1.1     Background to the Study

The growth of radio took different patterns in different countries. In tropical Africa, broadcasting began in the early 1930’s. The initial aim was to provide a service for the European population living in Africa (Okoye, 2009) also to get informed with what is going on OK the country, keeping them up to date on issues. This however made radio a prominent tool as at that time. In the same vein, Kuewumi (2009) asserts that “radio had radicalized the face of human communication and ultimately become a fixed point in the daily lives of humans where by people are informed, taught, nurtured and reformed by way of relaxation and resuscitation”. This, he argued makes radio a medium of mass communication being constantly sought after by it ardent listeners. Which also made radio an essential mass medium that virtually every member of society benefit from. Radio on the same issue can be defined as a wireless transmission of signals through free space by electromagnetic radiation of frequency significantly below that of visible light, in the radio frequency from about 30Hz to 3000GHz (

Egbuchulam (2002) defined radio as a mobilizer and a formidable factor in the news world. Onabajo (1999), in the developing world as in Asia and Africa noted that radio is cheap, it does not cost much compared to television which is expensive. Radio is a vehicle for projecting personality through which it attracts and holds an audience. It is an efficient tool for getting a message to a large number of people at the same time, because it transcends the boundaries of space and time also across illiteracy boundaries (Onabajo, 1999).

Nevertheless, radio has been a major communication tool for improving the quality of people’s daily life based on its program contents bringing to their doorsteps news, entertainment, education, through this program. Even with the advent of the internet, radio retains the advantage of being able to serve dispersed, isolated and disadvantage communities. This, however, sponsors listenership of radio in most rural-urban areas in developing or under developed countries like Nigeria.

However, it is worthy of note that radio listenership in any given society is based on what it has to offer (content). This is to say as the audience of radio grows, so does their demand for quality, which in turn compels any radio, station to improve on their contents and standards. It is therefore no argument that radio serves as a means of communication. However, this study was not meant to appraise the effectiveness of radio but, rather designed to examine the level of influence program content has on listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Radio is a very important tool in communicating various development and change to different groups of people: and by far, it is the basic means to which people in isolated areas of the world relate with the world at large. This is said concerning the ability of radio to break financial barrier because it is affordable by both the poor and the rich, making it a veritable tool for general communication. In the same vein, the ability of radio to be affordable and requiring less effort and technical know-how does explains why many people own radio sets at home. Why radio is a basic software on every Mobile phone and why there exist a great deal of competition for audience attention in the Eket region of Akwa Ibom State and why radio producers do what they do to ensure that they get audience attention.

However, it does not explains or determine audience choice of content or what intent the audience in terms of what they pay attention to. Equally, one can say audience listenership of radio is not usually based on the ownership of the medium (radio) but rather on contents (the programs emitted from the medium). Nevertheless, having known that audience listenership is not based on ownership of the medium, the need to boost listenership of the medium become a job for both the producers of radio programs and the radio station. This was in order that they may cook up a spell binding program that catches the attention of the audience to continually listen to their program and stay glue to the station.

To this end, producers of radio programs put in a lot of time and resources to ensure that they bring up a program or content that sustains audience attention, promote listenership of their program and station while at the same time beating down the growing competition from competing radio stations around them. However, in spite of the time and resources emancipated by the producers of radio programs in producing a program that will promote listenership of the station, it is however unclear whether program content promotes listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among all other station in and around Eket, and if it does, what program is widely listened to among Eket residents.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

  1. To find out whether program content influence listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents.
  2. To what extent does program content influence listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents
  3. To ascertain whether Heritage radio audience in Eket are satisfied with the program content of Heritage radio 104.09fm
  4. To find out what other factor influence listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents aside from program content.

1.4     Research Questions

  1. Do program content influence listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents?
  2. To what extent does Eket residents listen to Heritage radio?
  3. What other factors influences listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents aside de e from program content?
  4. Are heritage radio audience in Eket satisfied with the program content of the station?

1.5     Justification of the Study

The focus of this study is on program content and listenership of Heritage radio programs among Eket residents. Therefore, at the end of this research, findings will benefit the radio station under study (Heritage radio 104.09fm). This is because findings will show the level or percentage of listeners the station has also help to determine whether program content is what draws or attract their present audience.

Furthermore, the findings in this study will also benefit advertisers who wishes to use the station has a channel of promoting their product or services with regard to the percentage of listeners it command and also to help them determine which or what program their advert will follow.

Lastly, the study will be beneficial to researcher who wishes to further research on same case study or the medium in the future. It will pose as a beacon pointing the way for researchers or as a reference material to support further studies.

1.6     Delimitation of the Study

This study is based on program content and it is influence on listenership of Heritage radio 104.09fm among Eket residents, but it would be impossible to study the whole of variables in full. Therefore, the researcher delimited the scope of the study to studying Heritage radio at Heritage polytechnic campus not minding other branches or station located in Eket.

In addition, the researcher delimited the scope of the study residents to audience living on Eket-Oron road, Hospital road, Udua road and Liverpool road as it would be too tedious to study the entire population of Eket. This the researcher does with the aim of deriving accuracy in result, conclusions and recommendations.

Lastly, the researcher cannot possibly comb through all programs aired on Heritage radio 104.09fm because it would be time consuming. Therefore, the researcher delimited the scope of the study selecting four general programs aired on Heritage radio, which are News on sports and politics, music programs, speak-it-right and centre stage.

1.7     Limitation of the Study

The major constraints the researcher faced while undergoing this study was the unwillingness of the respondents to respond positively to the research instrument as some of them demanded for immediate financial gratification before filling the questionnaire administered to them. However, to minimise this difficulty, the researcher had to persuade with this category of respondents that the study is not politically sponsored; rather it is purely an academic exercise.

1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

The following key concepts and terms were defined to guide the perspective of the study:

Eket: This constitutes the universe of the study: and also, a local government area of Akwa Ibom State.

Heritage Radio 104.09fm: This is a licensed broadcasting station within the boundaries of Akwa Ibom state

Programs: This are set of content s, set to aired on Heritage radio 104.09fm

Program content: This are features, quality items embeded in an activity that is scheduled to be aired on Heritage radio 104.09fm

Listenership: These are the number and categories of people who listen to Heritage radio, Eket.