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‘How I got my radio job without training, experience’

Multimedia journalist and On-Air-Personality at Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Nkechi Idiaye in commemoration of the World Radio Day 2022 on February 13 shared the story of how she got employed as a radio presenter without prior training and experience. We asked her some follow-up questions to get more insights on her pre and post-employment experiences.

WORLD RADIO DAY STORY

There was this young girl way back that wanted to become a radio girl.

With no experience and training, she walked into Radio Station looking for a job. She was directed to an office to make her inquiry, she got into the office and stated her mission and was angrily thrown out of the office.

She stood at the office, in tears and embarrassed and a lady walked up to her and asked what was wrong, she explained she was looking for a job and got thrown out. The lady told her to go upstairs and meet The Executive Director😲😲😲😲😲😲

She cleaned her tears and summoned up the courage to meet the ED and explained that she desires to work in his station.

Looked at the girl and asked if she truly can and she said yes, gave her a note to the deputy director, who also sent her with a note to s controller who also sent her with a note to a presenter in the live studio.

The presenter told her to come back tomorrow for my audition.

She was scared to ask what an audition entails.😀😀😀😀😀😀

She got back home and conjured up a script for a 15 mins music presentation of old-school divas of the ’90s 😀😀😀😀😀😀, mind you, she has no experience whatsoever how to present a radio programme.

Armed with 5 CDs she was at the station the next morning for her audition. The presenter was shocked she came with a script and music and asked if she has ever been on the radio before?

She said no and told her to enter into a studio and do her thing, she gave the five CDs to the studio manager to play the songs after a pause while talking her script.

15mins later she was out of the studio and the presenter looked at me in surprise, she was so scared and wondered if she did well because she had no experience other than listening to music programmes on the radio.

She was asked to come back 3 days later.

She came back and got the job and was posted to one of the new stations and guess what the man who threw her out of his office was her boss 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

That girl was me 😀😀😀😀😀dare to be courageous and step out.

INTERVIEW

No experience and training mean you didn’t study any media course?

No, I did not. I actually wanted to study Mass Communication at the university, but I was not given that particular course to study. I was given History, but then I knew that I wanted to do something on communication. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.

How did you know the radio station to go to?

I have always been a fan of radio. I love music on the radio and I listen to radio programmes a lot. When I went to serve in Bauchi state, my community development project was on breast cancer. I needed to use the radio and television to promote my campaign in the state, so for the very first time, I was at Bauchi state radio on Corpers’ calling which was a programme for Corpers doing a project in the state. That was the very first time I had ever seen a studio.

I saw what a radio studio looks like, I met the presenter who interviewed me on my work in the state, my campaign, where I had been, and it was just super amazing being on radio for the very first time. From there I was on television, NTA Bauchi and I experienced what it felt like to be on TV. Those were the very first time I had been on a station. When I got back from youth service, there was no job. I was basically hooked on radio. I listened a lot to Metro FM which is a Radio Nigeria station and so I was a fan of cruise control by Kamal Salau, one of the top presenters that present late-night talk shows, love, and relationship. I always put down his number after the show. he announced his number and people will call him and share their aches and pains, so I was enjoying it really.

So there was one particular evening he announced that Radio Nigeria was going to have two new more stations, Bond FM and radio one and was looking for presenters, and I was like okay. I called him up after his show at about 10 pm and I introduced myself and I said you had advertised that there would be two new more stations and they would need presenters, I would love to present on the radio. He just said come over to the station and I was like just like that? He said yes, and so I came over to the station.

How did you know about having CDs with music to play?

I have always been a fan of music. My father had this collection of albums, so we play music a lot in my house. All the old school, I love music. Also on the radio, I get to listen to popular music. I knew a lot of musicians, I knew a lot about their history. I watched their videos and my father made us love music because he was always playing music in the house. We had a turn-table at home, so we were a musical family. I had an idea about music. And so when I was asked to go back home and prepare for an audition, I didn’t know what an audition meant. In fact, it was when I began to work on the radio that I realized that audition simply entails that the people in charge will give you a script to read, perhaps news and then they will assess you based on how you are able to deliver the news, but I shocked them in a way.

