Established in October 2007, WAZOBIA 95.1 FM, has carved a niche for itself in Nigeria and even abroad as the leading station that takes into cognizance as well as celebrates a language that is acceptable to all, PIDGIN. YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine was at the station, situated on 2A, Etim Inyang Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos a while back and presents to you a rare interview session with all the beautiful and captivating voices behind the microphone at the station. From Yaw to Lolo 1, Kordy to Nedu, Uzo to Igos, Ira to OPJ and Twi-Twi, they all shared their dreams and aspirations, challenges and laurels, fame and much more with us…
‘MY HAPPIEST DAY ON AIR WAS THE DAY FASHOLA’S WIFE CALLED ME’ – STEVE ONU (YAW)
Can we meet Yaw?
My name is Steve Onu. I’m from Awka in Anambra State, but born in Lagos and have been in Lagos since then. I’m the seventh in a family of ten children. I read Theatre Arts at the Lagos State University, Ojo, but have a diploma in Radio/TV and Film Production.
Tell us about your journey into Wazobia FM.
I came with a friend, Bunmi Davies, to see a former employee of this station, Mr. Ibrahim Abubakar. So, he told me that Cool FM was about to start a new radio station and that he would like to see Bunmi because he does comedy. On our way home, I told Bunmi that I wouldn’t mind working with these people o! And he said I should tell Mr. Ibrahim. I asked him if I could bring my CV for freelance employment. But it took me nearly three months to submit one. Because before then, I had never written a CV. Besides, I thought about the standard at which I had to write it and before then, I had always told myself that I didn’t want to work for anyone. All this was in 1997 and since then, I just thank God.
How will you describe your experience working with the station?
It is out of this world. One thing is that, if you have a management that allows you to be you and that is one thing that I have noticed here, you will grow. From my managing director to the general manager that we had before now, Mr. Charles and down to the MD’s daughter, Evita, they all allow you to be you. They give you the opportunity to do what you want to do, because they believe you are the one people are listening to. It is not that we don’t have guiding laws here, but they allow creativity. Yes! Like other companies, you have your ups and downs, but if you are here, they allow you to bring out your best. So, the experience has been awesome and wonderful.
Are there moments you feel like quitting?
Yes! That is normal. You know there are times you feel like I can’t continue with this. Maybe, one or two things happened in the management and it really affected your job or mood. Then, for the fact that you need to wake up very early is not easy. I resume at work every day, aside Saturdays, by 5a.m. So, I have to be on the road as early as 4a.m. You don’t expect me to come on air sleepy! It is not easy at all, but it is well.
So, with all these, what has kept you going?
It is just the love for the people. When you know that people are there happy because you are on air. When all these happen, I’m happy. So, I made a promise to myself that I must strive to always make people happy. So, when I’m thinking of your good and you are also thinking of mine, then I feel good.
Tell us about your most exciting day on air.
They are so many. But the day the wife of the Executive Governor of Lagos, Abimbola Fashola, called me while on air saying “Yaw, I dey listen to you o, I like wetin you dey do and I dey gbadun you”, I was really shocked that day. And I have some crazy callers too who from time to time call me to ginger my swagger.
What about the bad times?
It happened once during my early days in this station. There was a particular day I was supposed to read news, I got into the studio, switched on the mirco-phone, then the script I was supposed to read got missing. I knew I went into the studio with it, but I didn’t know where I dropped it. Then, I began to ask myself, “Where I keep the news”, searching and talking and the microphone was on. And by the time I saw it, that was when I realized that the microphone was on; trust me! I covered up. “Thank God I don see the news, na witch people, na dem wan thief the news comot for here, but shame on them, I don see the news”. But, believe me, when I realized that the microphone was on while I was busy talking to myself and searching, I wanted to faint. Mr. Ibrahim, my boss then, came to the studio, when I saw him, I thought that would be the end of my job, but he smiled at me and gave me thumbs up.
When you got here, what target did you set for yourself?
