Like the acorn sowed exactly 10 years ago on a fertile soil, the Unilorin 89.3 FM station is steadily blossoming into a virile oak tree, making waves in all areas of broadcasting while effectively serving as one of the public relations outfits of the Better by far citadel.
Established on August 13, 2009 by the administration of Prof. Is’haq Oloyede, to, in the words of the visionary don, “provide a window to the larger community about what the University was doing as well as set standard for socially responsible entertainment, …. serve as a laboratory for training and simulation of activities, …. prepare students for careers in the media industry, ….(and generally for) education, information, entertainment and community development purposes”, the Unilorin FM station has evidently substantially lived up to the expectations of its founding fathers.
When it was formally commissioned on October 22, 2011 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the then Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayat Rufai, Unilorin FM pioneered 24-hours transmission in the North Central region of the country and it remains the only campus radio station in the country broadcasting 24/7! Even though this unprecedented and yet unsurpassed feat was temporarily rested due to a devastating thunderstorm in August last year that wreaked havoc on its transmitting equipment, no other campus radio station in the country has experimented with, much less engaging in 24 hours broadcasting. The best any of them is doing is six to eight hours daily.
Like every campus radio station, Unilorin FM was set up ab initio “for training potential broadcasters or students in communication arts.” But the station has since upped this ante by expanding its initial mandate of merely complementing classroom education to the more encompassing mandate of broadcasting. This informed the diversification of the radio station’s mandate to serve as a Public Relations outlet, a form of image building and reputation managing organ for the University. To achieve this, several programmes were introduced to ensure the expansion of the audience base beyond the student population to include staff and other members of the University community, residents of the immediate host community and other relevant stakeholders.
With a parade of carefully scheduled programming, painstakingly followed and strictly pursued, Unilorin FM is contributing to the development of a sound crop of Nigerian youth through the inspirational potentials of its programmes.
It has also significantly contributed to the reduction of tension on the University campus. This is a very commendable contribution when one considers the regularity of and rapidity at which crises erupt on most university campuses across the country. That the University of Ilorin enjoys a significant amount of harmony over the years is partly attributable to some of the peace building programmes aired on the FM station.
We heartily appreciate the vision of the founding fathers of this unique medium of mass communication. The list is endless. They include, Prof. Oloyede, who ably led the team that conceived the idea of establishing the radio station and also for his continuous emotional attachment to the radio station through several positive interventions, even after completing his tour of duty as the University Vice-Chancellor; Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, who substantially kept the flag flying during his tenure; and Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, for his relentless effort to see to the survival of the radio station, despite all daunting odds.
Also worthy of mentioning are: the then Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences (CIS) when the radio station was established, Prof. Lenrie Aina, who was the Chairman of the Campus Radio Implementation Committee; the then Coordinator of the Department of Mass Communication, Mr. Nurain Doyin Mahmoud, of blessed memory; Dr. Lukman A. Azeez, who took over the Departmental headship from the late Mr. Mahmoud; Dr. Saudat S. Abdulbaqi and Dr. Abdulkadir Oba Laro, both of whom were at various times the Secretary of the Implementation Committee; Engr. Mobolaji Sanni, the then Director of Works; Engr. Adesiyun, the then Director of Physical Planning; the former Registrars, Mrs. Olufolake O. Oyeyemi and Mr. Emmanuel D. Obafemi, as well as the incumbent Registrar, Dr. Folaranmi M. Olowoleni, for their all-time administrative support; the former Bursars, Mr. Ayo Sijuwola and Mr. Saka Yusuf, as well as the incumbent Bursar, Mr. Hakeem O. Sonde, for their all-time logistics support; Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji, who was the Head of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs when the radio station was established; Dr. Abdulkareem A. Oloyede, who developed the mini-transmitter initially used by the radio station before the eventual procurement of the state-of-the-art transmitting equipment; Mr. Oluwasegun Alabi, the pioneer staff/Studio Manager; Mr. Abdulganiyu Durodola, the pioneer Station Manager; Mr. Ibrahim Akintola Udris (Alooma), the Ag. Station Manager; and all the pioneer staff and volunteers that worked through thick and thin to put the radio station on a sound footing.
The Unilorin FM Management Board, ably led by Prof. Ayo Akinwale, has also been very wonderful in its leadership and logistics support in improving the programming and day-to-day running of the radio station. Also worthy of commendation is the management of Unilorin Resource Development and Management Board (URDMB) for its support. Listeners, fans and freelance presenters, all contributed to giving the radio station a character of its own. They are all appreciated. All staff and students of the University have been very supportive, especially those who have participated in one programme or another on the radio station. We appreciate you all.
As the Unilorin radio marks its first decade in the business of broadcasting, the University management is being urged to complement the excellent service being dished out by the FM station with the establishment of a campus television station, an idea that is, fortunately, already on the cards. No doubt, this would be a worthy complement of the Unilorin FM Radio in projecting the good image and managing the blossoming reputation of the University.
Let’s roll out the drums, let the cymbals chime, let guitars vibrate and all musical instruments should be joyfully arrayed for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Better by far radio station, Unilorin 89.3 FM, the station in a class of its own!
*Akogun is the Director, Corporate Affairs of the University of Ilorin and the Chief Operating Officer of Unilorin FM