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Abuja’s harvest of FM stations

Abuja’s harvest of FM stations

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Onoshe Nwabuikwu

When it comes to entertainment, Abuja, the capital city, does not always get the first mention. You see this from the little to the not so little things. For instance, when a new movie or album is released, where are you likely going to see it first, Lagos or Abuja? When you read in the news that a musician has released his or her latest album, it’s natural to expect that you can just walk into any store in the FCT and buy this work. Right?

However, not only is this not possible, you’d likely be given the run around by ‘smart’ business owners. They’d make you feel like you don’t even know who or what you are talking about. A few years ago, I went enquiring at the Garki market of Sound Sultan’s newly released CD at the time. The market guys looked at me as if to ask, “This woman, are you well?”

Some others, not wanting to appear rude or dismissive, would attempt to ‘redirect’ your search. The most common trick is to attempt to try to convince you that the said musician has not released a new album since what could be four albums ago, but the really creative ones could go as far as informing you that they have found out (‘on good authority’, no less), the particular artiste is no longer a musician.

And this happens for other merchandise anyway. Ask a smart businessman about Product A and he would confidently tell you that Company X has discontinued the manufacturing of that product. I have been told this line about a product my agency was busy promoting when I used to be a copy writer. So, one minute you’re in the office writing ads for a product that’s very much alive; the next minute you go to the market to buy it and someone tells you, “Madam, they don’t make that toothpaste again o.”

All the foregoing, somewhat rambling introduction, is just to point out why it’s a big deal that Abuja now has FM stations Lagos had been enjoying for some time. Abuja is positively ‘swimming’ in FM stations. The FCT may have a ghost minister but I’m happy to report that it has joined the rest of Nigeria, or rather the happening city of Lagos.

I discovered this purely by accident. While on an Uber ride, I noticed that the driver was locked on 96.3 FM, which I later discovered to be Soundcity FM. Finally! I then confirmed that some other FM stations were now also in Abuja – Beat FM, Classical FM and of course Max FM (90.9). Regular readers would recall me raving about a certain Debbie and Max, presenters on Max FM, a few months ago.

These ‘new’ stations join fairly new stations like the Human Rights 107.7 FM, the Army FM. And there are the ‘old reliables’ such as Raypower FM, Hot FM, Brila FM and others.

Now, I can focus on listening to good music. I was never one for too much talk on radio; even less so now that some sort of gag on free speech appears to be going on, beginning with the ban on hate speech. Talk about removing the ladder after you have climbed up.

This is before we consider the declining quality of on-air commentators. I just finished suffering through one expert’s interview on Sunrise Daily (Channels TV). But that’s a story for another day. Each time I manage to be awake at 7am to watch these morning shows, I can’t but wonder how anyone can wake up to so much nonsense. If you must rise this early (for people with no regular office hours), the least you expect is stimulating/engaging radio or TV.

Back to Abuja’s good harvest, it’s not clear why these things take as long as they do, but hopefully, it wouldn’t take this long before Abuja gets to catch up.

October 1: Independence Day or not?

Did you remember that tomorrow is Independence Day? Independence from what, you may ask. Independence from our British colonial masters. It doesn’t feel like we are very independent right now. I bet those living in the different terror-ridden parts of the country are not feeling that independent.

But still, October 1st, which would probably be celebrated more by Nigerians living outside of Nigeria, is significant. The success and the passion with which the people embrace this day can be largely influenced by government. You can even embellish the truth a little, and we know we have one or two people who are experts in this sort of thing.

Will we hear from our leaders? Hopefully, October 1st will not be a 95sssss per cent versus five per cent declaration.

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