As Faaji 106.5 FM Debuts In Lagos, Fuji, Apala, Juju, Sakara and… Hip-Hop Find a New Home
On 1 December, radio listeners in Lagos and its environs awoke to the buzz of a new station, Faaji 106.5 FM. With its launch, the station joins the ranks of broadcast outfits, which rely heavily on Yoruba language for its programming. It also employs a decent amount of pidgin in its 24-hour broadcast schedule. Kenny Ogungbe, Managing Director, (Radio Services) Daar Communications plc, was the first voice on the station, which broadcasts from the Lagos offices of Daar Communications plc, owners of Raypower FM and Africa Independent Television, AIT. The frequency modulation on which the new station operates is not totally new. It used to be Raypower FM 2, a purely talk radio station modelled after BBC 2, before its operation was suspended for restructuring. However, late last year, the station’s frequency was brought back but as a re-branded station with a new focus, agenda, philosophy and niche.
The new station’s signal is received in almost every location in the South-west geo-political zone, dishing out different traditional musical strains like fuji, apala, juju, sakara and contemporary genres, including hip-hop.
“We understand that indigenous languages are fast becoming the more effective means of communication, especially to most companies and we have to satisfy the yearnings of the people. Therefore, there is need to create a specialised station such as Faaji FM. This station will be a total entertainment station that will speak the language that our people in Lagos and its environs can relate with,” said Ambrose Somide, the station’s general manager and co-anchor of popular Yoruba radio and television programme, Minijojo.
TheNEWS investigations revealed that within a month of operation, the station has gained huge listenership and thousands of fans on social media. Its early morning current affairs programme, Oyela, attracts a deluge of phone calls from different parts of Yorubaland. The three-hour show incorporates news and sports reports (hilariously rendered), today-in-history and weather reports as well as traffic reports in Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states every morning and evening. Its afternoon magazine, which employs phone-in and features celebrities, is a hit among listeners. Given the demographics of radio listeners in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos, about 30 per cent of its programming is done in pidgin.
The station operates with a lean staff strength, but has an experienced line-up of freelancers as supporting cast.
But some industry analysts believe the coming of Faaji 106.5 FM will not be a walk in the park. The new station will need to strive hard against those more rooted Yoruba stations like Bond FM, Choice FM, Radio Lagos FM and Wazobia FM for the market share. It is already a crowded field, with over 20 other stations that broadcast in English in Lagos. In 2010, Wazobia FM was adjudged the ‘Most Listened To Radio Station in Lagos’ in a survey conducted by Media Planning Services Limited and OMD Media Reach.
After that, no other official study has been conducted to revalidate Wazobia FM’s dominance. Stations like Bond FM and Choice FM stations, especially with their newspapers reviews in the morning and evening which tend to attract more listeners, are growing.
“We understand this business. The language, our news and entertainment contents, and programme planning will stand us out,” Somide said in response to the challenges the new station is faced with.