From her first job as an announcer at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), to a professor in Broadcasting, Professor Ladi Adamu, a lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has really carved a niche for herself. Adamu who is the first professor of Broadcasting from the North, spoke with CHIKA MEFOR about her job and what has been her driving force.
What does it mean to be a Professor of Broadcasting?
To be a Professor of Broadcasting you must have studied Broadcasting at the foundation level. That means that you have acquired a degree in Mass Communication, specialising in broadcasting. Also, you must have written a lot in the various areas of broadcasting and published same in academic publications, and mainly university-based publications. Furthermore, you must have attended several technical conferences and exhibitions at home and abroad. As well as teaching broadcast related subjects in the university. To be a professor you must have written papers that will pass through five stages of screening at the department, the faculty, the complex, university promotion council and external assessment.
I am the first professor of broadcasting from Northern Nigeria including the FCT, and the only female. It was after my promotion to the Full Chair of Professorship that it became evident that I am the first in that area of specialisation in the region. I am grateful to the Almighty Creator for lifting me to such great heights and my parents for the sound educational foundation.
Why did you choose broadcasting?
At the time I went into broadcasting, it was a new field of study in the university, coupled with my passion for writing. Above all, I was young and full of creative ideas.
Broadcasting means radio and television. Broadcasting also means the study of radio and television. It is a unique area of specialisation in the study of Mass Communication. I can authoritatively say that broadcasting is 80 per cent Mass Communication because of its social impact on the audience.
The study of Broadcasting requires the knowledge of theory and practice. That is to say you must be able to relate theory and technical instructions, as well as the knowledge of the systems of production and their cues and various writing techniques which differ by programme. The script format for news is distinct, from drama, documentary, sports, discussion and programme. Editing the productions require knowledge of the non-linear software. Operating the new digital portable recording devices is a mystery to many. The language of communication in broadcast programmes particularly is present tense (present continuous tense) due to its transient nature. It requires mastery of English.
To be a good broadcaster, you must have the capacity to remember a lot of details, meticulous in handling information sources, meeting deadlines as the medium is time bound. I can authoritatively say there is a dearth of broadcast lecturers in African universities because the requirement is very broad and tasking. Some schools have the equipment but lack the lecturers to carry the students through practicals. Some schools use technicians to impart knowledge but most of them are not well grounded in broadcasting because they are mechanics of the profession and cannot do the job of a dynamic.
In Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, we produce multi-skilled media men and women who report/produce and edit their soundbites/actualities. When it comes to broadcasting, we are pacesetters, way ahead of many universities. This is evident in their performance on attachment as IT students.
What will you count as your achievements in ABU?
I have taught about 20 undergraduate courses and 10 postgraduate courses since my employment in Ahmadu Bello University 21 years ago. I have also supervised several student projects, thesis and dissertations all within my area of specialisation. I have served in several committees and held several academic positions in the university. I was student adviser, admission officer, exam officer both at departmental and faculty levels.
I was the pioneer coordinator of the Ahmadu Bello University studio project which metamorphosed into the ABU FM, a position I held for 10 years imparting knowledge on radio and broadcast. I have students who graduated from the studio working in several stations in Nigeria and some print media organisations. It gives me joy to see them perform what I have taught them in school. Above all, they are excelling in their various fields of endeavour.
In the area of film and television, the department participated in five productions and art exhibitions under my leadership with students of the department. I am happy to say that we won two trophies from the five productions and exhibitions in the area of documentary production.
The first award was in 2006 with the ‘Perching PlagueB’ documentary by Best of the Best (BOBTV) university challenge organised by Amaka Igwe. The second award was in 2011 with ‘The Plasmodium Antidote’ by BOBTV University challenge. This last award was included in the achievements of the university when it was celebrating its Golden Jubilee Anniversary in 2012. In 2018, I was awarded Best Lecturer by the graduating students of the department.
To achieve this fete, you must have had supportive family. What was your growing up like?
My early life began in Lagos where I was born to a military father Adamu Pankshin, of the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers. My mother, Hassana Adamu, was a Home economist and was a catering staff of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna before her retirement. My childhood in Lagos at Base Barracks, Yaba, was very memorable. I actually had a cosmopolitan upbringing amidst people of diverse ethnic background.
I am from Plateau State in the old Pankshin local government area. Most of my life is spent in Kaduna town where I attained my primary and secondary school education. I Attended several Army Children Schools right from nursery to primary six and then to Queen Amina College, Kaduna for secondary education. Most of the teachers were white women, mainly reverend sisters.
For my tertiary education, I attended College of Journalism, Fleet Street, London (now City University London). From United Kingdom, I went to United States of America to Columbia College Hollywood, California and Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles also in California. I finished my Master’s degree at 23 years.
I am fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to go to school early in life and giving me sound educational foundation. My mother was the literary one. She was a good story teller especially at night before going to bed. That made me to study broadcast journalism because I love writing. I used to write poems when I was younger. My first job was with NTA Jos as an announcer, presenter, later as a news editor and reporter.
What are some of the challenges you encounter in your profession?
Every profession has a challenge but I am coping very well. The challenge in the profession is in the area of ICT technological changes. The broadcast profession requires technical knowledge and yearly update. The major challenge is trying to adapt from one new technology to another and travelling to the United Kingdom and United States of America to update that knowledge which costs lots of money in hard currency.
How do you create a balance with work and family?
I am a single working woman without nuclear family responsibilities. I however, have my extended family. Nonetheless, if I find myself as a family woman, I should be able to cope very well.
Your advice for women striving to excel in their profession?
First of all, women should go to school and at the same time have a trade to fall back on. They should be hardworking and committed to work and dedicated. They should also polish their skills regularly by updating their knowledge from time to time.
Similarly, for women aspiring to work in broadcast stations, I advise that they should be ready to work hard, long, strenuous hours. There’s no weekend or public holiday in broadcasting. If they are married, they should organise the home and make sure nothing is lacking in their absence.
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