he National Broadcasting Commission plans to extend the family belt hours on terrestrial television by three hours from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
Family belt refers to family viewing hours on television as prescribed by NBC.
Mr Yomi Bolarinwa, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), made this known while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja on plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the commission.
Bolarinwa said the expansion would include morning hours on weekends as part of its efforts to strengthen local content production.
The NBC had in April 2010, prescribed 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. as family belt on terrestrial television and directed all terrestrial television stations to make local content the only menu during the period.
Bolarinwa noted that the commission had in the past 10 years succeeded in boosting the production of indigenous programming through its directive and said that it was committed to doing more.
He said the commission had envisaged that an expansion of the family belt could further develop the local entertainment industry.
``In the past 20 years that we have existed, we have managed to have positive effects on broadcast professionalism on the side of the individual broadcasters as well as on the side of broadcast organisations.
``We have succeeded in making local content the only menu during family viewing times of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.; we are considering the expansion of the family belt to begin from 4 p.m. every day.
``This is part of our strategy to fight cultural imperialism and help strengthen local production in music, film and video to consolidate our gain in helping to develop a vibrant entertainment industry.”
Bolarinwa said the high point of the celebration would be the hosting of the 9th Anniversary of the Biennial Conference of Africa Broadcasters (Africast) in October.
He said the 20th anniversary would be a celebration of the remarkable achievements in the country’s broadcasting industry, coming from government monopoly to an industry characterised by robust private sector participation.
The DG said the commission had licensed a 348 broadcasters made up of 13 Direct-To-Home (DTH), 33 Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS), 123 private radio and television, and 233 public radio and television stations.
According to him, the commission is celebrating the fifth era of self regulation in the broadcast industry with the successful review of the fifth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Bolarinwa said although issues of signal interference and other technical problems in the industry had been minimised, the commission would not relent in building on its achievements.
He said the issues of community broadcasting and successful transition to digital broadcasting would be the major preoccupation of the commission in the years ahead.
In this respect, Bolarinwa said NBC would not rest on its oars until ``the Nigerian television audience gets the best in programming and other services by operators in the industry’’.
He assured Nigerians that the transition to digital broadcasting would be hitch-free as government was working on providing the enabling environment.
Bolarinwa explained that community broadcasting was for real and called on interested parties to approach the commission for details on how to establish one.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NBC was established by Act No 38 of 1992 to license and regulate broadcasting in the country. (NAN)