Delta Information Commissioner, Mr. Pat Ukah has blamed protracted epileptic power supply, flood, geographical plain and equipment failure as challenges that have inhibited the transmission of the state owned television and radio station in Asaba, the state capital.
But this protracted state of incapacitation of Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) Asaba, is in clear contrast with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) also located in Asaba that has been transmitting daily since the James Ibori administration, when it was established.
Also, there are a good number of radio stations established across the state, with about four of them located in Asaba, the state capital that have been operating optimally in the last three years.
But the information commissioner lamented in his office in Asaba on Monday that one major problem inhibiting the operations of the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) station is the issue of epileptic power supply, which compelled the station to run their power generating plants at Asaba and Ubulu-Uku at the same time to be able to carry out meaningful transmission.
Ukah said this problem has hindered the optimal performance of the station for many years as virtually all funds raised are plunged back to purchase diesel.
Mr. Ukah stated that this problem would soon be resolved as contracts for the installation of 33KVA dedicated line have been awarded and completed by the government at both stations, and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) is expected to energise them any moment from now.
"At the inception of this Administration, it was observed that the station was bedevilled by so many challenges despite the fact that a contract for the supply and installation of broadcasting equipment for the television and radio arms of DBS, Asaba and Warri, had been awarded and adjudged to be at 85% level of completion.
"A thorough investigation of the challenges faced by the station revealed that the broadcasting antenna was bad and cannot beam signals to Ubulu-Uku effectively from the Asaba office and power supply to the Asaba station was epileptic and totally unreliable while at the Ubulu-Uku Sub-Station, it was totally unavailable for years; in addition to the fact that several equipment supplied to the station in the aforementioned contract were damaged by incessant occurrence of thunder strikes", he explained.
Given these scenarios, Ukah said the government initiated the process of fixing the bad antenna to enable the main station in Asaba, which is said to be located on a valley to beam signals from its studio to the sub-station at Ubulu-Uku sub-station seen to be located on a higher plain for onward transmission.
However, the commissioner said the option of getting a new antenna was difficult not just for the high cost of acquiring it but also for the time frame it takes to produce and supply it, a development that grounded the broadcasting station for over one year.
This challenge, according to Ukah was finally resolved using an air fiber link to the Startimes DTT base from where the signals are picked up at Ubulu-Uku sub-station and re-transmitted to the entire state.
This solution also placed the station on the Startimes digital platform on channel 22 making it possible for individuals with Startimes decoders to receive the station on the digital platform.
He further disclosed that the Okowa administration at its inception found that several equipments supplied to the station in the aforementioned contract had been damaged by incessant occurrence of thunder strikes despite installed thunder arrestors.
"In order to curtail this trend, the government approved and installed new earthing systems to replace the non-functional one in Asaba and another in Ubulu-Uku were non existed. Some of the equipment blown up by lightening were also repaired and put to effective use.
"The government was in the process of resolving the above challenges when the flood disaster of Saturday, 22nd July, 2017 took place and the entire premises of the station, including the offices, the Digital and Production Studios, the Transmission Halls of the Radio and Television arms of the Service were all submerged by the flood. The losses recorded were indeed a great setback to the efforts of government to place the station at an optimal level of broadcasting", he stressed.
He continued: "In resolving the problems created by the flood and restore the station back on air, government had to repair and replace several of the damaged equipment including Transmitter ‘B’ of the radio arm and the two Larcan 5KW Magnum Transmitters of the television arm, adding that to reposition the station for better performance, government recently acquired a new antenna and the installation, which is currently on-going, would be completed in a couple of days.