To be the best and touch lives.
So, would you say you have been able to achieve that?
We are still trying. We are still on the matter. Because, if you say you have achieved it, that means you believe you have arrived and if vice versa, it means you are not trying at all. At least. I have more than 30 awards to show for this.
Of all the presenters here, who do you feel at home most with?
I feel at home mostly with everybody, because I have worked with all of them at one point in time or the other. Apart from Matse, the others worked with me before they had their own air-time.
How do you prepare before you come on air?
Normally, we do what we call ‘show prep’. Some of those things that I would say tomorrow would have been sent today. My major topic might not be a breaking news, so you should have sent it to the management to look at it and make corrections.
How do you cope working seven days in a week?
I work six days, the seventh day is a Saturday and that is when I do my personal stuff like MC for weddings and other engagements. But when you love and enjoy what you do, I don’t think you will complain about how many days you spend doing it. The callers and my partners have been very wonderful and they have kept the fire burning.
What do you think makes a good on-air personality?
It is the ability to be yourself; do things naturally, without trying to form or copy other people. It is the same way we talk while on air that we talk when you meet us one on one.
When can a presenter be described as an achiever?
Don’t forget, you are serving the people and once they say yes, we are standing with you, that is one. I was interviewed by CNN, BCC and Reuters sometime ago, they said they kept hearing my name and that was why they decided to come and interview me. In my mind, I thought I had arrived, but I thought within myself again, am I actually there? Can I go to America, UK today and get recognized? Even in Nigeria, how many states would I go to and get recognition? But as a broadcaster, I believe you can know within yourself if you are there or not.
So, when is Yaw going to be called a father?
Yes! I’m not a father now, but I’m involved. Let us watch and see.
‘FOR ME, EVERYDAY IS A HAPPY DAY’ -Ahanmisi Dorcas Iragbeson (Ira)
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Dorcas Ahanmisi Iragbeson, popularly known as Ira. I’m the first in a family of four, two boys and two girls. I had my primary and secondary education in Lagos and Edo State. I’m a Psychology graduate from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State.
Why did you fall in love with broadcasting?
I like the way people do it. I love music and this signaled my direction.
Tell us about your journey into Wazobia FM.
It was my in-law that told me that Wazobia FM was having an audition. I decided to give it a trial. I did my audition twice and two weeks later, they called me for an interview and I had to come again for like three times before I was employed. It was God all through and I joined in 2009.
So, how has it been since then?
It has been so good and smooth. I go on air on Saturdays and Sundays for my own programme.
Was there a time you thought about throwing in the towel?
Yes! I’m still thinking of other things to do, may be while still working here.
What has kept you going?
Just God. Everything is just in God’s hands.
Tell us about your most exciting moment here.
I can’t even pick one. You know when you go on air and listeners call to tell you how they are enjoying your talk, you will be happy; so, everyday is a happy day.
If a caller tells you something unpleasant while on air, how do you control your mood?
How many callers do you want to hold to ransom? They do that often, so far you don’t know them. How are you going to be angry with somebody you don’t even know? But you don’t have to let it reflect in your word, your flow or emotions.
How many days do you work in a week?
Six days. Monday to Thursday, I’m at work. I am off on Friday; then on Saturday and Sunday, I’m back on air.
Do you see that as some of the reasons people are of the opinion that most female journalists don’t usually find it easy to settle down?
I don’t see it that way. Marriage is a thing of the mind. I have somebody that I’m dating already and I have time for him and he does too. I know that is the general belief about female celebrities or journalists, but that assertion is wrong. We all keep relationships.
What goal did you set for yourself when you got to Wazobia FM?
Good one. The one that will glorify the name of God in my life.
Have you been able to achieve that goal?
Yes! But not all. I’m still striving.
Who do you relate with most among the presenters here?
I enjoy working with all the presenters. We relate like brothers and sisters. I can walk into any office, ‘abuse’ them and just walk out. If I have any issue bothering me, I can discuss it with anybody.
