Programming on a broadcast station tends to be the time and duration of programmes the station presents them to the intended audience. The station should know when the station’s audience for whom the programme is meant would be at the time of presentation. For example, if it is an educational programme meant for pupils of school age, the station should know when to present such a programme that will benefit such an audience. If it is aired by 10.00am during week days, the intended audience would be at school and as such it would not be advisable to present the programme at that hour. And if a programme is meant for adults who are workers then it will be of no use to present the programme at let’s say 3.30 pm as they would be preparing to leave office. It would be better to present the programme when the audience members would be at home.
A good example of proper programming is when the NTA used to present a popular local programme the “Village Headmaster”. This programme was aired from 8.00pm – 9.00pm when most adults were at home, and this was followed immediately by the 9.00 pm National News.
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- explain what programming is all about
- effectively discuss programme creation and concept
- demonstrate the essence of programme idea and proposal.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
3.1 Definition of Programming
Every broadcast station has its own time or duration of being on air each day. Some are on air for 24 hours while others operate for a number of hours less than 24. The principal aim of being on air whether for twenty-four hours or less is to meet the desires and aspirations of the station’s audience by presenting acceptable programmes for their consumption?
Each station has the liberty to determine which programme comes up at what time, provided such programmes meet the desires of the station’s audience. The plan of allocating programmes according to time of the day and duration of each programme is known as programming. Programmes are scheduled to take care of a variety of programmes such as drama, sports, documentary, cultural displays, discussions and a host of others. All these are presented to meet the desires or for the consumption of the stations audience.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1
- What is Programming?
3.2 Programme Creation
Programme creation deals with both real-life and imagined situations that need to be addressed.
Owuamalam (2007:62) notes, the issue to be addressed must be identified and extracted, as a societal problem to be solved, It must be properly identified, so that the boundaries of performance can be addressed and determined.
Creating programmes involves thinking and envisaging of a problem and its consequences on the society. It clearly points out that the problem exists and it “shows why it is a problem and proposes how the problem can be solved. For example, the issue of cultism in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, this has now become a problem both to parents and university staff. Such a problem or situation can lead to a producer to carefully thinking of a programme idea that could provide answers or suggestions that would attempt to stamp out the problem, or would at least curtail cultism on our university campuses.
The programme producer should think of a theme that would properly address the problem. Like a research topic the producer should be able to come up with a specific assumption which is supposed to lay special emphasis on a specific course. The main theme may generate certain sub-themes that would also help to deal with the various aspects of the situation. Whatever method adopted by the producers, the programme so created should aim at suggesting solution to the said problem.
The producer should be able to clearly explain why it is desirable to propose such a programme. Owuamalam (2007:65) further points out that programmes are concepts and concepts are thoughts. Thoughts, therefore, must be supported with action in order to be actualised. It means that a programme idea must be conceived to give expression to the concept. It shows that the conceived programme must be relevant to the issue raised in the thought process. The programme must address the concept in all its ramifications but within the limits and boundaries outlined by the situation which the thought is expected to deal with. The presentation should be credible, believable, factual and reliable, and should be acceptable to the station’s audience.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2
- How would you as a producer create a programme?
3.3 Programme Concept
There are three basic concepts through which programmes are created. The concepts are publicity, propaganda and public enlightenment. We shall look at the three concepts one after another.
- Publicity – A broadcast station’s main objective may be to give to the station’s audience what the station wants them to know. In this situation the station is the source of the news or the programme. The station might have embarked on an action which it wants the audience to be informed about and nothing more. The station decides what is right for the audience. The duty of the programme producer is tell the public the station’s point of view on the issue concerned. For example, if Nigeria is at war with any of the countries in the West African Sub-region, the NTA would show how successful Nigeria has been doing without showing the losses incurred. Publicity can also be negative, for example, a few years ago America embarked on negative campaign against Nigeria. Even where Nigeria performed very well like the case of Somalia and Liberia, credit was given to other African countries.
- Propaganda – This concept tends to use descriptive method to deal with the details of an issue and shows how they relate to the cause, designed to be tackled. It provides vital and valuable information about the theme, which the programme addresses (Owuamalam 2007:68). For example, a documentary on young women suffering from VVF (vesco-vaginal fistula) goes to show the bad effects of early marriage on under-developed girls and the de-humanising and frustrating situations in which these girls find themselves because of their gender. It further shows that these girls have no say in their marriage. They are just married off at the instance of their parents.
- Public Enlightenment – Society cannot deal with particular situations unless members of the society have relevant information pertaining to the situation. In such a case only persons with adequate knowledge would be given the opportunity to speak on the issue, thus bringing awareness to the generality of the people within the given community. It can be the question of girl child education in Nigeria. The programme has to be educative and informative in nature.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 3
Why do you think the propaganda rather than the enlightenment concept should be used in the issue of girl child education?
3.4 Programme Proposal
According to Dominick (2002:274) everything starts with an idea. Stations do receive hundreds of ideas every year, some come from independent producers, some from television departments, some from network employees and a good many from amateurs hoping to get a start.
Owuamalam (2007:70) says that a programme conceiver, who believes that an idea is of interest to an audience, sells the idea to the producer who evaluates the idea in line with the established and accepted norms of the broadcast station.
For example, the concept of the First Amendment in the American Constitution is talking about freedom of expression, as well as when we talk about Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, we are referring to freedom of expression which comes with the rights of citizens to have access to the press in order to express themselves without hindrance as Trager et al (2007:34) state that First Amendment was intended to prevent the U.S. government from adopting suppressive laws. This means that all political parties should be given equal opportunity to campaign for votes during electioneering campaigns.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 4
- What does programme proposal mean?
3.5 Programme Idea
According to the BBC Dictionary (1992:573), an idea is a plan or possible cause of action. Owuamalam (2007:41) states that, an idea is a mental construction crafted to generate stimulation. It is an imagination that seeks actualisation through programme production. Programme idea involves the selection and placement of materials in a manner that ensures understanding by the audience. The material should also have an appeal to the audience.
Since television encapsulates image and sound, the producer has an additional task of creating mental picture of what the audience members hear. The audience sees and hears what is happening and are in a position to judge for themselves. Ideas could be generated from personal imagination. In whatever form it comes, the idea should be useful in content the audience should be interested and enthusiastic about it. The message such an idea has for the audience should be important, to be able to attract attention from the audience. For example, in places where an institution of age grades is valued, a programme based on such a theme would attract a lot of attention both from the older and younger of age groups.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 5
- What is programme idea?
This unit is anchored on the theme of programming in broadcasting. All programmes start with programme idea. The idea must be useful in content and should appeal to the interest of the audience members. The programme to produce should be mindful of the culture of the targeted audience.
The idea should be designed with the aim of achieving a specific purpose whether it is instructional, moralistic or entertaining. The idea is therefore the basis for virtually all programme productions in the broadcast industry.
7.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
- Why is programme idea very important in broadcasting?
- Who do you think are the station’s audience?
- Propose a broadcast programme in respect of girl child education in Nigeria.