‘Airtime’ with Onoshe Nwabuikwu: Keeping the Digital Dialogue going & more

It’s a New Yair!

The year may not be so new on account of 2013 is all of thirteen days old already. But as this is the first AIRTIME of the year, do permit me to observe one of this column’s few traditions-perhaps the only one that’s still around anyway. At the beginning of each year, I take out some time to air my expectations from the airwaves in the New Year. It’s a New Yair after all! Just like we do as individuals when we expect our whole life to turn around for the better every New Year. Logically, the difference between December 31st and January 1st is but a few hours. But as soon as January 1st dawns, our whole outlook changes, so naturally do our expectations. So it is that AIRTIME begins to expect great new things, airxpectations from the airwaves-TV, Radio and Film in the brand New Year. Just because it’s a New Yair!

Spreading falsehood on air

As far as that goes, airxpectations are pretty easy to do. I mean, all I have to do is list things I expect to see or the difference I expect on the airwaves. My list hardly changes: Better programming, more interesting programmes, better picture quality, better presenting, less flamboyant dressing, call it owambe-ic, etc., how hard is that? Unfortunately, I don’t always do a follow up as to which stations/presenters met or even surpassed my airxpectations. But that’s a different story altogether.

Nonetheless, what’s uppermost on my mind this New Year isn’t just the usual. Of course, I do still want more interesting programmes, better pictures, etc. If I’m going to be spending so much time on air, it had better be worth it. Anyhow, what I’m most concerned about right now is the seeming lack of integrity on the airwaves. To break that down, I worry that one can no longer trust most of what’s on air. Same goes for newspapers (but then this column isn’t about the print media). Same could be said of the media worldwide I know although the Nigerian situation is definitely far worse because there are almost no checks and avenues for recourse.

The point is anyone can go on air, say anything, no matter how untrue even when almost everyone knows the truth; yet get away with it. The immediate reason is that the journalist who should act as the devil’s advocate would’ve abdicated that role perhaps content with another form of settlement. Back in the day, journalists were taught to always get the other side. Except if impossibly the other side doesn’t exist. Or if the other side is unwilling to present its side. Now, even when the other side is willing, it’s ignored because ‘tori no go come sweet’ or whatever the other side presents is taken and further twisted by some unscrupulous people to suit pecuniary interests.

On a.m TV especially, bogus experts/activists are falling over themselves, passed off as real analysts saying all sorts. Then there are the money men who have been accused of all kinds of crimes, some as serious as murder directly or indirectly and whose only defence would be ‘my enemies’. Because they can pay the exorbitant appearance fees, it’s easier for them to be on air than someone with a genuine cause.

I wish journalists, TV owners or whoever is concerned enough about the integrity of broadcasting would step up to the plate this year. It shouldn’t always about who has more money to throw money around. Little forgotten things like patriotism and the future of Nigeria have got to begin counting.

Stop the Midnight Agony

The above may sound unrelated to the foregoing or perhaps it even sounds like the title of a Nollywood movie midnight agony is basically a description of my painful experiences on the Africa Magic channels late at night. Perhaps you could say anyone who stays up too late deserves whatever the TV throws up? Fact is, one doesn’t always plan to watch certain movies till the very end. It’s just that midway into most of these movies you decide the best way to make up for having already wasted about two hours is to get to the end of the movie which in essence is to waste another two hours. Call it masochism or an occupational hazard; it always begins with good intentions.

But it seems that movies with the most outrageous storylines are reserved for late in the night. And somehow they manage to drag till the early hours of the morning.Here are a few titles: Ladies Gang (Afam Okereke), Stolen Desire (Ifeanyi Okechukwu), etc. But Tchidi Chikere’s Kingdom Pleasure must take the prize for the most incredible story and casting. Who to direct this appeal to then? Africa Magic or Nollywood directors? Who do we tell that just because an idea sounds great on paper means you shouldn’t do more brainstorming?


When 2015 comes…

Keeping the Digital Dialogue going

The rider is to calm those whose frantic minds have jumped to politics, PDP’s zoning and whether GEJ is running for office (or running back home). Elections are not the only thing happening in 2015 you know. June 2015 is the year the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) has fixed for the all of the world to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting-speaking of terrestrial Television. This by the way affects more Nigerians. And Nigeria wants to achieve this a few months earlier by migrating in January 2015.