I guess they were expecting to give me a script to read, but then I came back with one. When they told me to go for the audition I thought that means I should go and prepare for a music programme. I got back home and wrote my script. I still have that script and whenever I look at that script, I’m amazed at how I was able to write a script as if I had experience when I had no experience. But I always listen to how they present the introduction, the body of their programme and the conclusion, so I just had that in my head and I wrote a 15 minutes music script and it was fantastic. I love oldies, especially females who sing oldies, I went to my brother’s collection because he had a lot of CDs and I picked five. I can remember Venessa Williams, Anita Baker… I picked five top prominent divas of the 90s and wrote my script.

I had to look at the back of the CD to see a bit of the history and I could jot down some things about each of them in my script and so I was ready. I faced the mirror, I was rehearsing, and I was seriously rehearsing my script. I took up the script, took up the CD. At the station, the person to oversee the audition asked if I have ever been a presenter before or worked in radio? I said no, and he was like but you are with a script and CDs? I didn’t understand what he was trying to say, it didn’t click in my head because I was thinking did I do anything wrong? And then he said I should just come in and present. I entered the recording studio, and I saw a guy who said he was the studio manager. I told him I’m going to talk for 15minutes, I’m going to time myself, I will talk, you play a song, talk, you play a song, the guy was just smiling at me. I went into the studio for the very first time and I talked my script the way I hear Kamal actually present his programme. When I was done, I was shaking wondering, I hope I did well. He said okay in the next three days you can come back and find out if you were picked.

When I came back the third day, I was picked. It’s now that I work on the radio that I discovered that nobody is allowed to actually bring their own script for an audition. They actually would ask you to read their own script. If I was allowed to read their own script, I don’t like the news, I would have faltered because I stutter. So if you ask me to read the news, I wouldn’t have gotten the job. So I was very happy that I took up the initiative to make the first move and bring in what I would love to do and that’s how it all started.

How did you make up for the lack of previous training to cope on the job?

The moment I was employed as a contract staff, I saw that FRCN has a training school. I inquired that I need to be trained because I’m pretty much raw. I need to be able to understand the rudiment of broadcasting and I was told that I really cannot be trained because I was a contract staff. So I went back to the executive director and told him; sir, I hear that FRC has a training school and I want to be trained, but I was told that because I’m a contract staff I can’t be trained, why is that? How am I supposed to get better on the job?

Instantly, he wrote me another note to give to my boss asking him to exempt me for the next eight weeks to be trained on basic presentations at the FRCN training school. When that happened, they started asking me, you are a contract staff and no contract staff is trained, I told them I was here for the training and I was even paid money for the training as a contract staff that was how I got training.

Then my boss in my department began to organize in-house training for all of us as presenters, once a week. We had our training clinics, phonetics clinics, that was what we continued to be exposed to every week, every Wednesday to improve on our presentation skills. Then I also began to listen to BBC a lot, my ears were glued to the ways they pronounce words, the way they speak English, so I was constantly on BBC and that was where I learned how to pronounce words correctly. I have my own personal radio mentors that I look up to and I listen to them a whole lot. I listen to how they speak, how they talk, and that began to influence the way I present programmes.

Your advice for aspiring broadcasters?

My advice for aspiring broadcasters is to keep on training yourself, keep on becoming better, look for avenues to improve yourself, look for training, online training, paid for training, get every form of training that you need to improve your skill as a broadcaster. I didn’t sit down, I was reading, I was studying and I knew that being a presenter I have to read wide. I have to expose myself and so I’m full of content and then I also listen to a lot of radio experts. I attend workshops, seminars, I still go on online courses. I still improve myself a whole lot, paid for and also few ones I see online I participate in them. You want to be an aspiring broadcaster, please go for it and follow your instinct.

My instinct led me to Radio Nigeria. It took instinct to push me. I knew no one in Radio Nigeria, but I just believed that when I get there, I would get a job and I had this massive faith that once I stepped in there I would get this job. Despite the setback that the first person who spoke to me walked me out of his office, that triggered me up to go see the executive director who listened to me and saw my heart, saw my passion and picked on me. I was a complete greenhorn. I was a complete raw individual who had no experience whatsoever but I had the passion for it. I had the heart for it, I had the drive for it, that’s how I believe and got the job.

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