I was just coming back from the irritating first round defeat of Helenius to Deontay Wilder very early on Sunday Morning, when I saw a WhatsApp message drop at exactly 5:34am from one of my former students at Primus Media Academy who has grown to become a protege I’ve always been super proud of. It was the second message he was sending that early morning, as he had previously sent a belated birthday wish.
I could have placed a bet that the message was a response to my WhatsApp status update on the victory of the Bronze Bomber, which I just did, but I was wrong. His message was distantly detached from the boxing match. In his words;
“I am so sorry I am disturbing you this early morning. I just really need to talk to someone about my fears sir. I have been having sleepless nights very recently about this life, asking myself questions about how to get a better paying job in this industry. It most likely feels like the Radio sector is the primary/lowest part of the Food chain and I sincerely have a passion and love for what I do but sir my fear is will it sustain a future? I am so bothered and I can’t sleep, I really need to speak to someone sir and I don’t know who to”
The urgency in the tone of his message and depth of his question slapped me back to reality, away from the thrills of the just concluded boxing games in the Barclay’s Stadium. I was super excited to provide answers and possibly allay the very genuine and valid fears of my brother in need, or let me say in distress. As usual, I am committed to telling my proteges the truth, regardless of how bitter it is. So without mincing words, I told him he is unfortunately very right, Radio cannot fund the kind of baby boy life I know he was referring to when he asked if radio can sustain the future. However, I was quick to add that radio can give him the leap he needs if he is truly ambitious and strategic. I deliberately did not tell him radio is capable of earning him an averagely decent life, because I know his desires and I know he truly deserves more than an averagely decent life.
He who shares a proverb in his in-law’s house is duty bound to translate, so I did not bother to wait for any follow up question, I knew instinctively that I have to break down what I just said. I cited some of our revered senior colleagues who have grown to become Proprietors of radio stations as examples for him. I told him only a few practitioners will be lucky or blessed enough to attain this enviable height and even at that it is a known fact that these Practitioners turned Proprietors did not make their hundreds of millions from their radio presentation job. However, they get connected to the source through their radio presentation prowess.
I told my young friend, Radio is all for the passion, the creativity, the fun, the connection to knowledge and to the sources of required resources to fund the ultimate dream. Then I went further to again cite examples of Practitioners who were doing their thing on some of the biggest platforms but shockingly bowed out. In my exact words, “Look at the Tekes, look at Toke Makinwa, GbemiO, Wale Ozolua, they’ve all moved on from radio because they have a bigger dream and they have gotten all the needed recipes from radio” I was compelled to also use myself as an example and explained to him how I’m bidding my time as well, after which I will move on to greater things, very soon.
That being said, I felt the need to attempt proffering solutions to the challenges I’ve identified, so I advised him to explore his area of interest in the media. I encouraged him to explore till he discovers what and where his interest lies. Thereafter, use your radio connect to power your discovery, spice it up with your creativity and let radio be your side gig. When it becomes difficult to combine the two, you log out of radio as a Legend or in the worst case scenario, an icon. I was tempted to end my speech there, for the sake of brevity, but I realize I won’t be helping him if I tell him the dos only, without adding the don’ts.
I said to him, don’t be tempted to jump out of radio now, that may be a good bye to your media career forever. Then I remembered it’s a Sunday morning, so I decided to preach a little, giving him a brief exhortation on the topic; fulfillment.
My definition of fulfillment is succeeding on your own terms. You may succeed in other ventures, but if truly radio is your first love, you may not be very fulfilled, especially when you see your contemporaries in radio that stayed back and won eventually. You know what they say about the top being connected and the same. If you make it big in another industry, and your contemporaries make it big on radio, you will all meet at the top someday somehow. But then, if truly you love radio, you will envy them. And with that short sermon I ended my long response to his short but deep question.
I will have to keep the inferences I made from this discussion till next time, when I hope to glean lessons from it and put the lessons side by side with some recent unpalatable occurrences in the media space. I don’t expect everybody, especially dedicated media Practitioners, who are conservative and decently ambitious to fully agree with my submission to this terrified young man, but my truth is my truth.
I will like to know what you think of our discussion, you can drop your comments in the comment section or reach me via WhatsApp to let me know what you think. Watch out for the second part of this write-up, where I will shed more light on the issue at hand.
Till then, stay jiggy and don’t stop dreaming!
Afouda Samuel Esq.
Kayode Adeniyi Esq. (Afouda Samuel)
Head of School