“As a child, I was a talkative. My childhood was talk-talk-talk-talk-talk. I could talk to save my life. As a kid, I used to listen to Jide Adekusibe read the news and I always loved listening to him and somewhere in my mind, I was determined to be like him. But I also wanted to be a pilot but then I soon realized that pilots don’t talk much so I ditched the dream. I just wanted to talk.
When it was time to go for my tertiary education, I applied to UNILAG to study Mass Communication. Back then the cut-off was so tight – the cut off for Mass Communication in UNILAG was 280 something and I had 265. I cried my life out. I begged my dad to help bribe my way to get admission but then, the bribe money was like 200k. My dad refused because he was a pastor so I ended up in Ogun State Polytechnic – the school that has bred almost all the veteran OAPs.
It was during my internship program that I found my way into OGBC2. Even after my internship, I’d go to OGBC2 and watch all the veterans as they did their thing. I’d collect their scripts and tell myself that someday, I’d read the news. Then after my year two, I returned to OGBC2 for my internship, this time I was made the Studio Manager. Being a Studio Manager gave me a chance to observe the OAPs up-close. I began to select the styles I liked, discarded the ones I didn’t and then in 1998, I read the announcement.
Soon, I began a regular voice reading the announcements. The news was a no-go area, it was only for the high and powerful in the industry but reading the announcement was worth looking forward to. I also used to do program parade back then in English and Yoruba. I grew up in the barracks and so my languages were – English and pidgin but OGBC2 taught me to speak Yoruba.
After OGBC2, I moved to Star FM, Lagos. It was the first private station I worked with.
In 2003, I moved to Paramount FM. I was a big time newscaster in Paramount FM – I was the Almighty Jacobs. However, in 2006 I moved to Zuma FM in Abuja. One of the sound engineers at Paramount FM got the contract to set-up Zuma FM and since we were all together, he connected me with the gig so I left my big position at Paramount and went to Zuma FM. But being away from home was no joke. I missed my family sorely, being in Abuja wasn’t easy on me at all. I couldn’t come home as often as I’d love to. I could only come down south maybe once or twice a year. After two years, I came back to Lagos. Interestingly, Star FM still had an interest in me.
I went on a visit to Brilla FM to drop a single on my brother’s behalf when I overhead a conversation between one of the OAPs and a consultant about their lack of news program. He was telling the OAP that all they had was just sport program. It was right there that I offered to take the news program. Just like that. I wasn’t invited into the conversation, I just hijacked it and sold myself to them a news person capable of handling the news desk. This was in 2008. But being the man in charge of news was hectic and I was the only one doing that at Brilla back then.
One big brother – Flexi B – from OGBC2 and Star FM heard me on Brilla FM and reached out. He asked if I could work in Ibadan. I felt Ibadan was local and I didn’t get why I’d leave Lagos and come to Ibadan to work. I was even forming for him sef, I told him that I’d do one year in Ibadan and that would be it. That was how I ended up here at Splash FM. I started out as the news person, then as the night voice and then the Ogas realized that I could make people smile and laugh and I was put in charge of the Drive Time. Then after, I became the content manager. That’s why I am still lean. For me, it’s been a wonderful experience. Today, one year has turned to 10 years.
One funny thing with radio is you try as much as possible not to make mistakes but sometimes, they’re just unavoidable. So, there was a particular morning I was supposed to read the 7am news. It was during the raining season and I had to come to work in the rain. Why didn’t I just stay back? I couldn’t. You know when you work in a radio station, come rain come shine, you have to report in the studio and run your show.
I was beaten so well by the rain and I got to the office drenched. Then I entered the studio and all the air conditioners were on full blast. I was reading the news and my teeth were grinding against one another and it was going on air like that. Even though it wasn’t so obvious like that but for me, I felt so embarrassed. Every now and then, you’ll have embarrassing moments on radio but you learn to overcome them and move on.
You know, one of the things I fear the most is cough and catarrh. It can be embarrassing to cough and be sniffing while on air. Last month, I had a flu and I still had to be on air. In fact, during my show, I was coughing. It is nature and you cannot deny nature. It was serious cough o. That day I did Morning Splash that day and I was still in the studio when they began Tifun-Tedo. My cough entered Tifun-Tedo.
Nobody is perfect but I think because I have created this very playful identity for myself on air, there are things I do that I get away with which a normal OAP will do and will not get away with. When you put up a very formal impression that’s when listeners will hold on to your mistakes big time. On the other hand, give them the ambience that you are all together and familiar, then they’d be more willing to forgive you. That’s why when I’m on air, I relate with my listeners who call in like I know them already and that’s why I can do almost anything and get away with.
My mom is my biggest fan and my biggest critic too. Right from the start of my journey, she’d listen and then whenever I returned home back then, she’d call me aside and critic everything I said on radio. She has a notebook where she’d write my errors. She’s not broadcaster but she is used to the radio, she knows my colleagues and she has seen us all grow so she holds a keen interest. She’s the only one I’m cautious of while on air because one goof, she’ll call and say her mind. She could say: ‘son, you need to be serious’ and I’ll reply that ‘mom, they are paying me not to be serious.
The only time I am serious is when I am reading the news.”