What do you think makes a good on-air personality?
You have to research well to know what you are going to say on air. You need to know your analysis, your synopsis and know how to deal with your audience very well.
‘EVEN MY CHILDREN CALL ME LOLO’ – Omotunde Adebowale David (Lolo 1)
(Cuts in) So, you are a Yoruba woman?
(Laughs) Yes, I’m a Yoruba woman. I’m married with children. I’m a trained lawyer. I finished from Lagos State University. I practiced law profession for about three years before I changed my calling to another thing. I have always wanted to do entertainment through broadcasting.
What made you settle for broadcasting?
In everyone, there is an internal drive that we have. I had been involved in anything entertainment right from my childhood. Even when I was practicing law, I knew there was something more that I was looking for. I like the use of English and information dissemination.
Do you have any regret leaving law for broadcasting?
Never. This is what I love doing. This is the profession that gave me the name and made me rediscover myself.
So, how have you been coping being a mother and a radio presenter?
Everything in life is priority. Great women are achieving greater things. Your home is not a barrier; it is supposed to be a pivot where you can fulfill your dreams and desires. The best thing to do is for you to put your priorities in the right perspective and you can achieve anything. One could be gainfully employed and yet do something. I won’t say it is easy, but I thank God. A lot of women are achieving as mothers.
What is your opinion about the general belief that female journalists don’t normally settle down?
Very funny (laughs). Well, the only reason why we are in the public eye is because of our job. If your home is not settled, it has nothing to do with your job. It has everything to do with you as a person and how you handle situations and issues when they arrive. We have a lot of married broadcasters that are doing great. It has nothing to do with me and my job; I will just allow you to judge me on the basis of what I’m doing.
When did you join Wazobia FM?
This is my seventh year. I didn’t start with them when the station was established.
Are there moments you feel like quitting?
Quit? Every job has its challenges. Nobody would tell you that the days are always smooth. Some are high while some are low. It is a natural rhythm of life. Where there are mountains, there are valleys. So, when challenges come, I face them and hope for better days.
In the past seven years, what has kept you going?
I love what I do and the fact that you have a lot of people that appreciate what you are doing really gives you the strength to go on. A lot of people had been waiting for Wazobia FM. Although we do the same thing every other station does, we bring it to you in the language of the people so that everybody can understand it. I love challenges and this has really helped me to move on.
How do you manage to do so well in a language that is not peculiar to your tribe?
I’m at ease with languages. I think it is a gift from God. If I stay with you for a while, I will be able to pick a bit of your dialect. I tell people that I’m a Yoruba woman by birth, but Nigerian by choice! I don’t want people to see me as a Yoruba woman, but as a nice Nigerian woman.
When you got here years ago, what goal did you set for yourself?
I wanted to be the best. To be on top of my game. I saw it as a challenge and I wanted to surmount every challenge that will come my way.
So, have you been able to realize that?
I bless God. In a short time, I have been able to win about four or five awards. But I have other plans for the future. I have my own show, huge followership; my intelligent quotient is built, I’m an evolving person. Now I’m looking for the next thing to do that will push me up in my career and make me what I want to become in life.
What makes a good on-air personality?
Your personality basically; your delivery. I used to say for some, broadcasting is a natural gift. If you have a good voice, it’s just a start. What goes on in your brain is the next thing because you may have a good voice but lack intelligence. Good voice, charisma. You have to make people feel as if they are seeing the picture. You must be someone that likes to read, teachable, assimilate things that are going on in your environment because, it is what you have that you bring for people to read.
What is your advice to young ladies aspiring to go into broadcasting?
Focus. They should focus because nobody can define your life for you. There are few things that we don’t have control over in life, but you prepare yourself. I believe beauty and brain should go together. Don’t see impossibility for yourself because, there is nothing like that. Because you have not achieved it doesn’t mean it is impossible. If I can do it, then anybody can do it better.
Where will you like to see yourself in the next few years?
