Afolabi Jolaoluwa popularly known as “Jabulani Omo Emir”, who emerged the 2019 On Air Personality in Nigeria is one of the leading radio voice in the Southwest and North-Central Nigeria. In this interview with selected journalist, the award winning presenter shed light on his rumoured recent engagement with the Kwara State owned Midland FM among other sundry issues. Excerpts
How true are rumours that you were recently appointed as the General Manager of Radio Kwara ?
When I started hearing the rumours, I was surprised and amused, because nothing of such happened, I was not appointed General Manager of Radio Kwara or any Radio Station, not in Kwara State, not in anywhere in Nigeria.
Like we all know, I resigned my job as the Head of Programmes of SOBI 101.9FM last year, after due consultations with my partners and we desired to focus on building our media consultancy firm, which specialises in Public Relations, Training of award winning On Air Personalities, Voice coaching, jingle, music and documentary production, programmes packaging and Station management among others.
So that is what I have been preoccupied with ever since I left SOBI 101.9FM.
You were alleged to have left SOBI FM under controversial circumstances involving financial misappropriation (cuts in)
SOBI 101.9 FM is my family, I have utmost respect for the owner and the management, probably if not for them, I wouldn’t be an household name in Kwara state and environs today, so I have utmost respect for the owner, management and the entire Staff of SOBI 101.9FM that made my 2 years stay as an employee there worthwhile. Those 2 years is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable of my professional life spanning more than 2 decades.
On the allegations of leaving on a monetary controversial note, I can tell you it is nothing but a figment of the imagination of my traducers who will always want to make issues out of none.
I was already a brand in the entirety of South West, before I came down to Kwara, I resigned from Radio Nigeria, Lagos – Bond FM to join SOBI FM, it wasn’t because I wasn’t treated well at Bond FM, it was because i wanted to face new challenges and conquer new territories, SOBI FM offered me that opportunity and I grabbed it with both arms, I am still grateful for the opportunity till date.
I resigned without issues with anybody and that is why I have continued several sponsored programmes on SOBI FM till date, the only thing that has changed is I am no longer an employee of the station outside that, nothing has changed with regards my relationship with the owner, the management and the staff of the station.
Going back to the issue of Radio Kwara, what is your involvement with the station ?
You see, when I left SOBI FM, I and my partners concentrated on our consultancy firm, we were doing jobs across the Southwest and North Central.
As you all know, I’m involved in the projection of the Otoge government as one of its major publicist especially on radio, that has taken me to virtually all radio stations in the State.
It was while doing that job that I was exposed first hand to the untapped potentials of the State owned FM station (Midland FM).
My firm conducted a research on the market viability of the station taking into cognisance, the pioneering history behind it, the resources; both human and capital not forgetting the goodwill at its disposal.
We then concluded that with the right repackaging, it will be able to give the wave making privately owned stations in the State and region a run for their money.
We came up with a proposal and sent it to the government, who was just coming onboard, after some months we were invited to shed light on our proposal after which our company was appointed as a consultant for the FM arm of the radio station.
Can you shed more light on what the consultancy agreement entails ?
While I wouldn’t want to delve into the contractual agreement due to obvious reasons, all I can say is we’ve been given a mandate to turnaround the radio station, make it competitive and profitable again.
Like we all know, programming or programmes is the hallmark of any broadcast outfit, after a thorough market research conducted by renowned media marketers and nationally acclaimed content producers, we have concluded to switching the programme of the station to meet the yearnings of the Kwara market and Kwarans across the globe.
Work is at an advanced stage to totally transform the morning belt (5am – 12pm) programme content of the station to be more competitive and unique. If we must make Midland FM profitable again, then we must be ready to compete favourably and make optimum use of our advantages to get the share of the highly lucrative Kwara morning belt.
Our consultancy job is just restricted to the morning belt, which in all sincerity is the money spinner of all radio stations across the Country, so with the right programming and human resources, Midland FM will be the darling of all in no distant time.
Talking about making radio Kwara the darling of all, how do you intend to penetrate and break the market, knowing that according to ranking based on listeners, Midland FM is ranked no 5 ?
Like i said earlier, we conducted a 4 weeks long research where we did comparative content analysis, administered questionnaires randomly to selected affectionate radio listeners among others, so we are coming onboard armed with data on what the people want, the reason for radio selection among others and I can assure you, Midland FM will provide an incomparable market friendly content that will make it the first choice station in the State soonest.
We will not be relying solely on the Kwara based audience, we are also going digital in compliance with the computer age to enable listenership from any part of the globe.
During our research, it was discovered Midland FM wasn’t internet compliant and that was a very key and lucrative market left untapped, as part of our package, we’ve procured a world class App for the radio station and it is now available for download on google play store, that will enable people to listen to our station from across the globe.
Also, we’ve just developed a website for Midland FM which until now was absent, so I can assure you, making Midland FM profitable is not a rocket science.
We’ve also embarked on massive rebranding of Midland FM, we will be rolling out fliers, stickers, branded shirts and other souvenirs in the next few days.
One of the major bane of media houses especially in democracy is ownership, aren’t you scared ownership will be a major clog ?
Like I said earlier, our research already took care of all these fears, in all sincerity, ownership is a constraint, rather than being weighed down by that, we’ve turned it into our major strength.
I can assure you our programme content will appeal to people across divide, everybody will have opportunities of being heard, we’re simply out to give the listeners the best and that will be our driving spirit.
Listeners is the lifeline of any radio station, any station that fails to serve its listeners what they want will be unable to favourably compete in the market.
While not wanting to blow our own trumpet, all I can assure you is that, in the next few months, Midland FM will be the station to beat in Kwara State and environs.
How has the Staff received the new arrangement ?
As it is normal for everybody seeing a relatively new face entering your terrain, it will be natural to be suspicious and in this case, knowing that Midland FM is run by civil servants, it is only natural they will want to resist an attempt aimed at introducing an outsider to their terrain.
This is a job we’ve done in more than 3 radio stations, so we’re used to the fear and suspicion, which often times are driven by fear of asset stripping, job loss, victimisation of staff, poor welfare among others.
So when our team and the management of the station met courtesy of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, they expressed the expected fears and showed resistance.
We’re however getting to understand each other better and seeing that our goal congruence is Midland FM, which we must all strive to protect.
I can assure you that majority of the human resources at the station are core professionals, they have what it takes to drive the station to the next level with the right packaging, so our firm will be partnering them towards ensuring we all win together.
The only thing our firm is bringing onboard outside the programming which must be market dictated and driven is the private sector mentality of profit maximization.
The revenue drive of the station will be increased while not jeopardising the primary responsibility of serving the information and entertainment needs of Kwara and Kwarans. Improve revenue will definitely signal improved welfare packages for the staff which will be KPI based and that would go a long way in engendering positive performance rivalry.