The last time Southwest Nigeria witnessed a radio program massively popular throughout the region was during the days of the great legends Kola Olawuyi and Gbenga Adeboye, both of blessed memory. Unlike Kola Olawuyi, famous for bizarre scary real-life stories, Gbenga Adeboye was a feel-good presenter and an extraordinary comedian, better known for his comedy albums.
In terms of popularity and influence, I doubt anyone has come close to Kola Olawuyi, not because he was the only one presenting bizarre stories, but because he made them believable and authentic, unlike others who relied more on cut-and-join or cooked stories. Back then, with no social media, whenever it was time for Iriri-aye pelu Kola Olawuyi, the streets of Southwest Nigeria would be deserted, and Kola Olawuyi’s rich voice echoed from different corners of the cities. Radio Nigeria reportedly made a fortune from this single program.
But times have changed, stations have multiplied. For instance, a city like Ibadan now boasts close to 50 functional radio stations, making it almost impossible for a single station to command such an enormous audience. However, recent happenings have taught us never to say never.
Oriyomi Hamzat seems to have cracked that code and replicated that Iriri-aye magic through the clever use of social media. He understood that trying to attain that height with a radio station limited by frequency would be futile, so he turned to social media, and voila, he is making it happen.
With the strategic combination of TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, his program “Kokoro Alate” has gained much followership across Nigeria and beyond, particularly among Nigerians of Southwest extraction in the Diaspora. Kokoro Alate now combines the elements of authenticity and mystery that made Iriri-aye sold out.
Additionally, Oriyomi Hamzat’s content is more relatable, revolving around the family, making it generally relatable. Netizens find humor and comedy in Kokoro Alate, unlike Kola Olawuyi’s content, which was mostly scary, tragic, and spiritual. The humor element of Kokoro Alate made it an instant hit on TikTok and other social media platforms, with tons of influencers using voice extractions from the radio show for their skits. Similarly, the enormous number of online live viewers of his show on Facebook and YouTube attests to its massive popularity.
Fortunately, unlike Kola Olawuyi, who made a bulk of the money for Radio Nigeria, Oriyomi is making money for himself and his station, Agidigbo FM. The station, in less than three years of its existence, has become the most listened-to radio station in Oyo State and, by extension, Southwest Nigeria, excluding Lagos.
So, with all these facts and figures, do you think Alhaji Oriyomi Hamzat is the new Kola Olawuyi?
Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comment section. I would be glad to know what you think!
By Afouda Samuel