How to Obtain a Radio/TV Broadcasting License in Nigeria

HOW TO OBTAIN RADIO/TV BROADCASTING LICENSE

by Ayoade Apelegan

The National Broadcasting Commission is the broadcast regulator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The National Broadcasting Commission is a parastatal of the Federal Government of Nigeria established by Section 1 of the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. NII, laws of the Federation, 2004 and vested with the responsibilities of, amongst other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.

Power of the Commission to grant licenses

  1. The Commission shall, in the consideration of an application or a license under this Act, be satisfied that the applicant-
  • is a body corporate registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act or a station owned, established or operated by the Federal, State or local government; [Cap. C20.]
  • can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that he is not applying on behalf of any foreign interest;
  • can comply with the objectives of the National Mass Communication Policy as applies to the electronic media, that is, radio and television;
  • can give an undertaking that the licensed station shall be used to promote national interest, unity and cohesion and that it shall not be used to offend the religious sensibilities or promote ethnicity, sectionalism, hatred and disaffection among the peoples of Nigeria.
  1. The grant of a license by the Commission under this Act shall be subject to availability of broadcast frequencies.
  2. Compliance with the requirements specified in subsection (1) of this section shall not entitle an applicant to the grant of a license but the grant of a license by the Commission shall not be unreasonably withheld.
  3. In determining the grant of a license the Commission shall consider the following, that is-
  4. the structure of shareholding in the broadcasting organization;
  5. the number of shareholding in other media establishments;
  6. the distribution of those stations and establishments as between urban, rural, commercial or other categorization.
  7. It shall be illegal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two of each of the broadcast sectors of transmission. [1999 No. 55.]
  8. Any broadcast station transmitting from Nigeria before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been licensed under this Act and, accordingly, shall be subject to the provisions of this Act.

LICENSE CATEGORIES

Radio Broadcasting License

There are three types of radio broadcast license.

There is the (FM) frequency modulation license, which is for all comers including federal, state, local government, communities and private operators.

MW (Medium Wave) is also referred to as AM (Amplitude Modulation). It has potential for a larger coverage area than FM.

SW- (short wave) is strictly for the federal government and is used for external broadcast, which can go beyond national boundaries. It, therefore, has international implications.

In all license cases, the coverage area is determined by the Commission and stated in each licensee’s license conditions.

TV Broadcasting Licensing

The Commission assigns channels for licenses in VHF and UHF depending on license conditions. Licensee may be allowed to operate a low power transmitter or a high power transmitter. However in all cases, as in radio, the coverage area is predetermined by the Commission, based on applicant’s entries in the application form and availability of channels.

Satellite Broadcasting License

Satellite Broadcasting License is sub-divided for licensing purposes into three categories:

Direct to Home (DTH) Signal Re-transmission license is awarded for re-distribution of broadcast signals using the satellite.

Satellite Broadcast Signal Distribution license is awarded for service of distribution of signals purely to few key users.

Direct Satellite Broadcast license is awarded for services of transmitting via satellite.

PROCEDURE OF OBTAINING A BROADCAST LICENCE

The procedure for obtaining a broadcast license as stipulated by the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap N11, Laws of the Federation 2004 can be divided into three groups.

  1. Free to air Terrestrial Television and FM Radio License.
  2. Satellite Television Broadcasting Services including IPTV, Direct-Satellite Broadcast (DSB), Direct-to-Home (DTH)
  3. Community Radio.

FREE TO AIR TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION AND FM RADIO LICENSE

  1. The applicant shall be a Limited Liability Company registered under the Companies and Allied Matter Act, 1990 with a minimum Share Capital of One Million Naira and one of its objects clauses relating to Broadcasting.

NB: Religious and political organizations are prohibited from consideration for the grant of a broadcast license.

  1. The Applicant shall write a letter addressed to the Director-General of the Commission seeking approval to purchase an application form to apply for a broadcast license indicating the category of License and proposed location (s)

NB: FM Radio is city-based.

