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Indigenous language broadcasting in Nigeria is common and scholars have focused on how they enhance message delivery but not much on how it promotes indigenous languages. This study focused on audience’ consumption of indigenous language programmes, how much it learns about indigenous languages from such programmes and how the programmes contribute to mother-tongue development. The study explored cultural norm theory and adopted survey, while mean scores were used for data analysis. Findings show that indigenous language programmes were significantly available but moderately consumed. The audience learnt enough simple words/expressions from the programmes to engage in simple conversations in local languages. The programmes thus contributed to indigenous language development by teaching people useful words, expression and pronunciations in mother tongues, and encouraged them to teach such languages to their children and friends. The findings support cultural norm theory that broadcasting can promote indigenous languages through selective presentations of programmes in mother tongues. Findings show that vernacular broadcasts are not sustainable because they hardly attract advertisements/sponsorships, and are sometimes poorly produced. The study recommends that government should formulate policies to promote local language broadcasting in Nigeria and join NGOs and pro-ethnic groups to initiate/sponsor vernacular programmes.

Chapter one


1.1Background of the study

The use of local languages in broadcasting in Nigeria is not strange. Many broadcast stations in Nigeria transmit in both the English Language and local languages, while some stations transmit entirely in vernacular (Akanbi & Aladesanmi, 2014). Widespread indigenous language broadcasting in Nigeria is linked with the need to communicate vital development-oriented information to the mostly illiterate people at the grassroots (who incidentally are in the majority in the country) since broadcasting and language meet communication needs (Okenwa, 1990; Adamu, 2007; Akanbi & Aladesanmi, 2014). While broadcasting provides the medium to convey vital information to a mass of recipients in high volume, language ensures that the message is understood. It is therefore imperative that Nigerian broadcasters adopt local languages which are most likely to be understood by the most significant number of their target audiences at the grassroots (Feldman & Albarracín, 2017; Van Riper & Kyle, 2014)

The selection of most appropriate languages of broadcast have always yielded benefits. Arising from the above, Aniebona (1990), postulates that broadcasting in local languages, alongside the national language, enables radio and television stations in Nigeria to convey their messages to both the literate and illiterate in the society. However, beyond ensuring that broadcast messages reach the largest proportion of target audience possible, can the use of indigenous languages in broadcasting help to promote the development of such languages. This study is thus aimed at interrogating the preceding discourse. The rationale for this study is based on the observation that many indigenous languages in Nigeria are at the verge of extinction as a result of disuse and absence of development (Babalola et al., 2020). Language understanding, in the context of this study, is steady to understand when others are talking to them in the speaking of language. It is therefore intellectually rewarding to ascertain how much the use of local languages in broadcasting can help to promote the speaking of indigenous languages in Nigeria, and by extension, prevent such languages from extinction (Bisin & Verdier, 2011; Henrich & Gil-White, 2001).

Omenesa (1997) observed that radio programmes are promptly delivered and reach the audience regardless of where they are located so long as they have a receiver and are connected to power. He noted that the unavailability of facilities like good roads, electricity and water do not affect radio transmission likewise the distance, time and socio-political exigencies or illiteracy are no barriers to radio messages since such messages can be communicated in the audience’s native language.

Statement of the problem

The use of vernacular as language of broadcasting in Nigeria has received some measure of research attention. Aghadiegwu & Ogbonna (2015), notes that the use of local languages gives broadcasters opportunities to translate their messages into verbal codes that can accommodate the interests of illiterate and semi-literate members of the audience, who are usually in their large numbers, especially in rural areas. In a study on the use of Hausa Language in agricultural broadcasting in Zaria, Adamu (2007), reports that the broadcast programme studied recorded great success because it was delivered in the Hausa Language, which 100% of the study population could understand. Nwosu (1990), points out that the use of local languages and dialects in broadcasting in Nigeria is beneficial in teaching better farming techniques and food preservation practices. Also, it helps in modern crop harvesting, storage, and marketing methods for rural farmers who are in the majority in the country (Loidl, 2004; Sumner & Samuel, 2009). All the studies cited above focused on how the use of local languages in broadcasting can enhance information delivery. However, not much appears to have been said about how broadcasting in local languages can contribute to the development of indigenous languages in Nigeria, especially from the perspective of members of the audience in a multi-lingual society like Delta State. How much does the broadcast audience consume local language programmes in Delta State and how much do they learn about indigenous languages from local language programmes on radio and television? In what ways do these programmes contribute to the development of indigenous languages in Delta State, and what are the possible barriers? These questions represent apparent gaps in knowledge that this study on audience perception of the contributions of local language broadcasts to the understanding of indigenous languages in Delta State attempted to fill (Love & Ansaldo, 2010; Awopetu, 2016).

Objective of the study

The main objective of the study is to investigate audience perception of the impact of indigenous on the understanding of broadcasting programmes among Warri residents. Using Delta state broadcasting station as a case study. The specific objectives are;

  1. To find out audiences’ perception on indigenous language programme in Delta Broadcasting Station
  2. To find out the extent indigenous language programme help residents in Warri through Delta state broadcasting station
  3. To ascertain how the use of indigenous language impact on listenership and participation among Warri residents

Research question

The following research questions are formulated to guide the study;

  1. How is audiences’ perception on indigenous language programme in Delta Broadcasting Station?
  2. To what extent does indigenous language programme help residents in Warri?
  3. How does the use of indigenous language impact on listenership and participation among Warri residents?

Significance of the study

The study will be very significant to students, media house and the policymakers. The study will give a clear insight on the audience perception of the impact of indigenous language on the understanding of broadcasting programmes among Warri residents, a case study of Delta Broadcasting station. The study will education audience the beauty of promoting our local languages not only in Delta state but others state too for the benefits of our local peoples that English language not comprehensive to them. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic

Scope of the study

The scope of the study covers audience perception of the impact of indigenous language on the understanding of broadcasting programmes. The study will be limited to people of Warri

Definition of terms

Audience: An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature, theatre, music, video games, or academics in any medium. Audience members participate in different ways in different kinds of art

Perception: Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sensory system.

Indigenous language: An indigenous language is a language that is native to a region and spoken by indigenous people, often reduced to the status of a minority language. This language would be from a linguistically distinct community that has been settled in the area for many generations

Broadcasting programme: Broadcast programming is the practice of organizing or ordering of broadcast media shows, typically radio and television, in a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or season-long schedule


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