In the last few weeks, all socio- economic and political activities in Nigeria and other countries across the world have been grounded due to the Covid19 pandemic and many industries and ministries have been counting their losses and this also include the Media industry, both the print and electronic. Few days back, City People’s ADEOLA SHITTU, had a chat with Sir Martins Ayoola, the General Manager of Adaba 88.9 Fm, Akure, Ondo State. He speaks on the effect of the Covid-19, especially on the Media Industry and his Adaba 88.9 FM station.
How have you been coping since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria?
First of all, let me give all glory to God because He is the author and the author of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is a global issue, not just in Nigeria. And as a radio station, I will say we have been coping well in the last 5 weeks because we remain the only means of communication between the government and the people, mostly in the rural areas.
This people depend on us because not all of them have an Android phone or have access to Internet, so it’s our job at this curial period to pass information to them through our medium [radio]. So it’s our duty and social responsibility to inform and educate them on the effect of the virus and how to prevent themselves from the virus, especially by keeping social distancing and the stay safe policy. All these are what we do on a daily basis.
I will say we are coping well and very soon we pray that everything come back to shape, because we can’t shut down the station all because of the pandemic. Our people count on us for daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking of advert, would you say Adaba FM radio station is doing fine in that regard, during this period?
Without missing words, the effect had been negative. Everything had been on lockdown. No social or political activities. And don’t forget that those are the sources of our revenue. In any media firm, when the revenue is not forthcoming everything will be on hold.
For instance, every week, activities are mapped out like wedding, burial, conference, training etc. And don’t forget that this year is Ondo State Governorship election, but this pandemic has grounded all political activities, and basically when those things are not forthcoming, there is no way advert will come in.
Things are very tough for most radio stations that don’t have government backing. They have to start planning and prepare for the post COVID-19 outbreak. When things are back to normal, it won’t be business as usual and one needs to put on his or her thinking cap and if possible we should reduce our expenses as a station and also draw a budget that will curtail a moderate bill for the station because revenue is not forthcoming.
Recently, the budget was splashed by the National Assembly because there is no room for luxury and the little one available must be spent judiciously. The revenue must be spent judiciously because it’s not going to be easy.
What are the likely effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on radio stations?
Hmmm, the COVID-19 pandemic effect on radio stations is not good. Automatically, some people should be expecting lost of job, because the essence of establishing a radio station which is commercial oriented but money is not coming.
One can’t be financing it on its own. I am not saying that will be applicable to us here (Adaba FM). By God’s grace we will be able to manage the little on ground till when is over. But those stations that are not on strong sound voting and good backups; their rate of surviving is very shaky.
Will you say Adaba FM has not lost millions of Naira since the covid19 lockdown?
You see, we thank God for the benefit this station has been enjoying since it was established. The brand name and the image it has over the year, and the Goodwill is still there. Is there any company who has not lost millions in the last 5 weeks? even the federal government have lost billions of Naira, so who are we? There is no doubt that advert has dropped but we thank God.
Though generally, no advert, and the little advert coming to state, our clients still prefer us (Adaba Fm) to others. For instance, if 10 advert slots come to Ondo State today, we are sure of having 8 slots while others share the remaining 2 adverts. So the advert is still coming but not as expected. Adverts are coming in little by little and mostly from COVID-19 but those events like burial, wedding, have stopped for now. Politics is dead on arrival as at today. So we thank God for the little advert coming to Ondo State.
The belief now is that, after the lockdown many firms will reduce their staff strength. Are you planning for such?
To God be the glory. I don’t think Adaba FM radio station will do something like that. If the lockdown is not going to be a long one; if it just going to be 1 to 4 months, I believe we will bounce back.