Someone once said “Setting goals is turning the invisible into the visible”, being totally In love with your goals is one of the most beautiful things any human can do for themselves. Ify Onyegbule is one woman who loves her dream and allow her passion shine through unapologetically.
With a career spanning over 20 years, She’s become an enigma in her Industry, and a voice to reckon with.
Ify trained as an Investigative Journalist at the RNTC, she is a Presentation Coach, Social critic, Publisher, Author and Activist on Women issues. With experience spanning 20 years across different Radio and TV stations in Nigeria, she has worked with 96.9 Cool FM, Lagos, Radio Nigeria’s Metro 97.6 FM, Africa’s largest Radio Network and was extensively involved in News Reading, Programme Production and Music Presentation.
She also had stints with the Network Studio in Abuja on Treasure FM in Port Harcourt, Capital FM, Abuja all under Radio Nigeria. As she left the Government owned stations, she forayed into the private stations again, venturing into and specializing in core Presentation and News reading with Radio Continental’s 102.3FM and Television Continental in Lagos where she presented the Breakfast Shows on Radio and TVC. She created and presented Woman of Substance where she celebrated Nigerian women excelling in their various professions and vocations. She is credited with intellectual programmes like the Gameshow which she anchored to improve the reading culture amongst Nigerians. She also presented for years, Kubanji Direct, an audience participation programme where issues of National and global relevance were discussed with guests discussing the topics.
Ify branched out in 2011 and established her own outfit Trueline Productions, a Media Organization responsible for providing content for both Radio and Television. She continued with packaging content for programmes on Radio Continental and the Breakfast show on Rainbow 94.1FM, Lagos. At the same time she began publishing a magazine Woman of Substance Nigeria, a follow up to the TV programme of the same name, where she interviewed over 1000 Nigerian women professionals. Her book, “Not between my Legs” is targeted at young women, it is a book about Tenacity, Hope and Determination in the course of pursuing a career, particularly in Broadcasting.
In 2014, she was engaged by the management of Rockcity FM. the 1st Independent Radio Station in Ogun state to consult as the Station Manager and during the period, she reorganized, revamped and repositioned the station’s programmes, redefining its status amongst its peers. As Station Manager, she also anchored the Breakfast Show and the Newspaper review. This lasted for a year before she joined the consulting team of Radio Port Harcourt 91.7FM as its General Manager.
The station rebranded and took on a new name WAVE FM in October 3, 2015. As General Manager of Wave FM, she anchored the Breakfast Show and Paper Review, created other programmes, developing talent from amongst her staff who presented these programmes to the satisfaction of the teeming listeners.
Her contract with the station ended December 27th, 2016 following which she relocated to Lagos, returning to her responsibilities at the Women Awareness for Sustainable Empowerment Initiative (WASEI), WOS Magazine/TV and Truespeak Media Academy.
She devotes her spare time to discussions and analysis on Radio and Television stations, talking with young people in higher institutions, giving speeches, Compering Corporate events, attending conferences and seminars aimed at impacting lives. Ify loves spending time also with abandoned children at various orphanages and Widows, through her Yearly Widows Outreach.
Ify Onyegbule currently Hosts The Daily Report on Star 101.5FM, a programme she created with colleague, Charles Kalu and she also contributes to the website www.thedailyreport.ng
He new book, How Did We Get Here, was launched online this year, May 27, 2020 and it’s an Experiential/Instructional book about the 25 mistakes that every radio presenter must avoid.
She shares her Inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive Interview.
I knew right from age 15 that I was going to end up as a Journalist and I knew that someday I was going to speak into the microphone just like those I watched and listen to while growing up in Surulere, Lagos Nigeria. I come from a family where parents encouraged you to read the newspapers, listen to radio and watch television, especially the news on TV so I got used to watching the likes of Bimbo Oloyede, (Roberts at that time) Sienne Allwell Brown, Ruth Benemasia, Julie Coker and so many others on TV, remember the days when transmission started at 4, my father will make sure that I watched the news at 9 and in my own free time I had this small radio in my room so I was always listening and wondering how these people talked from a small or big box, that piqued my interest and I started to read out to myself and mimic what they were doing and that was it. Yes I had a childhood that was influenced by the things around me and I agree it prepared me for all that I am doing today.
I was a spontaneous kid, I was inquisitive, I had deep thinking about issues, I knew how to talk and exposure to the reading materials, radio and TV just spurred me on and ignited the passion. The rest they say is History.
The Journey so far
It’s been a wonderful ride for me even with the ups and downs of the profession. My journey stared in a place called DBN, those days on Awolowo Road as a reporter. I was very excited with this job not because I was going to earn some stipend for doing my work but because I was open to learning something new after my training at Alliance Francaise in Ikoyi and fresh from NYSC in Jos Plateau State.
I did the job for 3 months and moved on to what was then and still known as Cool FM also as a correspondent. I moved from Cool FM to Metro FM at the Broadcasting House Ikoyi, Lagos where I will say I cut my teeth in broadcasting that was the place that taught me most of what I know today on the job.
From Metro I had stints in Treasure FM Port Harcourt, Capital FM Abuja and the Network Service of Radio Nigeria also in Abuja. When I left Radio Nigeria, I pitched my tent with Radio and TV Continental where I anchored a number of A-list programmes before resigning from my job in 2011 to set up my Trueline Productions which is also into the production and packaging of content for radio and TV.
In the course of this, there were short stints with a couple of Radio and TV stations in Lagos where we provided content for the Morning show on these platforms. I got a call from to come run a Radio Station as its Station manager and the experience with Rockcity FM was a vista, away from what I had always known, so it set the stage for me in a managerial capacity and gave me an insight into the management of Human and Material resources. A higher responsibility came when I was contracted again to move over as General Manager of Wave FM in Port Harcourt, a very worthwhile experience for me because it was a different ball game altogether, working in South South Nigeria. So generally, I would say I have had a wonderful ride in Broadcast Journalism or the Media as it is.
