The Birth Of Television In Nigeria

The history of lbadan Television is the story of continuous struggles, tension, sweat, glory, and happiness It may not be quite easy to identify one single reason that motivated the establishment of lbadan Television.

Ian Mckay, in his Broadcasting In Nigeria, believe that Chief Awolowo was the Chief motivator. He attributed Chief Awolowo's determination to establish a broadcasting outfit to the refusal of the then Nigerian Broadcasting Service to grant him a right to reply in 1956 to a speech made by the Colonial Governor.

In Mckay's view, as soon as the new Constitution that made broadcasting a concurrent subject was introduced, Chief Awolowo proceeded to establish a broadcasting outfit owned by Government.
It is probably true also that Chief Anthony Enahoro, then Minister of Information and Home Affairs contributed largely to the shapening of the Chief's determination.

The story has been told of Chief Enahoro's visit to London in 1955. He was attracted by this wonderful Television technology. With Mr. David Williams, of "West Africa", he decided to spend a day visiting television studios to enable him understand this technology.

These two incidents led to the establishment of Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) the first regular television service in the African continent. The Western Regional Government was aware ofthe huge financial involvement of television.

The Government therefore decided to run the television service as a commercial service in partnership with Overseas Rediffusion of London. Of course, Overseas Rediffusion was participating in television ownership in various companies in West Indies, Europe, Britain and Asia. They had a reservoir of experience in television.

Perhaps the decision of the West Regional. Government to go into commercial television partnership was inevitable. The world-wide trend was towards commercial television. A few years earlier, commercial television was introduced in Britain. Broadcasting had gone commercial in United States and that was the new craze.

Marconi Company of Britain were the equipment suppliers. Transmission equipment consisted of Channel 4 Transmitter with a power 500 watts (e.r.p. 1500 watts) was located on Mapo Hill. The Channel 3 Transmitter at Abafon had an effective power of 15,000 watts.

Primary coverage areas were centred on Ibadan and Lagos. There was only one telecine cahnell, one Mobile Van with two cameras, and a 2-camera studio. Video-tape facilities were not in existence.

Because of the partnership arrangements, there were many expatriates who came through Overseas Rediffusion Company. They did Engineering installation and trained staff in production, news news productions and announcers.

Most of the early programmes staff Kurile Olasope, Anike Agbaje-Williams, Remi Sokefun, and Segun Olusola had experience in radio broadcasting. Some others including Bayo Sanda, Bimbo Adelaja, Bayo Faleti and Sam Adegbie had no experience in broadcasting at all, as at that time.


The German Consul at Ibadan on an official visit to WNTV signs the visitors book while Chief A. O. Obisesan (extreme right) Chairman Board of Directors and Mr. I. O. Osinowo acting secretary to the corporation watched with interest.


Left to right Miss Janet Hyde-Clark (Film Editor), Miss Gillian Selby (Production Assistant) , Chief Anthony Enahoro and Mrs. Enahoro at a reception given by Minister of Home Affairs and Midwest at Ibadan.

One of the Board of Directors Meetings, second from right is Dr. Adedayo Adedeji, Chairman Extreme right is Mr. J.A.Olagbaju, P.R.O, backing camera are Mr. Ayo Ogunlade, Controller of Programmes and Mr. Bornford, Chief Accountant, second from left is Mr. Olateju Oyeleye the then Chief Engineer and Mr. Osinowo first left.

The Pioneers of WNTV/WNBS 1959. Left to right:- Garry Blackhedge (Programme Director), Peter Proudman (Head of News/Film), Vivian Harrison (Accountant), D.V. Murray White (Site Construction Superintendent), Arthur J. Mathers (Chief Executive), Do Gale (Technical Operations Manager, Hedley Chambers (Station Manager), Gillian Selby (Production Assistant), John Lord (Education Programmes Officer), Janet Hyde-Clarke (Film Editor).

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