I would really love to have my own production company. I want to do movies. I want to sing. I want to act, I want to travel. I want to go round the world to some beautiful places. Umh! Maybe I’m going to buy a boat later on in my life or a yacht and just sail around the world. I’m still nursing the idea of working with the United Nations (UN). I want to do Public Relations or be a movie director.
Tell us more about your family.
I love being a mum. I love my children. I have three kids now, two boys and a girl (Oluwafunmisara). (Oluwamurewa) and (Oluwadarasimi). My husband is an amazing person. If you come to my house you will see that this is a loving family. I’m bringing my children up the best way I can and God has been the basis for our happiness. Even my children call me Lolo sometimes when they want to get something from me. It is not easy, but for years now God has been there for us.
‘ENTERTAINMENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN PART OF ME’ – Ani Chinedu Emmanuel (Nedu)
Can we meet Nedu?
I’m Emmanuel Chinedu Ani. I’m a news presenter on Wazobia FM. I’m a graduate of Accounting from Madonna University, Ihiala, Anambra State. I graduated in 2004. I’m from a family of five children, but we are now two.
You are an Accounting graduate, why did you choose broadcasting?
Entertainment has always been a part of me. At times we lose focus on what we are supposed to do in life. That is why we need to be guided when you are choosing a career. All I thought about is how I’m going to be working in a bank, get big money and it was when I got to 300 level in the university that I knew that Accounting was not what I needed. That I should have gone for Theatre Arts or Mass Communication or something related to entertainment. So, when I was in service, I went to Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) to test my skill and I was given one hour 30 minutes to present on radio. Since then, I have been an on-air personality. I worked in the Northern part of the country for a while before I moved down to Lagos.
Since you got to Wazobia FM, how has the experience been?
Great! It has been a wonderful experience and I’m enjoying every bit of it.
Has there been any time you felt like quitting?
Never. I love my job. I love doing what I’m doing. I love making people happy and laugh. Since I got here in June 2010, the thought of quitting has never come to my mind.
Is there anything in particular that has kept you going?
The people, our listeners. Apart from the fact that I’m a broadcaster, I also write scripts for movies, I sing, dance, act and I’m a motivational speaker and it has really helped me and given me the urge for survival.
Any sad moments since you got here?
Yes, sometimes when I can’t see my stuff or my news items very well, may be through a technical fault or any other drama in the studio and you think the audience will abuse you. But, still they give you compliments because you turn every unpleasant thing to drama. Your feelings at times may affect your moment, but you never allow that to get into the studio.
What are those things you take into cognizance while reading the news in Pidgin English?
You have to make the people see what you are saying and you have to be able to visualize what you are saying. For example, “The Federal Government says the fuel subsidy will be moved by January 2012’. How do you pass the information? You have to break this down to the minimal level a layman can understand in a simple language like Pidgin. If not, how would a tomato seller understand the meaning of fuel subsidy, but with Pidgin, now listen: “The Federal Government don talk say that money we dem dey put on top our fuel money, fuel wey you dey buy, wey go dey make us wey won buy the fuel not to pay too much money, that money, they wan commot am”. Pidgin breaks it down so that every section can actually participate.
Who is a good on-air personality?
You have to be able to connect with your audience very well in every situation and at all times. You have to be able to give them what they want. You have to be able to be in control of everything. You have to be yourself. Give your listeners things that they can be able to relate with.
WITH WAZOBIA, I CAN NOW PAY MY BILLS AND SAVE FOR THE FUTURE’ – Iledia Grandball Omoro Samson (Igos)
Igos is a comedian, a broadcaster, an event manager and production expert. Igos is my on-air name and the initials are from Iledia Grandball Omoro Samson. I was born and bred in Warri, Delta State and I have been in Lagos for over nine years now. I have been into comedy for almost 15 years. I had worked with different radio stations in the past before I joined Wazobia FM. I am a Computer Engineering graduate from the University of Benin (UNIBEN).
Being an engineering graduate, why the love for broadcasting?
