Osikhena Dirisu is a young, vibrant media personality and the Group Programmes Director (GPD) for the Beat 99.9FM Lagos, 97.9 FM Ibadan, 97.9 FM Abuja and 99.9 FM Port Harcourt. He told ROTIMI IGE, in a recent interview his opinions about his journey so far in the media space, the relevance of radio platforms in the face of internet streaming as a popular option for more individuals, among other topics. Excerpts.
You are a popular media figure. What did you study in school and what are your interests?
I have degrees in law, sociology and anthropology. I love formula 1 and I am intrigued with public policy and governance.
How did your media journey begin?
I started with Rhythm 93.7 FM in Benin, Edo State when I was in my second year in the university and carried on till I graduated. I got posted to Lagos for my NYSC programme and I spent the better part of my service year at Rhythm 93.7 FM, Lagos before moving to the Beat 99.9 FM Lagos in November, 2011.
What has the experience been like, especially practising in Nigeria?
We are actually performing at the highest levels currently and can stand shoulder to shoulder with other media corporations and practise anywhere in the world. The advent of blogging has watered down broadcast and journalism ethics; the need to report information first as well as sensationalise it is affecting the industry. However, the importance of traditional media cannot be overemphasized.
What other projects have you been part of?
I have been a part of numerous media campaigns for brands like Hennessy, Jack Daniels, Skyy Vodka, American Honey, Martell, Budweiser, Nokia, Blackberry to mention a few. I am the co founder of a media and live events company and we have worked on concerts for the likes of Teni, Laycon, Wande Coal and Joe.
You are a management executive at one of the biggest radio media platforms in Nigeria. With the recent influx of investors setting up FM stations, what do you think is responsible for this?
It is occasioned by the right business environment and need to satisfy the audience when it comes to information and entertainment. Lagos alone is a city of 20 million people and there is still space for a lot more radio stations. At the end of the day, it gives the listener an opportunity to be spoiled for choice as to what satisfies their needs. And the success of radio stations under the Megalectrics umbrella is also a huge denominator to this effect.
The challenges with such investment are the hiring of inexperienced hands, as is evident now especially with radio stations outside Lagos.
How has this affected the business, and what, in your opinion, is the solution to dearth of professionalism in the sector…?
It definitely has to do with training and proper recruitment. Anyone believes radio is a walk in the park; it is why we have the decline we are currently experiencing today. The goal is to identify the right talent and properly train them.
Music business in Nigeria, over the years, has evolved and Nigeria is now in the forefront of exporting Afrobeats… What do you foresee for Nigerian music and artistes?
It had been an upward move since the turn of the decade and it is so amazing to see how Afrobeats is currently in global conversations. The goal now is to push other genres of our music and give many of other talented artistes an opportunity to also push out their music. There is penetration of infrastructure to enable digital signal processing (DSPs) reach more people which will, in turn, push the music to reach more people and give our artistes more earning power. It’s upward and onwards from here.
How can upcoming acts tap into the goldmine, seeing that most are left out of the top earnings?
It’s why I say we need infrastructure that would allow penetration for dsps. When we have many streaming and distribution channels, coupled with affordable data and cell phones, a lot will change for better. Also, artistes who make great music can leverage on this and reach more people which in turn, translates into earnings.
Music streaming is becoming popular with how people now consume people’s music. What is the future of radio?
Radio programming provides listeners with music, a source of news entertainment and information, as well as opportunities for interaction via interviews, and talkback programming.
The radio industry has moved into the internet era, broadcasters have seized on the opportunity to launch new local and digital-only stations, which are doing better at attracting listeners so effectively playing in the same space as streaming services. Advertisers, especially in countries like Nigeria, will still use radio as a major platform to reach audiences at a go. Believe it or not broadcast radio is a remarkably resilient means of mass communication
The music industry in Nigeria is not without challenges. Which can you identify and what solutions would you proffer?
Structure! without structure there can be no growth so the only way to harness the amazing opportunities that are abound is to consistently improve on the structural outlook of all the major foundations of the music industry.
How do you relax?
I travel, read, listen to TV without the volume and watch Formula 1.
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