Greg Odutayo has grown to become a notable force in radio production, event management and television production across Africa. Greg’s first television content was a cooking programme, ‘Global Cuisine’ and after that came the phenomenal comedy series, ‘House A-Part’. Others include Tides of Fate, Edge of Paradise and Doctors Quarters. In this interview with Tosin Clegg, he talks about his new radio station, television production, and other things
About Greg Odutayo
I’m the Managing Director of Royal Roots, owners of Royal Roots Television (R2TV) and R2 92.9FM Ibadan. We are named Royal because we want to do things differently, in a unique way. Also, we are firm believers in God as part of your direction. And we believe that God is the root of the company and He is Royalty. It’s abstract, so to say.
Royal Roots Starting Point
That’s 21 years ago. Yes, we actually started radio production before we went into television production, and we later started events management, but our strong niche is in television production and our roots are in radio. Setting up a new radio channel is going back to our roots, because we are firm believers in radio and we love it. Radio made the first money for Royal roots. So it’s not strange we are into it. I like radio and I have fulfillment in it. On radio, there is more connection with your audience. Our aim is to establish media platform that are collaborative and work with synergy with one another.
The technical reason is that there are no more frequencies in Lagos, and I also say, why not Ibadan? Ibadan has the second largest number of radio stations after Lagos, much more than Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, which are major cities. So, there is something in Ibadan. It’s cosmopolitan, a second Lagos and calmer. So, in its own way it’s safer and, for me, it’s a growing hub and I believe there is a catchment for us.
On Impulsive Radio
Between Oyo and Osun, there is a large catchment of students who are also within the targets we are after, and when we got to Ibadan we discovered it desired more. If you look at the radio stations in Lagos, everyone is probably doing the same thing and it’s the same here in Ibadan too; so it was easy for us to pitch our tent. That’s why it was easy for us to get the kind of reactions we were getting. In Ibadan, almost all the stations are speaking Yoruba so the students are cut off, except from a few. And they aren’t providing as much entertainment and they abandon the radio. But we brought excitement back to radio and our strength is in content.
We are not doing impulsive radio
Everything we do on radio is planned, and part of the problem I have with radio is that a presenter is coming to work from home and someone splashes water on him and he goes on radio and ask have you’ve had the embarrassing moment he had that day and then goes ahead to share their experience. We don’t want that, we have show-preps and all our presenters most submit it a day before, and it says in details what they will do on air within their bandwidth.
Their works are researched for proper delivery.
The reality is that we provide more information; like if you are playing Beyonce, we give you information about her and not just give you the music.
On Ibadan Youths
We want to entertain, excite and give that added knowledge and information people want, because they come to us in the language they easily relate to. But Yoruba isn’t the basic language and we don’t have a Yoruba programme. The audience we are talking to wants to feel what we are doing as they are aspirational. So, they want to aspire; university students are very inquisitive. We allow the youths to speak for themselves and that’s what is different about us. I make bold to say you can’t find this on radio or TV apart from ours. So, we have carved our niche and we want to stay that way. We are also attractive to people 35 years and above. Our social media is also integrated with our radio and TV; that’s where the youths are, as they are constantly on their phones.
When I say this, I mean power. To run a television and radio for 24 hours you need power. For our TV, we have four generators and for radio we have two generators and in both places, we have dedicated transformers. So, power is an issue for us, especially when it comes to funding the operations every month; it is a lot of money. We still believe we can make it work and we won’t run away from Nigeria and with God helping us we would prevail.
Manpower also is a challenge
You would be amazed that there are many people out there looking for opportunities but most of them that passed through our educational system are not employable. However, we haven’t turned anyone down or back but we have tried to build their talents and work on them. All of the people we have hired (young people) have little or no experience. We have situations where we want to employ people from other places and they find it hard to work within our frame.
You would be surprised they can’t write something as little as a report. But we have been able to train our people. For example, most of them found the show-preps strange, but now they are enjoying it, because it shows preparation.
Looking for youthfulness
We expect to see youthfulness, energy and the right attitude in our presenters. There are a lot of youths out there and we have been able to capture a few.
The industry we are in is an extremely dynamic one. For example, if someone ever told you that very few people would be reading newspapers today would you have believed? But the number today is going down. Ours is an industry such that you buy a camera three months ago and before you know it’s obsolete. If you ask me to project five years, then that will be too far, but we want to be a media giant and a force to reckon with in terms of radio and television, in the proper way. There is a lot wrong with broadcast today but we have tried to do things differently so we can make a difference and we are also socially responsible, as it’s important.
About Nigerian Media
We are not responsible enough, as we rather project the negatives in our country rather than the good or positive. I have had to facilitate a shoot for a foreign client and when we were done, they asked to see Nigeria and I took them to my Nigeria. They said they didn’t want to see that but wanted to see the slums and I said I was sorry I can’t show them that. Every country has its own slums but we don’t see it and I said I was sorry I couldn’t take them there, but are we all socially responsible for our country?
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