How does that affect me, you say? Well, for one you’ll need a set-top-box (STB) in 2015 to receive signals/content on your TV set. There’s a whole lot our TV stations need to do. Government too. And fortunately, we no longer have a choice as to whether we’re migrating. It’s worldwide plus digital is so much better.

In a bid to get us talking about the impending digital migration in 2015, series of workshops were held in 2012 under the Digital Dialogue banner in Johannesburg, South Africa (October) and Lagos, Nigeria (December) facilitated my Multichoice Nigeria and Strategic Outcomes Ltd. At the Lagos Dialogue, presenters came from within and outside Nigeria: Prof Emevwo Biakolo, Efere Ozako, Amaka Igwe, Jenkins Alumona, Aki Anastasiou and others.

There’s still a long way to go. First of all, when are we going to see the government’s white paper, submitted in June 2009 by the Presidential Advisory Committee On Digital Broadcasting (PAC) which was set up in 2008? Hopefully not before it turns brown or black? Riding on the passion at the time, President Goodluck Jonathan had told participants to Africast 2010 that “in recognition of the fact that digitization in the broadcast sector is best driven by policy, government is preparing to present a bill to the National Assembly … to provide the legal framework for the transition’…dealing with the basic issues of the signal distribution system, the licensing framework, spectrum planning, broadcast standards, training, set-top boxes and such other relevant issues that willmake the transition smooth and meaningful”.

But as at March 2012, that bill had not been sent. Are we going to finally see some movement in 2013?


India: A Love Story

‘India: A Love Story’ (DStv channel 155) is an Indian-Brazilian collaboration via Globo TV. Done in the inimitable Latin American soap opera style, it tells the story of forbidden love between people of different castes and cultures. Not sure in what language it was done originally but just like other Latin American soaps, there are English voiceovers some of which sound rather funny.

There’s Raj (Rodrigo Lombardi) who is in love with a Brazilian-Duda (Tania Khalil) who he can’t marry because she’s a ‘firangi’ or foreigner. An appropriate girl-Maya (Juliana Paes) has already been chosen for him. But she’s in love with Bahuan (Marcio Garcia) who belongs to a lower caste… In ‘India: A Love Story’, Yvonne (Leticia Sabatella) is the Carlotta (á la ‘In The Name of Love’ on AIT). She’s the all bad woman who has stolen her best friend Silvia (Deborah Bloch)’s husband Raul (Alexandre Borges) right under her nose/roof while still being the best friend. And there are a few other interesting characters.

I take this soap in small doses though. The ‘black and white-ness’ of the characters can be a lot to take in, the fact that some characters are all bad with almost no redeeming feature requires a huge suspension of one’s disbelief. So, I usually change channels back and forth especially to Mnet’s Tinsel where the current bleakness of death row inmate Dan Ade Williams is sobering and drops me back to earth rather harshly. Although when that gets too bleak and boring, I hurry back again to ‘India…’…

‘India: A Love Story’ has brilliant visuals and rich soundtracks. I doubt that filming was done in India but the final result is believable. And the Tinsel guys had better watch out as ‘India: A love story’ can capture its fans.



Motorcycles are sources of crime in Kano metropolis


Going, going, going…it appears the days are numbered for motorcycles (okadas) in Kano. More criminals may use motorcycles to commit crimes but the prevalence of crime has more to do with the police’s inability to apprehend criminals on one hand and failure to prosecute and/punish. Whether motorcycles or private jets are sources of crimes is only relevant if the police were arresting/charging/and punishing criminals.


‘She has in a short while stamped her feet on the music industry”.

-Citation at the Ovation Awards/Carol, December 21, 2012

Is that why some people say the Nigerian music industry is barely alive? I hope this wasn’t as a result of this female musician stamping her feet (in stilettos no less) on the music industry? Apart from the bad grammar, it may have sounded better to use a phrase or metaphor that’s compatible with music and singing. There also was no need to overstate the fact. Like orikis, some people are inclined towards exaggeration and think citations must only read in superlatives. The fact that someone is getting an award speaks for itself. Stamping feet, bestriding the world like a colossus, and so on and so forth should be used sparingly like spice.

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