So many people underpay their staff…| Exclusive interview with Inumidun Afonja of Pensioners FM

Hello and you’re welcome to this interesting episode of Primus Media blog interview. Today I’ll be speaking with one of the best OAP in Ibadan, an ace broadcaster and a veteran newscaster and she will be sharing her wealth of experience in the media with us. I have Mrs Inumidun Afonja Adedeji with me today.

You’re welcome to Primus Media blog

My pleasure to be here

Can you give us a brief information about your media background?

Ohh thank you. I started in the broadcast Media as an intern at splash FM in the year 2006, I interned for about 6months. I also worked there as a sub-editor, editor of the news and once a while did some voicing. After that I went to school, I got an opportunity with MITV where I review books. After school I got employed at Space Fm 90.1 as a reporter. The journey of newscasting began at Space FM, here in Ibadan. It gave me an opportunity to anchor some programmes but I was in news department. After three years at Space Fm, I was made the head of news department. Space FM made me realize that I am great at news casting. I worked there for five years. I would give this to the proprietor of space because there were more of young people there but before my time at space FM, I was  at NTA (National Television Authority) Ibadan, where I had a progam for 3 months “slug it out” and it’s hard to have the full privilege to speak to the mic, but space FM made me realise I had a flair for newscasting. My goal was to be one of the top rated newscaster in Africa, I wanted a brand. I got another opportunity with Pensioners FM where I am right now as a newscaster. I do newscasting but I’m more into the News department where I do  editing, reportoire and special reports. One of my mentor is Christiane Amanpour. In Nigeria, I foresee Moji Makanjuola.

Prior to your internship at Splash FM, have you always wanted to be a media practitioner?

As a child, I have always loved to listen to radio and took a cassette to record my voice. I used to look up to Adeola Alagbe, because my first name is Adeola. As a young girl, I wanted to be like her. I had a focus on Journalism and so more like people in the Western world where there’s a school for acting, photography and so on, so I was fortunate to have a degree and post graduate in Journalism. I went for it all because I knew what I want. I would encourage aspiring broadcasters to go for whatever they want and they can always go to a school of journalism and become a trained professional in it. That is why I like Primus Media Academy because it gives aspiring broadcasters a platform to pursue their interests. 

As a lecturer in Primus Media, how much impact do you think the academy have made in the media space in general?

I like the academy because it is dedicated to broadcasting. Apart from FRCN, here in Ibadan, Primus have given people from  different fields a platform to relate with broadcasting, I’ve seen a mathematician come learn about media, Some people have the dream, but do not know how to pursue it. Another unique thing is that its not about prints, unlike school of journalism where the major is on prints media, rather than broadcast. The Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ) requires that for you to be a practitioner you must atleast have a diploma.  The certificate given to students from Primus gives them an opportunity and leverage to become relevant in the media space. 

How did you become so good at your job?

Practice, practice and Focus really helped me. I decided to be myself. I listened to top newscaster and I’m still learning anyways. My mentors gave me the drive but I decided to be myself. Don’t follow your mentor hook, line and sinker so you won’t be like someone else.

Tell us three things that we don’t know about you

I love to sing! If I’m not in the media practise, I would probably be a singer. Another thing people don’t know about me is that I am shy and I can speak French language eloquently. I also love to analyze issues and proffer solutions. I think I’m a shrink!

What is your opinion about the media industry in Ibadan?

While in school I asked myself if I wanted to be like Dele Giwa. Radio was not prominent then but now we have almost 40 radio stations in Ibadan.People are getting to know that media practice is a beautiful one. It has come to stay! It has entertained, informed, educate and given access to people. It has also given a platform for employment and training which Primus Media does.

Would you say media profession is lucrative?

I worked in Ibadan so I would love to give my opinion from the area I have served. I would say most people are now interested in the media and because of the saturation in the industry, broadcasters become underpaid, but if you know your onions well, it becomes lucrative. The media industry is wide, I see my self as a newscaster and I do some other things. As much as people want to have a focus, journalism doesn’t give you one so it is not lucrative. I don’t think there are media organisations that pays their staffs more than three hundred thousand naira whilst in other industries, there are.

What could be responsible for the salary scale of media practitioners?

So many people underpay their staff while some know the worth of their staffs. Many media owners claim they don’t get advertisements and a major challenge for media organisations is power supply, having to run on diesel for hours. This surely would not make most media practitioners break even. There are media organisations who don’t depend on advertisements to survive,for example splash FM has other revenue sources, Alakada, even a hall just to create multiple streams of income for the brand. If I have a media organisation, human resource would be my top priority, instead of the technical resource. I would advise media owners not to depend on advertisements. I forsee the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) work with NBC placing sanctions upon Media Owners. It’s even worse in the prints media, Media practitioners not well paid, brings the advent of “Brown envelope syndrome”  This makes media practitioners want to depend on “brown envelope” since they are not paid adequately. The practice takes alot from you and you should be adequately paid for it. 

Would you agree that the qualities of media practitioners in recent years has declined?

Yes, it has. Professionals have their own brand. It is ethical to look forward to people that know their job well. in the movie industry, if you want Omotola Jalade you’d know how much you’ll pay, if you want someone who’s just coming up, you know the price you’d pay for it. Now that more people are considering the media profession and there are lots of inexperienced people, I would advise that trainings be made important. It’s even worse with the Yoruba broadcasters, because many of them don’t even have a good command of the language, what we have now is more of slangs. They abuse the Yoruba language in the name of slang. “O Se wa lan fani” is a  slang on most radio station now, that word can be removed. Professionals in the past know the ethics of the language. Our real Yoruba language must come back. For Media organisation who could not employ the professionals should do a training and retaining of their staffs. Slangs are for entertainers broadcasters are to inform, educate and entertain the public.

Has the advent of social media influenced broadcasting organisations positively or negatively?

Both. People don’t buy newspaper anymore. Even newspapers have their websites online and gives people access to information. It has also affected mobility. In the past it was too rigid, people collate information in the media house, unlike now when it can be sent via technologies. It has influenced media negatively because everybody is now a Journalist. The media industry has so much been saturated especially for the print media. To place it on percentage, I’d say 60% positive and 40% negative.

What do you think the government should do to improve the media industry?

The welfare of journalists is key. Journalists are the fourth estate of the realm. The welfare of staffs should be looked into. The government should ensure welfare rules, ensure insurance package, make media owners pay their employees. There should also be freedom of press. Federal Government can also support media organisations especially with power supply because media organisations offer social responsibility. The courtesy accorded the judiciary should also be accorded the media

What advice would you give up and coming media practitioners?

I would say they should have a focus and know what they want. Many people join the media just because there are no job. They should strive for professionalism and be humble. Have mentors that can bring the best out of you.  Tolu Adepoju was a mentor I had. Read motivational books, don’t allow Media owners to take you for granted, while you’re being humble, preserve your rights.
Well there you have it. I’ve been speaking with Mrs Inumidun Afonja Adedeji a veteran broadcaster and an excellent newscaster in Ibadan. On behalf of the management of Primus Media blog, we say thank you for coming through. Until next time, my name is Adams Damilare Emmanuel.

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