STUDIO

By Adedayo Oderinu

I have keenly followed the conversations around the ongoing radio transfer window in Ibadan and it has prompted me to pen this article, one that I should have written a long time before today.

 

A Yoruba adage (paraphrased) says “Sometimes, there is time, but you do not have anything to say; sometimes, you have something to say, but you do not have time”. Today, aaye wa, oro naa de tun wa (I have a couple of things to say and I have time to say them).

 

Note that this piece is not a targeted attack on anyone, but a general assessment of the radio industry and the realities therein.

 

Let us delve into three critical issues.

 

POOR REMUNERATION

 

I say with confidence that the average OAP in Nigeria today is broke. Aside from his direct salary being ridiculously low, he also has to put in a whole lot of costly work to earn any extra kobo by the side.

 

Most OAPs you know earn far less than 150,000 in direct salaries. There are popular OAPs who earn less than 70,000, yet you think they are rolling in money.

 

For all the popularity and pomp that follow their names, most OAPs cannot survive two months without actively working. To add some more clarity, the average OAP in Nigeria today cannot finance personal medical care that goes beyond malaria.

 

It will also interest you to know that 80% of the OAPs you know cannot afford to buy cars or build houses with what they earn. We are aware of big names in the industry who bought cars on credit and almost ran into messy scandals because they could not pay on time. Stories abound.

 

Poor finances are why OAPs (broadcasters) began belittling the prestige of their profession by hustling brown envelopes and condescending gifts. This is why most OAPs have become ‘boys’ to people who should shiver at the mention of their names. Poor remuneration is also why most OAPs cannot survive a year without organizing events that they can use to raise money from their fans.

 

Poor remuneration is an issue across the media industry, in reality. There are Newspaper correspondents who earn #1,500 per published story. Oh yes! Find out from your friends in the media industry.

 

To make matters worse, salary reviews within the radio industry can be as far apart as six whole years! So, an OAP walks into a radio job while he is a bachelor, gets married in-between and starts building a family, but will continue the same salary on which he lived a near-poverty life, even as a Bachelor.

 

His only solution to earning more is to move frequently. Say he earns #50,000 in A-FM, he either waits 6 years for a salary raise or moves to B-FM and negotiates a higher pay with his years of experience and record in the industry.

 

This is why loyalty to a station is not in the dictionary of an average OAP. He wants to grow financially, but that is rarely in the thoughts of his employer.

 

LACK OF FREE TIME

 

The general idea of radio employers is that their OAPs have side hustles which they can use their radio brands to promote. But, where is the time though?

 

An OAP who airs well-researched content is already spending the bulk of his time on content research. By the time he finishes his task for the day, to be ready for the next, he is finished physically and mentally.

 

For some, their schedule of work is so thick that there is rarely any space left to even sleep. This explains to you why many OAPs are on drugs and other such performance enhancers. If he/she is not smoking, he is drinking…some are on illegal substances…just to keep the grind going! Ask them nicely, and they will tell you.

 

Some of your OAP friends are ‘four-men’ in their places of work, combining several distinct roles. Do not say they should not have accepted such multiple responsibilities until you have worked in an industry for which you have so much passion and will not mind filling in the gaps so that work can progress.

 

Poverty is what happens when you earn a poor wage and have little to no time left to pursue other sources of income.

 

A BLEAK FUTURE

 

One reason OAPs should earn very high wages is the short-lived relevance that an OAP enjoys in the industry. Footballers, for example, earn so much money because their relevance in the profession is very short-lived. Within the short period that they are relevant, they earn so much to be able to plan a proper future for themselves beyond the game. This should rightly be the case for OAPs, but unfortunately, it is not.

 

For starters, media employers consider OAPs easily expendable. If a new kid comes on the block with more talent than an already established OAP, the Stations are quick to discard the old guy, just like in football. It is quite difficult for an OAP to remain relevant for up to 20 years. Some expire at 10 years of relevance. We imagine for a second that if he saves all of the peanuts he earns in say, 15 years, he still would not have saved enough money to give himself an average life post-relevance.

 

I met a veteran very recently whose advice to me was to get my hands into more profitable ventures outside of broadcasting, to safeguard my future. He did not know that I was already taking care of that side of my life very carefully, but his advice touched me in very deep places. According to him, almost thirty years in the industry and he still cannot conveniently withdraw two million from anywhere. He said, “Dayo, move on as soon as you can, this industry promises you no future.”

 

That’s clear enough.

 

Remember what I told you about OAPs being unable to manage medical care beyond malaria? Imagine age-related ailments? That will be the very end.

 

_________

 

So, what is the OAP’s solution to self-preservation?

 

Timed loyalty is one. Stay with a platform for as long as your financial realities can allow you. When you need more, move on, the transfer window is always open.

 

Strict insistence on favourable work conditions is another. Take on only the tasks that allow you to have a life that the radio industry will gleefully rid you of if you do not look after yourself.

 

Planning your exit is also part of the solution. From the day you become relevant in the industry, deliberately plan your exit. In being deliberate, you intentionally put necessary resources together to guarantee a great life for you after your exit. Those resources will include money, bankable knowledge, human network, etc.

 

Ultimately, define what growth means to you so that you do not get lost in the euphoria of “a n gbadun yin”.

 

May Olodumare give all of us wisdom to make the best of our talents.

 

__

Adedayo Oderinu

Head of Current Affairs

Rave 91.7FM/Western Spring Television

Osogbo.

 

 

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