Being a broadcaster has been a passion for me. From childhood, I loved being a medical doctor, but you know all the forces behind university admission. I have discovered that whatever you are able to do, do well and learn on it, it’s going to pay your bills.
So, how will you describe the experience so far?
Very wonderful. The best decision I made in 2010 was to join Wazobia FM because I get satisfaction, respect and fame. I can pay my bills and be able to save for the future. What engineering or medicine may not be able to do for me, showbiz and journalism are doing. So, working with people like YAW and Lolo has actually added to my experience.
Are there moments you feel like throwing in the towel?
Yes. We are all human beings. There are times you feel you wake up too early and consider other jobs that are less stressful, but when you think about people that are waiting for words of encouragement, hope and information, your energy comes afresh.
Who is a good on-air personality?
You must have the passion. Develop the art of reading. He must be current. You must have the voice and train it. Listen to other ace broadcasters and learn from them.
What are your goals in this station?
I want to be a force to reckon with. I want people to find solace in me and be secured about information from me.
Why do you think people listen to Wazobia FM?
We are the best. Even CNN confirmed it though research that whenever a tribe wants to learn about other local language, they choose Wazobia. You can listen to us live on the internet. We do it better than other stations when it comes to reaching many homes with our Pidgin English.
What is your unique selling point?
My style. I like being myself. I create issues around who I am and have the ability to arrest the audience.
‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN TOMORROW’ – Opute Pius Junior (OPJ)
Can we meet OPJ?
I am Opute Pius Junior. I’m from Delta, but born and bred in Lagos. I have been a disc jockey (DJ) all my life. Radio presentation is like a secondary job for me. I have spent 36 years as a DJ and that was since 1987. I have done 20 years on radio presentation, spent 16 years with Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) before I joined Wazobia FM and this is my fifth year as a presenter in the station. I was raised in Ajegunle. I am a graduate of The Street University (TSU). That was where I learnt everything. I never attended any tertiary institution.
So, what has been your experience since you got to Wazobia FM?
It is a wonderful experience. Coming to Wazobia was the turning point in my life because it was from this station that I got to know that life is interesting.
Was there any time you felt like quitting?
For now, I’m very sure that there is no station in Africa that can pull me out of Wazobia, even at two or three million naira as salary. If there is one radio station that will pull me out, the station has not be established.
So, what has kept you going?
The passion for the job. I love everything about what I do on air.
Tell us about your most exciting day on air?
To me, every moment I’m on air is exciting. But the day I got Seun Kuti live on my show was one of my most exciting days.
What about the sad moment?
I have not really had one sad moment on air. Everyday has been very exciting.
What were the goals you set for yourself, five years ago when you were joining Wazobia FM?
Honestly, I didn’t set any goal for myself. All I knew was that I’m coming here to work for Wazobia FM. I don’t even set goals because I don’t believe in tomorrow. I’m sure those who set goals are those who believe in tomorrow. I’m a free thinker and a very great one. I don’t believe in religion, prayers. I don’t believe in worships. I don’t believe in any religion that is practiced by mankind, I believe in today and whichever way life goes. In fact, my life is daily.
How have you been coping being an on-air presenter and working as a DJ?
I don’t play actively as a resident DJ for any club again. I stopped active DJ in 2007. What I do now is freelance play, at my convenience and in some clubs that I like.
Among all the presenters in Wazobia FM, who do you enjoy working with most?
I have become a trainer of broadcasters for other stations of Wazobia. So, I have always enjoyed working with all those that have been in the industry like Akas in Port-Harcourt, Expensive in Abuja and now Twi-Twi. I call them my conductors.
What do you think makes a good on-air presenter?
Broadcasters are born, they are not made. The discovery of oneself that you are born a broadcaster is number one. Then, mastering English Language and you must also have a radio voice. If you have a good microphone voice, backed with good English as a language, not as a subject, then you are a good presenter.
You said you never had any tertiary education. So, how come you speak good English?
