Stories by Raheem Akingbolu
Long before the globalisation buzz became a trend, media, especially broadcasting has always explored the world. Like James Bond, the world is simply ‘not enough.’ So, the ambition of an average broadcasting station is to be heard globally. That is why the dream and achievement of Megalectrics Limited, the operators of The Beat 99.7FM, Classic FM 97.3 and the pidgin-speaking Naija FM 102.7,endear patrons.
For the 8-year old media organisation, one continent is not enough; Megalectrics is set to once again shake up the Afrocentric music, news and entertainment sphere with its latest venture – TheBeat 103.6 FM London, and Lagos Talks.
This month, precisely on March 28, the launch of Megalectrics’ foray into Europe, will kick off with an unveiling party. At the same time, The Beat 103.6FM London will go live, projecting London street music, Hip hop, as well as Nigerian/African Music and Caribbean Music.
Megalectrics has always shown confidence in targeting its demographics and sources familiar with the London deal reveal that the company struck with its legendary swiftness, taking over the management and operations of an already-established BangFM 103.6, a North London radio station. The Beat 103.6FM London is therefore poised to hit the ground running, conquer the airwaves and titillate the eardrums of a wider demographic. The company’s General Manager, Deji Awokoya, told journalists in Lagos that the London move was strategic:
“This was by no means a hostile takeover, but a long-considered, calculated move because our aim is to globalize local talent. Already, BangFM is a fixture in the Afro-Caribbean entertainment industry, with close collaborations with radio stations and media in Nigeria; it even has Nigerians in its OAP-mix,” he said.
Indeed, stars such as Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay, music producer Maleek Berry, Falz and May7ven have so far graced its popular Afrohits show, which also featured other African and Caribbean celebrities.
Awokoya further added that this was also catalyzed by the changing dynamics of the UK radio industry.
Zeroing in, spreading out
On a closer look of its operations, it appears the company’s staying power is encapsulated by one word: “niche.”
Megalectrics entered the Media Industry in 2007, when its Chie Executive Officer, Chris Ubosi left his top management role at Cool FM to begin what has now transpired into the revolution of independent radio broadcasting in Nigeria.
Ubosi, who has gotten over two decades in broadcast and communications experience, maintains that Megalectrics is deliberately catering to specific audiences.
“You have to zero in on your target. You cannot be everything to everybody. That’s what we have done. We created Classic FM for the older listeners, The Beat FM for younger demography and Naija FM as a common denominator and a celebration of pidgin English and local dialect”
This technique seems to be winning on all fronts. Just six months into its operations, two of its presenters were up for awards, while Classic FM continues to convert much younger listener-ears.“Our core audience is aged over 35 and over 40 years but surprisingly, we find that about a fifth of our callers and people who mail us are aged 20-something years old. These people often say they remember that their fathers used to play the songs we air,” he stated.
The media station has also continued to reap the benefits off-air, as listeners exhibit a personal connection with its brands. For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a man famously proposed to his girlfriend on-air, during a show anchored by The Beat FM presenter Toolz, while a young man turned up at the Classic FM studios with his late father’s vintage records, bequeathing them to the station to show his appreciation for playing the music his father loved.
In the same vein, it stands out for its ability to match the variety in its content-delivery with variety in geographical terms. It purposely created Naija FM, and located the Pidgin Language station in Lagos and Ibadan, to serve unreached territories and clients in Southwest Nigeria.
The same reasoning has clearly pushed its Easter 2016 entry into London, as well as the new Lagos Talks station, which has the broadcast frequency of 99.5FM.
Moving from the music-based broadcast format,Lagos Talks 99.5FM, will according to the CEO,focus on contemporary issues as they affect Lagosians. “There will be credible and tested anchors on burning issues in Current Affairs, Sports, Business, Politics, Entrepreneurship, Family, Government and all facets of life in Lagos,” Ubosi said.
Offline, the brand has crafted a presence as one of the notable powerhouses that continue to raise the standard of Nigeria’s broadcasting and communication sectors; Ubosi was a member of the Federal Government’s committee, which deliberated and fashioned the country’s Mass Communication Nationwide Policy in 2002. And still serves on the communications committee of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) as well as being on the Advisory Board of the Social Media Week
In addition, Nigeria’s entertainment and nightlife scene owes a considerable amount of its highlights to Megalectrics. High-caliber stars including Grammy award winning artiste – Maxwell, UB40 and Brandy have arrived these shores to thrill their fans, thanks to the Classic FM Valentine Concerts. Its contribution to Industry Nite and The Beat FM’s sponsorship of a music day in the Annual International Social Media Week, is also a huge contribution to industry growth.
As a believer in the Nigeria project it has consistently partnered with the Rotary Club and Lions Club in Lagos on developmental projects.
Given the sum of its offline and online achievements, it is obvious that to a great extent, Megalectrics is one brand steadily paving its way towards global success by remaining true to its roots, by staying “local.”