Sabi’u Alhaji Garba[1]

Abstract

            The establishment of the Radio Television Kaduna, known as Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) by the government of the Northern Nigerian Region in 1962, marked the beginning of television broadcasting in Hausa language. Hence, several television stations that were later established in Nigeria, Niger, Ghana and Cameroon began broadcasting in Hausa. This has, in recent years, led to the use of Hausa in satellite television channels broadcasting all-day in Hausa language to the global audiences. The introduction of Hausa language in the satellite television domain can be said to have put to rest the Amezaga’s (2004:6) lamentation, where he observes that languages with dozens of millions of speakers, especially, some 17 substantial African linguistic communities, amongst which are Hausa, Zulu and Xhosa, still have no satellite television channels. He described this development as ‘great imbalance’ existing on global level between some linguistic communities and others regarding their development. Therefore, the presence of Hausa in satellite televisions has, in a way, made it into the list of what Amezaga (2004:6) calls ‘privileged languages’. Privileged, indeed, as Amezaga (2004:5-6) finds out that only 74 languages, out of plethora of world languages numbering about 7,000 (Austin and Sallabank 2011), were used in satellite television channels, world over. Even though, Hausa language can be said to have come late into this league of ‘privileged languages’, as other African languages such as Kiswahili(sic), African, Bantu and Amharic had already made it into the Amezaga’s (2004) list, it has entered into this list with full force, for about 17 satellite television channels presently broadcast in Hausa language. However, Amezaga (2004:5) reports Kiswahili(sic) as having being used in 2 satellite television channels, African in 1,  Bantu in 1 and Amharic in 1. This means that, of all the African languages, with the exception of Arabic, being used in satellite television programming, Hausa language takes the lead.

            This study is set to identify and document all the television stations broadcasting in Hausa. Specifically, the study will list all the television stations using Hausa in their broadcasts, their locations, ownership and the year of establishment. The study argues that, the widespread nature of the Hausa language, its speakership strength and its lingua franca status, have been brain behind its use in the television stations in Nigeria and many West African States for both local and global transmission. The use of Hausa language in these television stations will help in educating Hausa speakers at home and in Diaspora, acquire soft power for Hausa people and keep Hausa language visible in the international arena. Above all, the transmission of their programmes in Hausa language is one way to ensure the survival and preservation of the language and its culture, especially now that all the satellite television channels, including some of the local stations, broadcasting in Hausa have keyed into new media platforms to deliver their programmes.