  1. Upon approval, the applicant would be directed to purchase an application form at the cost of ₦ 50, 000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira) in bank draft payable to the Commission from any of its Zonal offices across the Country.
  2. The applicant should duly complete the triplicate copies of the application form and return to the Commission with the following:
  3. Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Certified copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association
  5. Engineering design of the system including a feasibility study.
  6. A letter of undertaking per the provisions of Section 9 (1) (d) of the NBC Act.
  7. Letter from its Bankers prepared to give financial guarantees.
  8. The application would be processed and if in conformity with the statutory requirements above, it would be recommended through the Honorable Minister of Information and culture to the President, Commander-in-Chief for the grant of License.
  9. After the grant of License by the President, Commander-in-chief, the Commission would convey a provisional approval for an initial term of five years (subject to renewal), indicating appropriate License fee, coverage area and other terms/conditions.
  10. After payment of License fee in full, appropriate frequencies would be assigned to enable the company to install facilities, invite the Commission to inspect and approve Test transmission as a prelude to Commissioning/full transmission.

NB: The approved transmitter power for an FM Radio license shall be 2Kwatts maximum and mast height above ground level of 250ft maximum.

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SATELLITE TELEVISION SERVICES INCLUDING DIRECT-TO-HOME (DTH), DIRECT SATELLITE BROADCAST (DSB) IPTV AND INTERNET STREAMING.

  1. The applicant shall be a Limited Liability Company registered under the Companies and Allied Matter Act, 1990 with a minimum Share Capital of One Million Naira and one of its objects clauses relating to Broadcasting.

NB: Religious and political organizations are prohibited from consideration for the grant of a broadcast license.

  1. The Applicant shall write a letter addressed to the Director-General of the Commission seeking approval to purchase an application form to apply for a broadcast license indicating the category of License and proposed platform.
  2. Upon approval, the applicant would be directed to purchase an application form at the cost of ₦ 50, 000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira) in bank draft payable to the Commission from any of its Zonal offices across the Country.
  3. The applicant should duly complete the triplicate copies of the application form and return to the Commission with the following:
  4. Certificate of Incorporation
  5. Certified copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association
  6. Engineering design of the system including a feasibility study.
  7. A letter of undertaking per the provisions of Section 9 (1) (d) of the NBC Act.
  8. Letter from its Bankers prepared to give financial guarantees.
  9. The application would be processed and if in conformity with the statutory requirements above, it would be recommended to the Director-General for the grant of License.
  10. After the grant of License, the Commission would convey a provisional approval for an initial term of five years (subject to renewal), indicating appropriate License fee and other terms/conditions.
  11. After payment of License fee in full, the Company would be approved to commence transmission.

COMMUNITY RADIO

     1. The applicant shall be an association registered under part C of the Companies and Allied Matter Act, 1990 as a non for profit (NGO) indicating the proposed location(s)

NB: Religious and political organizations are prohibited from consideration for the grant of a broadcast license.

  1. Upon approval, the applicant would be directed to purchase an application form at the cost of ₦10, 000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira) in bank draft payable to the Commission from any of its Zonal offices across the Country.
  2. The applicant should duly complete the triplicate copies of the application form and return to the Commission with the following:
  3. Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Certified copy of Constitution of the Association
  5. Engineering design of the system including a feasibility study.
  6. A letter of undertaking per the provisions of Section 9 (1) (d) of the NBC Act.
  7. Letter from its Bankers prepared to give financial guarantees.
  8. The application would be processed and if in conformity with the statutory requirements above, it would be recommended through the Honorable Minister of Information and culture to the President, Commander-in-Chief for the grant of a Community Radio License.
  9. After the grant of License by the President, Commander-in-chief, the Commission would convey a provisional approval for an initial term of five years (subject to renewal), indicating appropriate License fee, coverage area and other terms/conditions.
  10. After payment of License fee in full, appropriate frequencies would be assigned to enable the Association install facilities, invite the Commission to inspect and approve Test transmission as a prelude to Commission/full transmission.