20 Years In the Media Industry and It’s Impact on My Personal Growth
In simple terms, it’s not about the number of years but the events that characterize these years, I have grown organically from stage 1 all the way to where I am now so I have learned Patience, Perseverance, tolerance, Loyalty, Office Politics and these have positively affected my approach to life.
Inspiration behind my fast-selling book; “How did we get here”?
How Did We Get Here is simply an experiential and instructional material with Broadcast Journalists and especially Radio Presenters as the primary target. every day we are confronted with various challenges on the job as Duty Continuity Announcers, Presenters or On Air Personalities (as they are called today), sometimes we are confused about what to do in various circumstances and when we take that step or make that move, it may be that something has gone wrong with that 1 move then we find out that we have flouted a rule or the station’s regulations and we incur the wrath of our employers and sometimes it’s a SACK.
So I reckoned that young presenters of today need guidance, they need mentoring and these can only happen for those willing to seek help through reading and training. I know that mistakes are a part of learning but having a fore knowledge about something can help position these personalities for a better outing on their jobs.
The book contains some of the Mistakes I made as a regular presenter at the various places I have worked and some others mistakes I saw people make in the course of their jobs so basically it is just a guide to help presenters avoid the mines in the field as they settle into the game of Presentation or Production.
My Initiative for Widows; Women Awareness for Sustainable Empowerment Initiative (WASEI)
I recently started to focus a lot of attention on widows because I became a widow in 2018 but my NGO, Women Awareness for Sustainable Empowerment Initiative (WASEI) was born in 2008 and we were mostly about creating Awareness and providing Empowerment for women, yes we had some activities for widows but it was not a major thing for the NGO but as the years progressed, I found that this group of women were amongst the vulnerable groups so we started to pay measurable attention but things changed and became specific when I found myself in that category of persons and I felt there was the need to use my voice and my platform to project the issues and engineer change no matter how small it is.
Challenges of being a Presenter and Philantropist
There are challenges in different professions and as a Presenter, I had my fair share of challenges and I chose to step over them and not allow these to draw me back. Our kind of job is something that takes all of you so those around you must be willing to not be a stumbling block in your career. I was out of the house most of the time, I remember there was a time I didn’t go to church for close to 4years because I was running the Sunday shift at the radio station and that was the job so I had to do it and I loved it because I could share scriptures with my audience in the course of the programme. Even when I became a manager, it had its own challenge also, working in a place that runs a 24hour schedule so I had my staff calling me at any time for one thing or the other and my husband just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t switch off my phone and I had to make him understand that there were persons who could want to reach me even when I am not at work.
I remember years ago while working with TVC, I put my phones on silent mode and went to sleep unfortunately there was a fire incident 3 streets away from me and the fire billowed I reckoned people tried reaching me cos some knew where I worked and some felt I could have the numbers of the fire service but I didn’t pick, I woke up to see so many missed calls and when I got there pushing through the crowd, lives had been lost. So our job is very peculiar with its fair share of challenges but I have been able to manage. I will not consider myself a Philanthropist per-se because I don’t even have the money to reach out to people as I would love to but from the little that I have, I try to meet a need or two from time to time but I have also found out that people reach out to me to help give money out to people who need it so yes from time to time, I raise requests on my social media handles and well meaning individuals send in their little token that is shared amongst persons in need. Through this, I have met many persons who really need help to get by in life. It gives me joy to touch the lives of those in need.
3 women who inspire you to be better and why
Reverend Dele George of the Little Saints Orphanage has always been an Inspiration for me and the admiration started from the day I went to interview her and she told me her story about how she started taking care of motherless babies, it blew me away because it simply opened my eyes to the fact that even with your own biological children, it takes nothing away from you to look after other children who don’t have a home or parents of their own so I had to follow her work and I am still following.
Another woman is Mrs. Bimbo Oloyede, the Veteran Broadcaster, there is something about her, she is very professional, calm and always ready to listen to you and act if she has to do anything about your matter or request. This is a woman I have followed over time and she has inspired me in the area of my career.
My greatest inspiration is my Mother, Kind, Tolerant, full of Wisdom, Patient, Loving and very intelligent in her thinking, sometimes I wish I was half of what my mother is and I love her to bits!
Key nuggets for aspiring OAP’s who are still trying to find their voice in the Industry
These are some of the things I share with young and aspiring Presenters just so they prepare their minds for the job.
“If you mess up, your fans may lose respect for you in a heartbeat; you may not get the roles you want anymore and someone can replace you”
“Self-branding, like fame, just doesn’t happen overnight; it is a well-calculated, well-planned effort”
“Seek knowledge because it helps you to blend-in during conversations with other people”
“If you want to grow on the job, you have to keep an open mind and remain green so that you can continue to grow”
“Mentoring is key for any young presenter who wants to go far on the job”
“As a young presenter you have to grow on the job and your station is the platform you need to carve a niche for yourself”
“To stay afloat, presenters had to be creative and come up with original content”
“Getting angry and becoming flippant or rude won’t earn you any respect”
Being a Woman of Rubies
Now this is a tricky one, I know Ruby is a very precious Gem so I am thinking it is left for people who have had dealings with you or interacted with you to determine how precious you are or why you should be a Woman of Rubies but I know I have been an inspiration to many but I always prefer that my work or actions speak for me.
How to get my Book
They can get the book by ordering copies. It is N4,000 per copy and payment can be made to 1002133134 Zenith Bank (Ify Onyegbule) thereafter they have to send a delivery address by text to 08026265478.