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Radio Nigeria 2, also very popularly known as RN 2, Radio 2, or the Sunshine Station, was a popular radio station in the late 70s and 80s. The millennial generation can hardly be expected to remember or know of it now, but older generations probably think of it fondly. It was the first radio station to broadcast on an FM frequency in Nigeria, and for many years it was a breeding ground for some of the greatest and most talented personalities in the history of radio broadcasting in Nigeria.

Radio Nigeria 2 broadcasted for the first time in 1977, from the Voice of Nigeria broadcasting house in Ikoyi, Lagos. It was built from the ground up on principles of excellence under the guiding hand of the late Ikenna Ndaguba, an icon in Nigeria’s broadcasting history. Ikenna Ndaguba led the introduction of Radio Nigeria 2 in 1977, and his influence developed bright and dedicated employees who worked hard on producing memorable content like the programs Pop Round The World, I Beg Una, Sunshine Choice, and the Martins Street Special.

The celebrated music critic, Benson Idonijie, and his close friend Tony Ibegbuna, a pioneer disc jockey popularly known as ‘Tony 1’, are just two of the unforgettable veterans from Radio Nigeria 2. On Saturday nights they broadcasted live to the people from nightclubs like the Island Club, The Miliki Spot and Caban Bamboo. Tony Ibegbuna retired in 1999 and died in 2009, but he was a large presence in his time on Radio Nigeria 2. He presented the Top 10 countdown as well as many of the early morning programmes in the 80’s, and he was a favorite of advertising agencies who loved to use his deep baritone voice on jingles and voice-overs.

Many directors in private broadcast stations today are products of Radio Nigeria 2. The Sunshine Station was home to great voices like late Ladi Lawal, Ndidi Osaka, Frank Oshodi, Phil Ushie, Femi Jarret, Godwin Asuquo, Wilson Akpabio, S.T Tiamiyu and Alaoma Nwaogbe. Radio Nigeria 2, now Metro 97.7 FM, was created as a subsidiary of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).

A Quick History of Radio Nigeria

Before independence, broadcasting in Nigeria was limited to British-owned ‘wired to wireless’ systems of distributing radio programs. The first distribution station was set up in Lagos in 1935, but broadcasting was restricted to programs from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) with little to no local content for many years. In 1937, a body called the Plymouth Committee released a report that recommended the development of broadcasting in African colonies. A BBC team was sent to West Africa to investigate broadcasting possibilities. Just before the team arrived in Nigeria, a Nigerian broadcasting station was quickly built, perhaps to have something to present to these investigators, and the station was called Radio Nigeria.

The BBC report ranked the state of Nigerian broadcasting (based on what they had seen at Radio Nigeria) as the most retarded in development of all the African colonies it had surveyed. In response, the British Parliament passed a Colonial Development and Welfare Act (CDW) in 1949 aimed at developing a plan for national and regional broadcasting in Nigeria. The Parliament and the colonial government provided funding, and two BBC employees – T.W Chalmers and J.W Murray, were brought to Nigeria to develop a plan. The plan was created and accepted, and in 1951 the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) was born. The NBS took over from Radio Nigeria, and Radio Nigeria ceased operations.

The NBS cycled through many issues ranging from financial and technical difficulties to employee training and political agitation. A major change came to the NBS after one especially uncomfortable incident involving a speech by Governor General John Macpherson about the Action Group (AG). When Chief Obafemi Awolowo wasn’t given time on air to respond to Macpherson, the Nigerian press began to pressure the colonial government for a broadcasting system outside of colonial control. The pressure bore fruit in 1977 when the NBS, a government-operated institution, became the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), a government-chartered institution.

In 1978, the NBC became the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).


Daily Trust

The Nigerian Voice

Legit NG

Radio Nigeria

Featured image source: African Union Of Broadcasting

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This article was first published on 6th September 2019


Tochi Onwubiko is a 'Jack' of many trades. A designer, book editor, lawyer and happy freelance writer. She enjoys drinking tea, sitting in quiet spaces, and reading thick books. She hopes to publish books one day. She also loves a good house party. If you know about any good books or parties, leave a comment on one of her posts.

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