English to me is a language and when you know a language; that means you know it. I treat English thoroughly as a language and not as a subject. Maybe if you set it as a subject for me in an examination, I might fail it, but if you set it as a language, I’m going to pass.
Why do you think listeners are addicted to you?
I don’t know what is unique about me. My listeners should be able to answer that. Some people say my voice is unique. Even the management said the voice is the material they need. But as for me, I just do my thing as somebody who is not responsible for anything in Nigeria.
Why do you always say you are not responsible?
Yes, I’m not responsible. Those who are responsible are answering various questions in the hands of EFCC and ICPC. So, that is why I say it on air that I’m not responsible.
How will you describe the vision of Wazobia FM?
For now, Wazobia is the best radio platform in this country, although still growing and for many years it would remain the best. We have seen other radio stations that tried to copy our style, but could not continue. The human content is very great. Before a station would surpass us; that means they would have to uproot the like OPJ, Yaw, Lolo from Wazobia.
‘WHY I HATE BEING SERIOUS’ – Ayenowowon Oluwatobi Kenneth (Twi-Twi, Ogbalegbarawe of Every Every)
Can we meet Twi-Twi?
My name is Ayenowowon Oluwatobi Kenneth. I’m from Ilaje in Ondo State. I’m a Computer Engineering graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. I’m from a polygamous family, so that explains why I have brothers and sisters that I can’t even count.
Why the passion for broadcasting?
I never had it in mind one day that I would be on air. While I was in school, I only anchored shows, but not as a standup comedian. In 2009, Expensive (who is now in our Abuja station) introduced me to this radio job and I decided to give it a trial.
Why the name, Twi-Twi?
The name Twi-Twi was an error. Just like they say that the best things in the world are results of errors. Then, in the studio with OPJ and Expensive, a caller asked me to call a text message short code and my pronunciation sounded like ‘Twi-Twi five five’. They thought I was trying to mimic someone, but I wasn’t. So, since December 2010, I started bearing Twi-Twi on air.
Since you got to Wazobia FM, how has the experience been?
Fantastic. It’s been fun and interesting. But being in the public glare, the people expect a lot from you. Another thing is that being on air is more tasking than the way our audience sees it. They think it is all about talking. As I’m talking to you now, I’m not conscious of errors or usage of wrong words, but if I get into the studio, I have to be conscious of all I say, I must not say what will cost me my job.
So, how have you been coping?
Wazobia is different from other stations; they allow you to do crazy things on air. Being crazy is part of me and I love turning things upside down which makes it easy for me to perform well. But it is very tasking because immediately you step out of the studio, you are already thinking of what to do the next day and how to do it better.
Who do you enjoy working with among the presenters?
I enjoy working with OPJ. Before I got here, I used to listen to everybody and I had made up my mind that if I have the opportunity to work in Wazobia, I will like to work with OPJ because I have noticed that we share something in common.
What is that thing?
I hate being serious. I don’t want to take anything in life serious. So, when I discovered that there is somebody who is more unserious than I am, I said then, I have found a partner. I hate being serious because I don’t want to be responsible. I hate responsibilities. We are all unserious, but there are some of us that are more unserious and one of them is OPJ.
What goal did you set for yourself in Wazobia FM?
Yes, every human being has a goal, but mine for now is confidential. But I just have to keep myself relevant.
Why do you think people listen to Twi-Twi on air?
It is just my own ability to listen to people. I have the flair for picking the negative aspect of everything in life and try to see how people can learn from it to make it well.
Where do you see Wazobia in the next three years?
I see us eradicating every other station.
‘FEMI SOWOOLU INSPIRED ME’ – Isiguzo Uzoma (Uzo Ododo Oba)
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Isiguzo Uzoma Margaret. I was born and brought up in Lagos. I’m the fourth child in a family of five children. I attended Ore-Ofe Primary School. My secondary education was in two parts. First, at Apata Memorial High School and the concluding part, at St. Francis Catholic Secondary School. I studied Theatre Arts at the Lagos State University, Ojo campus.
