Originally established as Radio Kaduna Television (RKT) in 1962 by the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN), Radio Nigeria Kaduna is one of the surviving legacies of the northern regional government in broadcasting.
The foundation stone of Radio Nigeria Kaduna was laid by the only Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, in 1962.
The radio arm quickly captured and captivated the attention of northern Nigeria’s vast radio-listening population. Through its news and current affairs as well as programme content on shortwave, Radio Nigeria Kaduna became a constant companion of millions of
people in rural and urban cities across the region’s vast landscape.
The station became a federal government establishment
in 1978 when the then Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation
fused with the Broadcasting Corporation of Northern
Nigeria to form the FRCN. For almost six decades, the station
remained a strong medium for mobilisation, galvanisation
and conscientisation in northern Nigeria. With its shortwave
channels broadcasting in English, Hausa and other languages including Nupe, Fulfulde and Kanuri, the station’s signals
reached beyond northern Nigeria, cultivating the largest radio listenership in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fifty-eight years later, many things seem to have changed
for northern Nigeria’s premier radio station because of the
collapse of the shortwave band; leading to the loss of its
millions of listeners. With the station now on medium wave
band, its signal is generally poor and barely received outside
Kaduna State. The station’s generating power has reduced
from 100 kilowatts to about 50 and sometimes even 30
In 1981, former President Alhaji Shehu Shagari saw to the
installation of two transmitters by Nippon Electric Company
(NEC) of Tokyo-Japan at Radio Nigeria Kaduna’s transmission
station in Jaji. Similar transmitters were mounted in other legacy stations such as Enugu, Ibadan and Lagos. The transmitter in Jaji is the only surviving transmitter of the NEC
transmitters installed in the country in 1981. Spare parts are
now sourced from the others that are now obsolete in sister
legacy stations to keep the one in Jaji alive. A 200 kilowatts
JAICA prototype transmitter installed by the Japanese
government in 2009 is the only back-up transmitter. The station alternates between the Japanese prototype and the
NEC equipment to be on air.
The station’s epileptic air presence had become embarrassing in recent months due to the frequent breakdown
of the obsolete equipment. Radio Nigeria Kaduna’s woes are
the result of decades of neglect. Although the average life
span of the NEC transmitter is 10 years but could be managed
for 15 years, the NEC transmitter in Jaji has remained active
for nearly 40 years. There is no radio station that uses that
transmitter in Nigeria or anywhere in the world today. Out of prolonged frustrations, the staff of the station protested in 2018 of obsolete equipment. This however failed to change the
Aside of obsolete equipment, the architectural structure at
the zonal office of the station at Independence Way in Kaduna
is in the worst state of dilapidation; begging for comprehensive
repairs. With leaking roofs and decks, buckets are used to
trap water from rainfall. Iron boards are also used to cover
parts of the transmitter to ensure it doesn’t get wet. When it
is raining, the transmitter is sometimes put off air to prevent
the equipment from further deterioration. The interior of
the building that once housed transmitters for the language
service is now a dark shadow of its past.
During the country’s civil war, Radio Nigeria, Kaduna was
effectively used to counter secessionists by Biafran Army.
Even today, it could be used to fight fake news and dangerous
agitations that seek to threaten the unity of Nigeria. The
importance of this radio station as a tool for social cohesion and
national integration; as a medium for promoting agricultural extension services as well as reaching out to farmers on modern farming techniques; and as an effective instrument
of propagating government programmes especially in rural
communities cannot be over-emphasised.
All this justifies our
call on the federal government to act fast and take measures
to salvage this premier radio station in the northern part of
Nigeria before it permanently goes off air.
DAILY TRUST EDITORIAL