The Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation (RSBC) was
established by Edict Number 8 of 1973. By this law,RSBC was originally designed to serve as an umbrella body for the Rivers State Radio and Television Stations, Radio Rivers and Rivers State Television.
The corporation was among the foremost establishments established by the administration the then Lt. Commander Alfred Diette Spiff, to promote the good identity of Rivers people who were part of the Eastern Nigerian Region before the creation of Rivers State On May 27, 1967.
At inception, the literary icon, Gabriel Gbaingbain Okara, was appointed the pioneer General Manager of the station. Though the television arm known as RSBC- TV commenced operation before the radio station.
Following the harmonization and restructuring of radio broadcasting in Nigeria in 1978, the Federal Government directed that the state governments should take over Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation – (NBC) which transformed to Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria in April, 1978.
It is worthy of note that earlier in 1977, the first FM station in Nigeria known simultaneously as METRO FM and Radio Nigeria Two was established in Lagos.
Records show that when the Rivers State Government took over NBC facilities in Port Harcourt, broadcasting in the state was on Amplitude Modulation – AM.
Chief Olu Benebo Fubara was however at the helms of affairs as General Manager of Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation (RSBC) when Radio Rivers launched its signed on June 1, 1978. It is on record that Mambo Tumbowei signed on the station at the time.
On May 2, 1981, RSBC added Radio Rivers Two, as was then known, to its stable.
Today, the station is simply identified as Radio Rivers 99.1 FM while ace broadcaster, Dafini Gogo-Abe signed on the station.
Both the Amplitude Modulation AM and by implication Radio Rivers One and the Frequency Modulation FM commonly called Radio Rivers Two, were used by the state government to create favourable image about Rivers people and indeed the entire geo-political entity called Rivers State.
The establishment of the state FM station on May 2, 1981, provided an added advantage of differentiating the identity of Rivers people from those of other tribes in the defunct Eastern Nigeria. As typical of FM broadcasting, the sound quality of broadcast was clearer as music, news and other public information were received with no encumbrances as was the case with the AM.
Established by Harris Corporation, Radio Rivers FM was the second FM station in Nigeria after Metro FM in Lagos.
Radio Rivers FM also offered leadership and training opportunity to upcoming FM in parts of Niger Delta and beyond.
By May 2, 2014, the FM station of the corporation clocked thirty-three years of FM broadcasting in Nigeria.
Better still, the corporation has won several accolades across the nation and the world.
Evidence abounds that its staff, be they, retired or serving receive worldwide acceptance because of its cutting edge programming, the type that appeals to heterogeneous society as Rivers State.
Over the years, the corporation has produced staff who have distinguished themselves in journalism and public broadcasting and had served the state and nation in various capacities.
Today, even in the face of stiff competition characterised by proliferation of radio station, no radio station covers Rivers State in decent taste, promotes the culture and languages of the state more than Radio Rivers 99.1 FM.
One thing is clear; 33 years of public broadcasting is no mean achievement.
To this effect, the management and staff of the corporation must know that to whom much is given, much is expected.
It must not be distracted from carrying out its primary function of projecting the cultural heritage and languages of Rivers people, its economy and above all give adequate attention to ordinary Rivers people and not only those in public offices.
The Rivers State Government must revisit the sponsorship of foreign training for staff of the corporation as was the case at inception.
It would be recalled that under Chief Olu Fubara as General Manager, staff of the corporation were sent on various training programmes abroad besides training schemes at the local training institutions in Nigeria.
As it is, government must facilitate the procurement of modern broadcasting equipment and ensure that it meets digitization target ahead of deadline.
Since Radio Rivers 99.1 FM has separate management from that of RSTV, it may be pertinent to amend the law establishing the corporation to meet present day realities.
The Rivers State Government should restructure its radio stations for optimal performance as the Federal Government did in 1978.
The State Government and indeed the management of State broadcast outfits must pay particular attention to broadcast in languages.
It does not make sense that a broadcast out bears a local name while its contents depict one in foreign service.
Radio Rivers 99.1 FM, 33 years after, go on and rule the air waves”.
Sika is a staff of Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation (RSBC), Port Harcourt.