Why did you fall in love with broadcasting?
It all started when I was young. I used to listen to Femi Sowoolu when he was in Rhythm FM. He inspired me greatly. Even the course I did in school really helped me a lot. We did TV and Radio Presentation.
So, how did find your way to Wazobia FM?
It wasn’t easy at all. I did several auditions. I learnt there was an opening then in Wazobia FM, and I came after days of audition. I was called and since then God has been there for me.
Tell us your most exciting day on air.
Every day is always an exciting moment for me. Even when I’m not happy from home, getting here, happiness will come.
Are there times you feel like quitting?
Lai lai! (never). I never nursed or thought about it before. Broadcasting is what I love with a passion.
There is this belief that most female journalists find it difficult to marry. What is your take on that?
I think it is an individual thing. It doesn’t have anything to do with you being a broadcaster or journalist as a whole. It is applicable to other professions. You ask yourself if you are going to get married or not marry at all. Why most people think we female broadcasters don’t want to get married is because we are in the spot light. If you go to other fields, you will not only see single ladies, but single women and mothers.
You are still single. How have you been coping and how are you going to handle that aspect when time comes?
Of course, the guy I’m going to marry will not expect me to be a lazy woman. I don’t want to be a liability to any man I’m going to marry. I think as a woman, you should be able to manage your time very well. Everything is about time management and having a guy that understands my job and we understand ourselves.
When you got here, what goal did you set for yourself?
To be outstanding and make my voice the favourite. A voice that would inspire and entertain you.
Will you say you have achieved your goal?
So far, yes. I have been trying, just like every other person.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work outside?
That means I’m doing a good job. At least, they are not throwing stones at me. Because when they do, you need to have a rethink.
What do you normally do before you come on air?
I do a lot of research; try to get news and gists about events and also on air. That is how I get prepared. Then, when you are on air, a caller might say something that you pick up to discuss or other breaking news.
What makes a good on-air personality?
Apart from your voice quality, another thing is creativity of ideas. You need to carve a niche for yourself and don’t try to be competitive. Always be yourself and be knowledgeable.
As a presenter, when can you call yourself an achiever?
When your listeners are addicted to you, then you are an achiever.
‘I ALMOST QUIT AT SOME POINT’ – ONU CYNTHIA CHIKODINAKA (Kody D Kodynator)
Tell us about your journey into Wazobia FM.
Before, I was an English teacher at St. Gregory’s College in Lagos. I was a friend to YAW on Facebook and one day I saw in his post that they needed newscasters on Wazobia FM. Then, I said to myself that it is an opportunity for me because I can speak good English. I sent in my CV and I was called for audition and was selected.
Did you have dreams of becoming a presenter before?
Like I told you, I studied English and I think broadcasting is a part of communication. I had wanted to study Mass Communication but ended up with English. It has been my dream to be a mass communicator, so it was an opportunity for me to do want I have always wanted to do.
How has the experience been?
Since I joined, the experience has been very interesting; eye opening and you are touching the hearts of people when they feel what you do.
Any challenging moment when you felt like quitting?
Yes, when I came here, I was employed as a news caster, but my intention wasn’t to stay because as a newscaster then, I was resuming at 8.30am and closing at 5.30pm. It became too rigorous for me. I had thought that if I do news, I would be eventually shifted to be handling a programme. Someone now told me that if you are employed for news, there you stay. So, since I was employed in July and August, I made up my mind to go back to my teaching line. But in September, I was told that I had been moved to on-air and that was how I decided to stay and since then I have not had reason to think about leaving again.
What are some of those things that keep you going?
The working condition has been wonderful. The people I work with are so loving. The listeners are very encouraging. Every day when the microphone is on, I’m very excited.
What are some of those qualities that you must possess to succeed as an on-air personality?
You must have the ability to educate and inform your listeners. Being on air is not all about comedy. It doesn’t really matter from which field you are coming from, so long as you have the ability to educate, entertain and inform.
