He is one of the most famous voices in the south east air waves. Distinguishing him from the crowd is his distinctive deep baritone voice which has earned him the title ‘Radio’s Big Brother.’ Osarogie Ogbomnwan the current head of programs and News at Urban Radio 94.5Fm is the centre of attraction on our MAD list. (Making a Difference list)
It would be classically unfair to accredit it all to his rich baritone voice. Radio’s big brother story is quite an interesting one. We hunted him down, held him prisoner and in the manner of a police sergeant questioning a suspect, we got him to spill all the juicy details of his life.
Tell us all we don’t know about you
Big brother: My name is Osarogie Ogbonmwan. I’m from Edo state and I grew up in Benin City. I attended primary and secondary school in Benin and three years of my university education was also in Benin. My department (medical laboratory science) had some issues with the National Universities Council (NUC). Some universities weren’t accredited, so they transferred everyone in those universities to about seven other schools with accreditation. I was sent to university of Nigeria Enugu campus (UNEC). I eventually completed my studies there.
Have you always wanted to be an OAP?
Big brother: To some extent yes. I loved it at a time in my life but I never thought about it as something that I would do on a long term. It all started when I visited Lagos in my junior year in secondary school I think in my js3. That was when Dan Foster of cool FM was really huge. He was at the peak of his career then. I listened to him a lot. I think I loved radio because of him. I went back to Benin and tried to still listen to cool FM but the signal wasn’t so strong so after a while, I gave up. I was influenced by his work but then I was too young to think that ‘radio’ was the career I wanted to pursue. Fast forward to university, towards my final year I was already thinking; ‘wearing a lab coat and sitting around in labs all day is not something I want to do with my life’. So when the opportunity of radio came up I decided to try. Surprisingly it wasn’t hard for me to blend in. I never wanted to be an OAP but I’ve always loved listening to radio and with time I just thought well this might be it.
What has your journey been like; making it to head of Program and News at Urban Radio Enugu?
Big brother: Well it’s been impressive; from being a total rookie, not knowing much about the job to basically keeping myself afloat. I spent almost four (4) years at Solid 100.9 FM. There were a lot of times I could have left because I wasn’t exactly living the best life as a radio presenter, but then I was patient with my journey because I knew I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I moved from ‘rookie radio presenter’ who used to do the night show to one of the most popular voices on the morning shows in the south east and then moved from there to a new radio station entirely; Urban radio. I didn’t start heading any department immediately. I had to earn my space and they had to consider me worthy enough to make me head of head of programs and news. So it’s been a pretty interesting journey. It’s come with its own challenges. It’s come with understanding people better, understanding me better and understanding life better. There are times when you feel you are doing well, there are times when you feel you need to do more, the times when you feel like you are not being appreciated, (there has to be more to life than just waking up every morning and going on radio). But all in all, I’m a very patient person with growth. I’m not rushing through anything so I think it’s been a great journey.
What is the most challenging thing about your work?
Big brother: I need to sleep. I just can’t get enough sleep.
You know, you think with time you’ll get used to waking up at 4am every morning. Well I’m used to it. But I still wake up some mornings and am like...arrgghh lol. So yea that’s it ‘not enough sleep’. And... The second thing is that I barely get to take a break. I always find myself in a position where am very important everywhere that I’ve worked, so most times I can’t just decide to take a break or decide not to be at work for a few days so yea that too. But the most is waking up at 4am.
Which OAP in the south east influences you the most?
Big brother: None.
It’s not because there are people who are not doing well. I’m not trying to be proud but there are standards I’ve set for myself, places where I want to reach with my career that no one here is currently working on. It’s a personal target that I set for myself. There are people doing great stuff here, but am not trying to mentally compare myself with anybody or meet up with anybody or catch up with anybody. it’s ‘a do better than I did last week, a do better than I did last year, better than I did last month’ challenge for myself so I’m comparing myself with the person that I was six months ago, two months ago or last week. So ‘there is no one that I can pin point and say ‘I want to be like this person’.
In terms of personal branding, south east OAPs seem to be lacking behind in comparison to their peers in the west. What’s on your opinion on this?
Big brother: I think it’s because we mostly haven’t understood media like the west has. They basically control the media. There is something about branding that we are not getting right here, something about personal promotion that we are not getting right. There is just a lot we are not doing or let me put this way, there is a lot we are not doing right. Most of the verified celebrity radio personalities are all in Lagos. The ones in Abuja which is the nation’s capital are barely noticed, the one in Ibadan are almost irrelevant but Lagos has most of where the traffic is and most of the ‘celebrity status’ is in Lagos. If there is anything I think they are doing well, it’s mostly promoting and branding themselves really well. They make themselves an individual brand, outside their radio job. A lot of us just associate ourselves with a radio station and it ends there. We don’t make ourselves individual brands. We also don’t have the kind of promotion that they have.
Lest I forget; there isn’t a lot going on here in terms of entertainment so there is no need for OAPs to push themselves. If there were a lot of events happening here, we would have more reasons to be out there, more reasons to be seen. What can be done? We need to start having more activities in the south east; there will be more reasons why OAPs will be relevant. The money part of radio also is in Lagos. That’s where the media agencies are, so it’s easy for OAPs over there to get all the deals they get that makes them famous. We don’t have a lot of that here. What we do here mostly is try to push for much followership and much listenership based on what we do on radio but off the radio we don’t do much. I think it also has to do with the fact that there isn’t much happening here entertainment wise and also, we haven’t really understood the need to be creative for social media, I myself inclusive. I ask myself sometimes what can I possibly do asides radio, what else can I do on social media that will get everyone in a frenzy and I’ll have a thousand followers? I don’t know whether to leak my nudes, or get into a sex scandal or wear women’s cloths LOL basically just going the extra mile. Not a lot of us think outside the box. It’s actually a problem.
Do you see yourself as a personal brand?
Big brother: Outside radio? Yes. The ‘Big Brother’ brand.
Am not sure what the big brother brand is actually but in the past long while I’ve been invited to speak at seminars and participate in trainings. I credit it all to the big brother brand.
Who is your favourite blogger in the south east?
Big brother: I don’t read south east blogs. And it’s not a south east thing; I just don’t read blogs at all.
If money was not an issue, what would you spend your life doing?
Big brother: Two things; Travel the world taking pictures and philanthropy.
Describe your ex with a football club
Big brother: Lol Ummm.. Abia warriors
If your life was a movie, would you let your parents watch it?
Big brother: LOL definitely not
What are the first five qualities you look for in a woman?
Big brother: Well she has to be smart,
· Have a good heart
· And finally she has to be a good kisser
Who are your favourite female OAPs in Enugu?
Big brother: Ummm they are lot of amazing women on radio in Enugu, so I’m just gonna call from the top of my head. There’s Gloria Orji-Emodi of dream fm, Vanessa of dream Fm, Mary of Urban radio and Ijele of solid FM
Favourite male OAPs?
Big brother: There are seriously good radio guys in Enugu but I’ll go with Charles Pius of Urban radio, Jude Dawam of DreamFm, Marcswagz of DreamFm and Uc the Mc of SolidFm.
If there’s a young person reading this and aspiring to be an OAP what advice would you give?
Big brother: Be yaself.
Everyone sees ‘On Air Personalities’ as celebrities who are popping and living the life but the truth is you only get to see the outside glory. Most young people I’ve met claim to want to be OAPs but the truth is that they just want the glam name of answering ‘on air personality’. Most times when they get the job and they’re not ‘popping’ as they thought they would, the person just quits. If you have interest in becoming an ‘on air personality’ just know this; It’s a full time job, that requires patience, hard work and strong will.