Radio presenting is more a talent than a skill and only few are able to deliver with finesse. Scratch that.
Radio in Abuja is tough and it takes an extra sauce to connect with the calm and reserved audience here. Recently, the people have warmed up to a particular On-Air-Personality whose station is only a few months old in the city. You wanted to know how Osato EDK of Soundcity mastered his art. BlueInk’s Anita Eboigbe writes about her interesting interview with him.
First of all, Osato EDK is himself through and through; speaking with him directly is like a having a physical radio experience. The Edo-born multi creative has held the Abuja audience spellbound since he (and his station, Soundcity) moved to the city. It is intriguing how the audience of the hit music station sometimes want to fastforward the music just to hear his voice. His personality shines through his voice and we feel like he is having a one-on-one conversation with us.
The animated, breezy and intellectual OAP was born Osato Edokpayi. I knew this before the interview as I had followed his career from Vibes FM, Benin, Edo State. You can imagine my excitement when I got the brief to interview him for this edition. For years, I have compiled a list of questions to ask when I first saw him and it was just a seamless conversation when we met.
The first thing I was curious about was how he handled the switch in radio style when he changed stations. The EDK in Benin had to talk more than play music but the roles reversed in Lagos and now, Abuja. Despite the cultural diversity of these three states, he has held it down in the most creative way.
He attributes this to studying several radio formats even before he moved to his new station. He said, “I thought it was good to know these formats and I studied them because I wanted to give my listeners an experience.” While this explains his unique interactions online, EDK refers to himself as a “very shy and socially awkward guy”.
I particularly found this statement unbelievable as there was nothing to suggest this. He was very conversational and at ease although he admitted that he was so used to being the interviewer and not the other way round. While we joked about this, I sought his opinion on the growth of the Nigerian music industry as an OAP at a hit music station.
The industry has grown and as he puts it, “it is fantastic” and “you can’t fault that Nigerian pop culture right now is practically African pop culture. I listen to a lot of African radio and I am in awe of how well they speak of Nigerian artists. A lot of young Nigerians have a sense of pride in being Nigerian and in speaking indigenous languages in songs and the average person connects better to Nigerian music. There is Afro-everything and I really like how well Nigerian pop culture has grown.”
As the music conversation progressed, it was easy to sense his passion for knowing music – not just as a career necessity but as a personal hobby. Yet, there is one Nigerian artist EDK has rooted for since day one. We know he loves Burna Boy but it’s Johnny Drille that evidently holds the number one spot in his heart. You can’t listen to EDK and not love Johnny Drille and if you were at the recent Johnny’s Live Room in Abuja, which EDK hosted, the reason will be clear.
As it is safe to call him a Johnny Drille expert, I wanted to know the magnet that attracted him (and all of us) to Drille’s music. He giggled and said for his music, which is termed alternative, to pull the kind of crowds as it now does, “it means it is not alternative anything, it’s brilliant music.”
He went on to say that excellence (in music) is standard regardless of the form in which it comes. EDK maintained that there is a huge demography of people who love Johnny Drille’s kind of music and it is inspiring how his persistent has paid off. He says it is “heartwarming and shows everyone that if you work hard and believe in your craft, success will come.”
Does this quote work for media personalities in Abuja, who usually seem to be in the shadow of their Lagos counterparts? EDK insists that it does as “a presenter is (most times), only as big as his/her market.” I realise the truth in his words seeing the population gap between Lagos and Abuja. Let’s not also forget the demography and needs of each state. Still, he explained that the internet has made things easier as media personalities can maintain good social media profiles and bridge the market gap through these platforms.
In fact, EDK goes beyond his regular audience through his podcasts. His first is The Stretch Cast co-run with his friend and industry colleague, Chika Agu. The other is the Soundcity After show podcast. In both, Osato EDK is witty and just (even more) as interactive with his boundless online audience.
It took a quick prompt from the crew for me to realize we had spent a long time conversing. It was refreshing to have an intellectual, light hearted conversation with a person who has so much knowledge and doesn’t pretend to know more than he does. We concluded and I left, glad that the Abuja media space has gained a gem.
Watch Video Interview: