capable media, as well as a responsive civil society group, all fully committed and engaged in the democratic process. The constant dissemination of information by the media on the dates, methods and issues of election provides the required broader participation in the electoral process. In addition, the media provides the basis for choice which is the essence of the electoral process. They provide information about the candidates, their issues and the political parties, thereby presenting the electorate with an array of choices in casting their votes. Like in public governance, the media also plays a watchdog role in the electoral process by drawing attention to the deficiencies in the preparation for elections such as foreseen attempt of rigging, shortage of materials and other negative aspects that might compromise the integrity of the process. However, the role of the media is a double edged sword, apart from inspiring and influencing the people’s will and decision, there are also several ways in which the media can be used against them. Going by the position of the uses and gratification theory of the media, politicians as are peculiar to our reality in the third world exert a significant amount of influence on the media content in an attempt to achieve envisaged political agenda, as well as gaining considerable positive outlook over opposition(s) in the minds of the electorates. The manipulation of the media as weapon for the promotion of narrow political interest is not uncommon (Ojomo, 2009).Similarly, sections of the media are been employed to further polarise our national differences, thereby threatening our continuous existence as a united society. Also, the degree of freedom of the media affects the ability of the media to perform its roles hence in a deregulated media environment, it is expected that the media has enormous freedom to function.Therefore, what exactly constitute the media, what roles does the private owned media perform, what is the character of the private owned media, what is the average composition of a private owned media organization in Nigeria, how is it managed, which management style is applicable to which? However, the way the media functions in every society is contingent upon a host of variables which combine to define and shape its character. Perhaps, a historical and definitional understanding of the media in Nigeria can help.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In view of this discussion, this study looks at the operational problems of private media houses in Nigeria using AIT Port Harcourt as a case study. Most private media houses are faced with a lot of problems in their operation. This is so because, since they are not owned by the government and cannot serve as the mouth piece and to some extent, this affect them because, the government is not responsible for their finances they are only sponsored by their owners and in case of financial constraint, they will surely be affected. Most private media houses lack the tactics in the management of its staffs and resources available to them and this causes lack of commitment by its workers thereby causing more harm than good to the organization. Most private media houses are faced with impediments that lead to ineffective coverage which leads to distortions in their operation.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the management challenges of private owned media. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the awareness of privately owned radio stations in Nigeria.
2. To examine the historical evolution and development of private owned media house in Nigeria.
3. To examine the impact of management challenges of private owned media houses on the character of communication in the society.
4. To examine the role the media have played and continue to play in the socio-political and socio-economic development of Nigeria.
5. To examine how the private owned media houses are managed.
6. To examine the best ways and strategies to curb the management challenges facing the private owned media houses.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. How is the awareness of privately owned radio stations in Nigeria?
2. What is the historical evolution and development of private owned media house in Nigeria?
3. What is the impact of management challenges of private owned media houses on the character of communication in the society?
4. What is the role the media have played and continue to play in the socio-political and socio-economic development of Nigeria?
5. What are the management styles of private owned media houses?
5. What are the best ways and strategies to curb the management challenges facing the private owned media houses?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no impact of management challenges of private owned media houses on the character of communication in the society.
H1: There is a significant impact of management challenges of private owned media houses on the character of communication in the society.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will help us determine the factors which constitute problems to both private owned media houses and also to know the extent with which the problems have reached and the study will also suggest solutions to the problems. As a result of the fact that the organization might not have time and also the resources both manpower and other wise to research into this topic, this very work would therefore, present a comprehensive and factual information or knowledge of their operations in the state. By acknowledging the facts put up more efforts to improve or automatically correcting the problems existing in the private owned media houses. On the other hand, as a station owned and finance by the government and private, knowledge of the station’s problems is a step towards solving it. The public in general will benefit from the findings of this research and the solutions if implemented by the management of government and private television station, their conditions and level of service will improve and the public will have cause to enjoy and identify with the station the more especially students of mass communication will always find this work valuable as it serve as a reference materials for them.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the management challenges of private owned media, a case study of AIT Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Private Owned Media: It means those radio or television stations owned or belonging to one particular individual or a group only.
Broadcasting: The transmission of information ideas, issues, operations through air space by means of radio frequency of signals capable of being received aurally or visually or both by the general public.
Broadcast media: This consist of all radio and television stations owned and controlled by the government or individual and it can also be used in sending out programmes on radio or television to a large number of people in order to achieve information and entertainment dissemination.
Radio: It is an aural or audio medium and the technology of using radio waves to carry information, such as sound, by systematically modulating some property of electromagnetically energy waves transmitted through space, such as their amplitude, frequency, and phase or pulse width.
Operational problems: The difficulties encountered by the private broadcasting media in their operation or in the dissemination of news, entertainment and information.