Amiable radio presenter, Stephen Onubuchukwu, widely known and addressed as YAW has carved a niche for himself as on on-air personality. His popular programme on WAZOBIA FM is garnering huge fans everyday. Coming from a background of Theatre Art, the presenter revealed to Encomium Weekly, how he became an instant hit behind the microphone in the shortest time of his foray into the broadcasting industry and much more.
How do you feel as one of the top radio presenter?
Wow. I don’t know about being a top radio presenter, but I am just doing what I know how to do to the best of my knowledge. That’s what I think I can do best. If I am rated as one in that category, I would want to say a big thank you to all the people that rated me as such. I am just myself. I come here everyday to do my thing and I’m just happy doing what I love to do.
What do you do to capture the mind of your audience?
Hmm, I think my listeners are in a better position to answer that question because, like I said, I go there everyday to do my thing. I’m just myself, I don’t fake myself. The public is in a better position to say this is what we see in him, and what we like about him. I just feel I’m just myself.
What do you think are the basic elements of a good radio presenter?
First, you have to be relaxed because you are talking to people. They can’t see you, you must be able to pass across whatever message they need to hear or know. You must also sound convincing. You must have that confidence. You must understand what you are saying, so you don’t end up saying things that are not true. Here, the social network is helping because some people tend to send me staffs which I have to research before passing across any information, because I need to be very careful. I was close to that when I said on air that, “Government don postpone Christmas”. That was December 23, when late President Yar’Adua was still in power and someone called reacting to that statement. I had to tell her that, “Madam, na play I dey play o. I no mean amo.” So, it occurred to me that whatever I give to people I have to be very careful. As a radio presenter, you must note that whatever you say must be properly investigated and of course, must be the truth.
As a theatre practitioner, how did you become a radio presenter?
As a theatre practitioner, you should know a little of almost everything, because you can be called to act a role of a doctor and you must be able to do it very well and convincingly. If you are a broadcaster, you should also be able to act.
I am a very versatile person, I act and I produce. I don’t just produce, I anchor and package events. It’s not difficult for me because on radio, I still act, as I am talking, I am demonstrating, Whenever I am behind the microphone, I see it as talking to somebody and I talk directly to that person.
Has being a theatre practitioner helped you in what you are doing now?
Yes, it has helped me as a radio presenter and even as a television presenter.
What are the books you read to improve your skills in radio presenting?
I try once in a while not to just limit myself to some stuff on radio. I read books on Marketing Communication, Humour, Literature, Effective Organisation Communications, Executive Business Communications, etc.
Apart from books, what else do you do to improve your skills?
Yeah! Apart from books I surf the internet a lot. So, I don’t just limit myself to a particular angle. Like I said, I’m an all rounder. I learn the business aspect of it and the showbiz segment. As you are learning the business side of the show you are also learning the show side of the business. That is what I call “showbiz”.
You are known for presenting in “pidgin” English, are you comfortable doing that? Can you present in other languages too?
Of course, I do. At least I’m trying to speak “small, small English”. I can present in Yoruba, Igbo. I do a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio drama and it is in Igbo. I also speak Yoruba.
We learnt that you just celebrated your birthday, where was it and how?
I celebrated my birthday and that was two weeks back. It was at Igbobi Orthopaedic Hospital. So, every year, I go somewhere to celebrate my birthday. I have done the Old People’s Home, Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Holy Saints Orphanage, Down Syndrome Home, because I like touching the lives of people and every year, I tend to get support from Power Horse, Indomie, Viju Milk, GSK (GlaskoSmith Kline) makers of Lucozade Boost. Every of my birthday, I get support from them, but this year was a little different. I also get support from Fan Milk, Wazobia FM, Apapa Local Government chairman, Primetime, Hip Hop TV, Stand Up Nigeria.
Every year, I see it as an opportunity to give to people because it is just by the grace of God that I am living. I see it as an avenue to touch lives and make people happy. I don’t do it alone, I invite people if you know you have anything to -give to “YAW” on his birthday, bring it and let us give it to the needy.
How do you handle your female fans?
My male fan are not easy to handle because you are on the phone talking to someone and they are there screaming your name. They won’t allow -you to respond. Someone once saw me and said “If you dey phone nko n be we be your fan?” So, some people talk differently.
For the females, they see you; they admire you and it just ends there. One thing I see is, without my fans, I am nobody. If they don’t listen to you, buy your CDs, watch your shows, you are still nobody. So, you have to love them.
How do you relax after the day’s stress?
Maybe I am bad at that. I hardly do. Relaxation means so many things to so many people. I relax as I am watching TV, reading novels, at the cinema, beach. Sometimes when I am listening to radio, sleeping or on my phone 24/7.
Apart from being a radio presenter on WAZOBIA FM, is there any other business you are engaged in?
Yeah. I am a showbiz person. I have slots with Basketmouth, 9ice, AY, MC Abbey, MI and many other good artistes in the industry: Every year, I invite a comedian or artist to act with me. The play was written by Koffi and my childhood friend directed it.
So, every year, I do a stage play, I present. I am an MC, I am a showbiz person and an entertainer.
So, is Mr. Steve Onu married, single or searching.
All I can say is “I am involved” nothing more than that.
– DOLAPO AMODENI
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 13, 2011