‘Yes, we’re launching Oct. 1 and Nov. 1, 2014’
BOSS of World Entertainments Television (WETV), Mr. Amin Moussalli has announced the completion of the state of the arts studios of Cool/Wazobia TV.
Confirming this in a media tour of the ultra-modern studios, Moussalli said, the ongoing project has gulped at least six times the standard cost of setting up a television (that’s about 20 million dollars or N320 million!).
He also fixed Wednesday, October 1, 2014 as commencement date of the stations test transmission, while the official launch of Cool TV/Wazobia TV is Saturday, November 1, 2014.
“The brands Cool/Wazobia/Nigeria Info FM have always set the pace in radio broadcasting in Nigeria in terms of innovative content. We plan to continue this trend with the formal and simultaneous launch of Cool TV and Wazobia TV on Saturday, November 1, 2014. We would also celebrate popular presenters of Cool/Wazobia/Nigeria Info FM (Yaw, Lolo, Nedu, OPJ, Tuebi, Freeze, Mannie, Tolu etc) and the new anchors we trained since over 12 months.”
Interestingly, Moussalli said the stations would hence run as visual radio, combining the features of radio and television. The new television would be operating on Channel 195 (Wazobia TV) and Channel 196 (Cool TV). They are on platform/bouquet of Startimes. They would be free to air in no distant time.
Amin Moussalli explains more in this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Associate Editor, UCHE OLEHI.
We learnt Cool TV/Wazobia TV are now ready to commence transmission?
That is true. The pre-launch is Wednesday, October 1, 2014, which coincides with the launch of our other 11 stations across the country, namely in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. The pre-launch would be live from our radio TV studios, rather than the usual broadcast of movies and musicals during TV test transmissions.
Listeners/viewers will also have the opportunity to interact as usual with presenters and our radio guests in the studio. We want to improve on the stations, whereby only six per cent of viewers are fully concentrated on the TV (that is, a person who watches TV while eating, talking, etc falls within 94 per cent).
Our independence is dear to us, that’s why we still want to tag our new milestone with October 1, like we did for Cool FM, Wazobia FM and Nigeria Info FM.
Saturday, November 1, 2014 is the launch proper. Cool TV channels 195 and Wazobia TV channels 196 (on Startimes platform) would officially be launched. Our dream is to beam from the moon. Can we do it? We do not know, but wait and see what we can do on November 1. All I believe is we are in for a change in TV broadcasting. We are passionate about it. And we are faithful to our destiny.
What have you got here, Sir?
What we’ve got now is a state-of-the-art studio facilities to run a modern radio and TV. It’s more like a cockpit of not a plane, it’s the cockpit of a rocket. We are literarily launching out the best of sounds and motion pictures to the world. I must assure you we have installed the latest equipment required for quality transmission and we have also recruited experts from the US, the Europe and the Middle East to smooth run out broadcast and transfer knowledge to our Nigerian colleagues.
Can you please give us a less technical detail?
The refurbished and pre-equipped radio studios of Cool, Wazobia and Nigeria Info FM are now provided with TV set-up in terms of lighting, acoustics, cameras and connectivity to the Radio Studio Control Room and the overall TV and Radio Master Control Room for our play. Such a facility, the first of its kind in Nigeria, interlocks radio studios with the TV studios. It can either be broadcast live, if TV programming allows to cut the program or will be recorded for deferred telecast.
Our aim is to give our audience a multiple experience from six different studios (you can call it a package of six in one). We would also be launching our TV Apps to enable Nigerians around the world to access our 24-hour programme to give our citizens in diaspora a sense of belonging to the homeland. Our aim is to refresh the broadcast industry.
How long did it take you to complete this TV project?
We began the TV project in the first week of January 2012. Rather than being blocked, not working during that period we had to start the business of planning TV stations since our background in AIM Consultants is Engineering and Architecture. We then interacted with all the manufacturers of Broadcast equipment at NAB, Las Vegas, IBC, Amsterdam and Dubai, UAE. Here we learned from our interactions which made us crate the architecture of the TV studios and installations. We opted for BSS who operates from Dubai. In any new project we do, we see its offshoot benefits. That’s why I said our new studios and installations are a showroom for federal, state and corporate clients. With BSS, I can confidently state we are now TV integrators, thus creating more employment for our people.
Do you have plans to set up a broadcast academy considering the human and material resources at your disposal?
I would have loved to do that but the problem is that energy. You know that all we are doing takes the passion of a few people to actualize. We would definitely set up a broadcast academy at the right and convenient time.
You said you overshot your budget by six times. So, how much have gone into this TV project so far?
That’s a difficult question. The truth is there are some television owners in this country who told me they spent about $20 million to install their studio. Ours is different, we’ve learnt how to fix a TV at a lesser cost and still have the best in the land, I can tell you. You can spend $20 million for a standard TV station, I don’t want to tell you who told me. All I’m saying is that we have cheaper and latest technology to consult for existing and prospective TV owners.
So, Cool/Wazobia TV could have cost over a billion?
Exactly, but we did it cheaper than others, with our deep knowledge in the industry. We are now contractors.
How do you cope with cases of politicians or stakeholders who may try to take over your TV stations?
We go by the rules and regulations of the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC). We go by the book. If a politician comes and says he wants us to flout NBC broadcast code, I would ask him, how can we do it? You remember Wazobia was closed sometime in Kano. We have to explain to politicians what is possible and what is not. The Kano issue was not even politics, it was an issue of one person saying something about polio vaccine. When you feature a politician from a political party, you bring another side too for a balance. And that’s what we do here.
In terms of content, what should we expect?
We are local content providers. We have our games, movies and music. We are going to export them to the world. Of course, we also have loads of programmes for a global audience.
You’ve had over 16 years of broadcast media experience. How has it been?
We are doing our best. I guess that was why I was given another OFR national honour by the Federal Government.
Your stations have loads of OAPs. How do you catch them?
We train them. A lot of broadcast organizations copy us and thereby keep us on our toes. We advertise a lot too and through this, we make our jobs competitive. When they come, we ‘sieve’ them. In fact, we have a ‘sieving unit’.
So, what has been the challenges of running Cool/Wazobia/Info FM?
I don’t think of challenges. If I do, it will draw me back. Even if I do, I wouldn’t let it affect me. In fact, challenges don’t exist in my book. If you take a look around, you will see the expression, ‘In limitation, I see the infinite.’ This is my own script (philosophy of life).
Is broadcasting a profitable business?
That’s not when you have over 1,500 employees on your neck (laughs). In this business, every kobo counts. Many people don’t know how much we spend on overhead. The cost is terribly high. But we won’t give up.
What are AIM’s other projects?
We are currently building by ourselves the headquarters of our broadcast companies in Lekki, Phase 1, off Admiralty Road. It has large studios of over 250-seaters and height up to 7.5m. The building will house the offices and staff apartments. Also in Lekki, adjacent to our site, is where we plan to erect a columnless structure at the ground floor and first floor, using pre-stressed slabs/beams (like in bridges) to build a studio with over 400 spectators.
Any other project?
We will then go back to our two buildings (hotel and suites in Abuja) which we stopped at ground level floor. It’s in front of the American Embassy. We must dream that in limitation, we see the infinite and by so doing we will sure raise the funds.