Africa Independent Television in America

This is private (well, maybe not) suggestion to handlers of AIT from my 3 years or so, experience watching the station in the USA. I know you guys are doing a GOOD JOB but hope you pay attention to some grey areas I think need improvement.

To start with, the idea of broadcasting a different version of AIT to international audience I think is wrong. People like me rushed to sign up for Globecast when AIT first came to the US because, I could tune on to the same feed being shown in Lagos. The feeling is beyond just watching TV. It’s a unique emotional attachment to home. And I loved it so much.

The disturbing thing about separating the signals is that we’re condemned to watching so many junk that your programme planners feel is suitable for international audience. One case in reference is this nauseating sports documentary that must have being repeated up to two hundred times. What should be noted is that no US or UK viewer will tune to AIT just to watch some obsolete one hour documentary about extreme sports. I’ll rather be tuned to ESPN, SKY or FOX Sport. Moreso, the guys in the control room never seem to get the right setting audio on this programme. The background music is always bouncing. I’m sure your viewers won’t mind a one hour musical video in place of this programme.

Since I already mentioned them, let me say something else about your transmission control guys. The practice during the overnight hours (Nigerian time) fall short of professional standards. For example, I’ve had to watch two nights of NTA news back to back during the same broadcast because the transmission director forgot to pause the tape allowing it to roll into the previous day’s recording. This would have been excusable if it had not become a regular occurrence. You see programmes sometimes running into blank signals for upward of thirty minutes giving the impression that there’s nobody in the master control room. One thing to remember here is that overnight belt in Nigeria is primetime in the US and some other parts of the world.

The other day, I was watching a very good interview featuring Jerry Rawlins with a friend of mine with the Houston Chronicles Newspaper and we had to strain our ears to hear this interview because the control room guys were previewing a Yoruba movie and the audio was filtering into the Jerry Rawlins interview broadcast. And this lasted almost the length of the interview. I felt so ashamed and I called the station but of course no one would let me speak with Tosin Dokpesi about this. This happened some years back, but I still remember the embarrassment like yesterday and similar flaws still happen even today.

Let me quickly say something about sports telecast. If AIT can get it acts right about broadcasting major sports event, it would hit a goldmine in its subscription rate. Let me put it this way. I get calls during major football events from friends who want to know if AIT would be broadcasting the matches. I can feel their frustrations when I say NO. Convincing people like this to sign up for AIT will be a tough task.

Now let me commend your good works. The movies have greatly improved. Same for the musical videos. It seems some have finally identified these two fields as the strength of the station if it is to appeal to foreign audience. Same effort should be deployed towards ensuring that major sport events are shown live on your station. And please cut down on documentaries about wild life, marine life and extreme sports. You can fill the time with music. Your viewers will love it.

One more thing, even though your news telecasts are pre-taped, maybe we can put some life into them by feeling up the breaks with programme promos or government campaigns since I understand that the ads have to be taken out. But if you ask me, a lot of product ads in Nigeria are meaningless outside the shores of Nigeria and leaving them to run within your broadcasts will not hurt considering that it may help to add some life to your signals which seems a little too static. I may be wrong, but this is what I feel.

Written by
Tunde Akinloye
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9 comments
  • Currently, i don’t have AIT. I don’t even know how to sign up I am in New jersey, The market i am in is been serve by Comcast dish network and Verizon FIOS. I am currently on Verizon FIOS. If I can get AIT on any of the other station I will switch and pay early termination fees.

    However, I am not interested in International audience programming. I am interested in Local Lagos programming and i am interested in the quality of service brand i associated with AIT when I left Nigeria in 2008

  • I was going to signup within my dishnetwork for AIT but not gonna be doing that any time soon with this your excellent report. Thanks.