LBS HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
The history of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) can be traced as far back as the later part of the 1940s when Dr. John B. West set up the first broadcasting facility in the country known as the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation (ELBC).
Dr. West operated the tiny station as a hobby, but ceased operation in the early 1950s when maintenance became expensive.
In 1956, two prominent communication experts, Samuel Watkins and Sewell T. Brewer appropriated an idle 10kilowatt Medium Wave Transmitter of the then National Telecommunication Service and set up an amateur broadcasting station called ELRS.
The mandatory prefix ‘EL’ is the official code assigned to all broadcasting stations in Liberia by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Messrs. Watkins and Brewer sought the programming and production assistance of a veteran Print and Broadcast Journalist, G. Henry Andrews (now deceased). Regrettably, the demands on the tiny station soon outstripped its meager resources.
However, the instant success of the station led to plans for a national radio station and in 1959, negotiations were concluded between the Liberian Government and an overseas company, Rediffusion International Ltd.
Rediffusion International Ltd. was a British Company headquartered in London.
The negotiation was intended for the establishment of a commercial sound broadcasting service renamed ELBC after its predecessor, established by Dr. West in 1956.
The new station was powered by two 10kw Medium and Short Wave Transmitters, whose site was situated in an area known as the ‘Gobachop’ Market Community in Paynesville, suburb of Monrovia.
The studios of the broadcast facility were located in the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street in Central Monrovia, with both the initial ELBC and ELRS formerly housed in the Pavilion.
Under the management of Rediffusion International Ltd., the tiny station was operated in Corner West in the borough of New Kru Town, Bushrod Island, and later moved to PHPP Community, prior to moving its studios to the Pavilion.
Corner West and PHP communities are part of metropolitan Monrovia. Mr. Kim Jackson became the first Station Manager of the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation, under the supervision of Rediffusion International Ltd.
On January 1, 1960, Liberia’s 18th President, William V. S. Tubman, Jr. officially opened ELBC. Due to certain privileges granted the company, the Government was entitled to forty nine percent (49%) of any profit made.
For proper monitoring purpose, ELBC was later relocated from the Centennial Memorial Pavilion to the top floor of the then Bureau of Information, presently the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism building on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
Due to its enormous interest in broadcasting, the Liberian Government later acquired ownership of ELBC and, at the same time, established a television service based on special agreement concluded between it and the overseas company.
Following such transactions, a television studio was set up and management of the newly established ELBC was still being vested in Rediffusion International, Ltd.
As a result of this latest agreement, ELTV, powered by a Paye Cambridge Transmitter, with an effective radiated power of 3kilowatt (kW), went on the air broadcasting on 625 lines, C. C. I. R. channel E6 on January 1, 1964. The General Manager of ELTV at the time was Mr. Hedley Chambers.
Again following successful negotiations, the management of the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation was passed on to the Liberian Government. Mr. G. Henry Andrews, a professional Broadcast and Print Journalist, succeeded the last of the Rediffusion Managers, D. Stuart-Williams, on June 30, 1968.
Mr. Andrews, after receiving his professional Journalism training in the United States of America, remained with ELBC since its establishment in 1960. Additionally and as a result of its vested interest in building a vibrant broadcasting industry in Liberia, the Liberian Government later secured a Japanese Government grant in 1979 and rehabilitated the station’s modern administration and studio building in Paynesville.
It was also in 1979 that color TV was introduced in Liberia. At the time, both the Radio and TV studios were furnished with State-of-the-Art equipment. ELTV was considered one of the modernized, if not the most modernized TV station in West Africa during the 1980s.
The introduction of color TV in the country was part of preparation for the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the ‘African Union (AU) Summit coverage in Monrovia, with its first transmission done from a TV Van.
In the same year, the TV facilities were transferred from MICAT to its current Paynesville official site, using 1kilowatt transmitter installed by the British company, PYE.
On October 10, 1980, following the military coup in Liberia, the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) passed Decree #20, thus establishing the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) as an autonomous public broadcasting agency.
The establishment of LBS follows the repeal of Chapter 87 of Liberia’s Public Authority Law that earlier created the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation (ELBC) in 1971 as a public corporation.
In June of 1985, the Government of Japan, under the 1979 grant, installed Liberia’s first ever educational television broadcasting facility, ‘ELTV Channel 8’. The broadcasting network (LBS), created at the time, incorporated and still incorporates ELBC (the radio component that comprised the FM, AM, MW, & SW stations), ELTV (the TV component), and LRCN (the rural communication network component).
The Management of LBS is determinedly pursuing workable strategies to achieving its desired objectives and goals through the proper driving of its mission and vision as follow:
OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
• Our Mission is to promote the developmental and cultural aspirations of Liberia by leading the country’s broadcast industry through quality programming, whilst engaging in viable commercial activities.
• Our Vision is to make the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) the most authentic, reliable and trustworthy voice of the nation.
• To inform, educate, entertain and communicate national policies and programs, and engage in public and civic services;
• To raise LBS professional and operational standards;
• To enable LBS deliver quality multi-media products and services to the Liberian populace, and to the world at large;
• To enhance Liberia’s socio-economic and political growth, and development through the services we provide.
• To inform, educate and entertain;
• To lead the Media industry in Liberia;
• To provide unhindered access to credible information for promoting socio-economic and political initiatives;
• To improve the image of LBS;
• To expand the radio and television coverage;
• To improve products and services;
• To make LBS financially viable;
• To transform LBS into a modern professional multi-Media conglomerate.