What goal did you set for yourself when you were coming here?
Just to keep getting better and be a household name. I want to be remembered for touching lives.
You are young and single. Why is it difficult for female journalists that are doing so well to settle down?
Really, I’m hearing that for the first time, but if it is time for me to settle down, I will surely do.
How do you feel when people call to tell you unpleasant things?
Haa! That is very funny. You know because of the society we are, a lot of people say things in the opposite. For example, a caller may tell you ‘Kordy, you dey mad, omo yon don craze’ and that could be a compliment. But if I’m criticized, it means you have to go back and check yourself again because all criticisms are not malice. Some are for you to get better.
Who will you say a successful presenter is?
Someone who has been able to successfully bring the three most important aspects of journalism together, that is to inform, educate and entertain.
‘BEING CRAZY IS MY SELLING POINT’ – Lambe Mayowa (Mayolistic Baby, Lipstick)
Can we meet Lipstick?
My name is Lambe Mayowa, I present shows on Nigeria Info. FM and Wazobia FM. I’m the last born in the family of six children, three elder brothers and two elder sisters. I joined Wazobia FM when I learnt they were recruiting. So, I sent a voice note and I was called for interview and another audition and I was employed.
Since then, how has the experience been?
It has been beautiful so far. I’m enjoying it because it is what I love to do and I’m having the fun of my life.
Do you share the opinion that female broadcasters find it difficult to marry?
It depends on the individual and the situation surrounding her. I already had my own relationship before I got here and by God’s grace I will be getting married very soon.
Are you a trained journalist?
I’m going to be very honest with you, I studied Architecture, but I started my career as a television presenter in Kaduna State and I had worked in other stations before I joined Wazobia. But sometimes your passion drives you to do what you didn’t go to school to study. But I’m doing a course now in Broadcasting Management because I believe that I’m doing great as a broadcaster.
How will you describe your relationship with other presenters in the station?
I enjoy working with all of them because they are all wonderful and good in their own different ways. But specifically, Lolo is an inspiration. She takes it upon herself to put you through everything. She is like an icon. OPJ also gives you the liberty to be yourself on the show. So, the family is an amazing one.
Have you ever thought of quitting Wazobia FM?
If you love your job, quitting is the last option that you can take. But there was a time I broke down because I was running a shift from about 3pm to 5am the next morning. That would tell on anybody’s health, but I’m not complaining because I love it and now the stress has reduced and I’m enjoying my job.
So, how did you handle the situation then?
I took my time to explain it to few of my colleagues and some of them helped me out till I got a steady shift.
What were the goals you set for yourself when you joined Wazobia FM?
I just started a couple of years ago, but in the next one year, something good that would favour me, the company and every one of us will definitely come up.
Apart from being a radio presenter, do you do any other thing?
Yes, I anchor shows. I’m a fashion consultant and actually own a fashion label, but not out now.
How would you describe a good on-air personality?
Someone that his/her personal life actually reflects on radio. If you like what you do, it reflects in your show, business and anything you do. So, a good on-air personality must love what he does, because people relate with things you like more than what you are forced to do. You must be able to carry your listeners along with your mood on air.
What is your selling point?
I am myself on my show. The way I present with OPJ is the way I live my life normally. I could be a bit crazy, that is allowed in the entertainment industry. So, naturally, I’m a very crazy person. It reflects in my job and that is good. I relate with different people outside my shows and it reflects on my show.
Why do you think Wazobia FM is the station to beat in Nigeria?
Because it is a station everybody can relate with. It’s a relaxing station; you don’t have to be worried about speaking English. Pidgin English is a household language and we are doing well in it.
If you leave Wazobia FM today, where else will you like to work?
If I leave today, which I don’t think I would in a very long time, because it has become a part of me. But if I do, just me, I’m going to be retiring. Even if I’m no more a presenter, I would still love to be an editor or an instructor here.
NB: First published July 2014