NB: The approved transmitter power for a Community Radio shall be 250 watts maximum and mast height above ground level 150ft maximum.

LICENSE FEES SCHEDULE AND RENEWAL

Schedule of License Fees 

After the license is granted, the Company would be required to pay a license fee for an initial term of five years in the first instance, subject to renewal. The license fee for an initial term of five years is as follows:

  1. CATEGORY A: Any location in the FCT, Lagos and Port Harcourt: Radio – ₦20million, Terrestrial TV – ₦15million, Cable – ₦10million.
  2. CATEGORY B: Any location in all other states: Radio – ₦15million, Terrestrial TV – ₦11.25million, Cable – ₦7.5million
  3. Public/Government Stations: ₦5million for 5 years or ₦1million per Television or Radio Channel per annum for 5 years
  4. The renewal fee for Cable – Satellite Television (MMDS):
  • Category A: FCT, LAGOS and PORT HARCOURT = ₦5Million for Five years
  • CATEGORY B: Any location in all other states: ₦4million for 5 years
  1. Direct Broadcast Satellite: (Single Channel): New and Renewal: ₦10million for 5 years.
  2. Direct-to-Home (DTH) (Multichannel) New: ₦25million for 5 years Renewal: ₦50million for 5 years (with effect from May 19, 2005).
  3. Dealer (Wholesaler): ₦120,000.00 per annum
  4. Importer (Wholesaler): ₦120,000.00 per annum
  5. Retailer ₦30,000.00 per annum

Others: % of income: 2½ of income Application form: ₦50,000.00 per set In considering an application for a broadcast license under the NBC Act, the Commission must certify that the applicant: Is a body corporate registered under the Companies and Allied matters Act or a station owned, established or operated by the Federal, State or Local Government can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that he is not applying on behalf of any foreign interest can comply with the objectives of the National Mass Communication Policy as applies to the electronic media, that is radio and television can give an understanding that the licensed station shall be used to promote National interest, unity and cohesion and that it shall not be used to offend the religious sensibilities or promote ethnicity, sectionalism, hatred and disaffection among the people.

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LOCAL PROGRAMME CONTENT

Every licensee is required to adhere to a minimum of 60% local broadcast content for open television and 80% local broadcast content for radio. The cable/satellite retransmission stations are mandated to reflect a minimum of 20% local content in their programming.

PROCEDURE FOR RENEWAL OF LICENSE

An application for the renewal of a license shall be made to the Commission within six months, before the expiration of the license. For the avoidance of doubt, the airwaves are held in trust for the public; therefore, the licensee is accountable to the public through the Commission. Thus a public hearing may be organized, as part of the licensing renewal procedure, for the public assessment of affected broadcast station.

In applying for the renewal of a license, the applicant shall:

  1. Clear all outstanding financial and administrative obligations to the Commission.
  2. It shall submit to the Director-General, NBC, through the Commissions Zonal Director in the area of operation, copies of his application.

The application shall include:

  • A detailed report of the station’s faithfulness to its statements of intent in the original application form for the expiring license, per the second schedule of the NBC Decree No 38 of 1992.
  • A report of its compliance with the following:-
    • The relevant provisions of the 3rd schedule of the NBC Act 38 of 1992 such as submissions of quarterly schedules accompanied by synopses of the programme listed.
    • Keeping of daily station logbooks for transmitted programmes, transmitter output power and radiating frequencies.
    • Making available for inspection by the staff of the Commission, its broadcast facilities including equipment and a station logbook.
    • Other rules and regulations issued from time to time by the NBC statement of accounts for the period under review. Completed application forms for renewal of the license accompanied by a feasibility report for the renewal period sought.

NB: Information is as provided on www.nbc.gov.ng

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