Babatunde Raji Fashola

The timely information from the station is invaluable, he writes Samuel Omojoye

Since its creation in 2012 during the tenure of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), Lagos Traffic Radio (LTR) has become a reference point for traffic information dissemination in Africa.

It was established to provide traffic information on all modes of transport and travel advice to commuters and motorists inside and outside of Lagos.

In 2015, the station, which started with one director, Israel Ayodele Ogunlade, had veteran broadcaster Olayinka Adagun as its pioneering general manager. Adagun set the pace for an enduring institutional framework that has made LTR the darling of road users in Lagos and beyond.

The change in leadership of the station in 2018 paved the way for the emergence of an experienced and resourceful media professional, Tayo Akanle, as the new helmsman.

Since taking office, Akanle has been at the forefront of strategically positioning the channel to achieve greater impact through creative concepts.

Not surprisingly, residents readily attest to the indispensability of the station’s timely information in planning their daily activities.

In a viral video, one of Lagos Traffic Radio’s popular listeners and CEO of Conrad Clark Plc, Joachim Adenusi, aka Oga Risky, recounted an encounter he had in 2021 during a heavy downpour that left several roads impassable. He said: “It was Traffic Radio that saved the day as we were guided to safer routes. For me it was an incredible experience.”

There are many other testimonies like that of Oga Risky. However, apart from its ability to manage risks, the station also informs the population about government activities in all sectors.

In order to maintain their leadership status, the station’s leadership attaches great importance to staff training and retraining. As such, staff have undergone multiple capacity-building training sessions, both inside and outside the country.

The result is a visible improvement in the quality of the channels and programs presented on Lagos Traffic Radio

In recognition of the renewed attention the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is giving to intermodal transport, the station has expanded the scope of its station’s operations to include live reports from the waterways.

This is to support the government’s vision to encourage more Lagos residents to adopt water transport.

Similarly, the station is also working with the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to create train timetables in preparation for the start of the state government’s Blue and Red Lines

In addition, the station now provides information on flight schedules for local travelers, as well as ship position information about the number of ships calling at the ports.

Another important traffic radio initiative is the inauguration of the motorcycle live update pilot program in September 2020. The idea is that Lagos Traffic Radio will be present at the scene of accidents to provide live updates on the spot.

At the inauguration, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy of Lagos, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, described the initiative as symbolic and an expression of management’s creative thinking.

Lagos Traffic Radio has also switched from initially providing 15-minute intervals for traffic information to 10 minutes. Behind this is the conviction that 15 minutes cannot be longer.

The station also uses technology to increase its listener base. Its online platforms have been consciously revitalized and revamped to make them more active by adopting proven social media strategies coupled with their own initiatives.

The resulting effect was a phenomenal surge in online audiences, growing from about 4,000 likes on Facebook in 2019 to about 70,000 in 2022, while Twitter boasted about 50,000 followers in 2022, up from 15,000 in 2019.

Of course, these platforms have increased the level of interaction and engagement with their audience.

To keep up its social media momentum, mobile apps were deployed, while an official website was also created for the channel to ensure regular interactions with the public.

In addition, the technology of live streaming has also been incorporated into all of the channel’s programs, giving online audiences a new experience as they can now watch their favorite programs and presenters via live videos from the studio.

All of this is streamed across multiple channels to access traffic information and travel advice.

Lagos Traffic Radio has consciously and consistently reflected its mandate to provide traffic information for all modes of transport, while reflecting the state government’s developmental strides and achievements, as most MDAs now capitalize on its popularity.

To further contribute to the realization of Mr. Governor’s development agenda, the station introduced a weekly special report on the TOPIC agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration.

The program has highlighted what has been done, what still needs to be done and Lagosians’ perceptions of the development agenda.

This and other high-quality content aired on the station has seen it grow from about 800,000 daily listeners to about two million in 2022.

Indeed, Lagos Traffic Radio’s transformation is a holistic one, incorporating its on-air content, expanding the capacity of its on-air and off-air personalities, acquiring modern broadcasting equipment, and enhancing the transmitter complex that now represents the cuts through new face of Lagos Traffic Radio.

No doubt LTR has come of age, not only in terms of number of years but also in terms of innovations and achievements. The path can only be smoother in the future and the stories better told if the radio station remains committed to its core values ​​of topicality, reliability, accuracy, dynamism, innovative ability and objectivity.

However, with the station’s track record to date, it’s important to highlight the impact of its robust partnership with agencies such as the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and TRACE, as well as multiple volunteers providing regular traffic updates for the station provide.

In fact, the partnership with these organizations and individuals is partly responsible for the station’s success story.

Has Lagos State achieved what it envisioned? No! Has the radio station made any notable progress? Yes! Do you still have to cover more kilometers? Yes!

No doubt, with the station’s good and humble start, coupled with the relentless support of the Sanwo-Olu administration, Lagos Traffic Radio will continue to break new ground in traffic information management in the state.

I’ll end this piece by sharing a personal experience of how the radio station helped me plan my trip. As a resident of one of Lagos State’s very busy routes – the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway – exactly the day after the inauguration of the Live Updates bikes.

I turned on the transmitter to plan my trip, only to be properly briefed on the heavy traffic in this corridor. That morning I decided to continue my work at home until the street would be clearer.

But then I kept my ears glued to news from the station to keep up with developments down the road. Significantly, Traffic Radio did not disappoint. Within minutes, information came from the station that the coast was now clear. I know most road users across the state feel the same way.

Traffic radio has become an integral part of my daily life. My car’s radio is permanently tuned to the station.

Omojoye writes from Palmgroove, Lagos

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