From the onset, the odds were highly stacked against them but the two Moussalli sisters, Tatiana and Evita were convinced that their novel idea to create a pidgin-language radio station will be a big hit. Those budding days held no roseate future, yet the sisters remained undeterred in their dream.
The rest is history. Today, Wazobia FM has not only survived the stormy winds but has reached a milestone. At a well-attended event recently to mark its 10th anniversary at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island Lagos, the radio station shared its success stories with fans and the media. Most of the inspiring stories came from the OAPs. From D-Wana’s stumble into the profession to Mayowa, a trained architect who has risen to fame through her online comedy skits, each employee rolled out testimonies on how they helped each other and how the radio has provided a platform for them to nurture their creative talents. For instance, Ratata showcased his musical abilities when he delivered a reggae song in an Edo state, while Igos mimicked the different ways radio presenters anchor their shows.
However, a constant name on the lips of the OAPs as they shared their success stories was Yaw whose real names is Steve Onu. As the Head of Presenters, Yaw is responsible for the confidence most of the OAPs exude today, a good trait of leadership. They were also grateful to the management who gave them room to explore their talents.
As the pioneer of a unique style of radio presentation that appeals to grassroots through its pidgin-English language format, Wazobia has grown to become a staple in most homes. It started operation in 2007 and is a sister-station to Cool FM. The station is renowned for its humorous approach to news and topical issues.
“Our main aim at inception was to convey news to the layman in a language that they can easily understand,” said Tatiana Moussalli Nouri, Deputy Group MD of Wazobia FM.
Also in attendance were Amin Mousalli, owner of the radio station and Serge Noujaim, the new Chief Operating Director.
Hosted by Omotunde Adebowale fondly known as Lolo 1 of Wazobia FM, the event was a mixture of comedy and music. Comedians like Funny Bone, MC Abbey and some of the OAPs provided rib-cracking jokes that got the audience laughing out loud. While the jokes carried political undertones, the audience couldn’t help but enjoy the humour side of life.
In its usual tradition, the radio station issued ‘Ogbonge’ Awards to advertising agencies such as Media Reach, Media Perspective, Media Sale and Maxi Media. Regulatory agencies like Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), News Agency Nigeria (NAN) were also recipients of the award.
But the awardees were not the only ones who smiled home. Lucky members of the audience won all-expense paid trips to Dubai courtesy of Satguru Travels. Others also went home with various consolation prizes.