“My passion for broadcasting brought me this far “- Greg Odutayo, MD Royal Roots
By Rita Chioma
In a recent interview with Allure Vanguard, the founder of Royal Roots, owners of R2FM & R2TV, Greg Odutayo, spoke at length on the reasons he extended his business arms from movies and TV Soaps production to Radio and TV.
The multiple award wining producer also highlighted the major problems of running a broadcasting media in Nigeria considering the present economic status.
Why did you settle on the name Royal Roots?
That name came up because we want to do things the royal way. We want to do things differently and in a unique way. We are also firm believers in God; as our root. As path of our direction. We believe God is the root of the company and He is royalty too. The meaning of Royal Root is abstract, so to say.
You started with TV productions before you went into broadcasting, what inspired that step?
Royal Roots started about 21 years ago. We started with radio productions, before we went into TV productions. Along the line, we did a bit of events management and all of that.
But our strong niche is in TV production. Our root is radio. The decision we took to go back to radio is like going back to our root; where we actually started from. We are firm believers in radio. We love radio. In fact radio made the first big money for Royal Roots, so it’s not strange that we choose to go back to radio. There’s more connection with your audience on radio than TV. Our aim is to establish a media platform that has a synergy with one another, that’s why we came up with a Radio and TV stations.
Why Ibadan for the location of the Radio Station?
For me, I’d ask, why not Ibadan? Well, the technical reason is that there no more frequencies in Lagos. But why not Ibadan? Interestingly, it has the second largest number of radio stations, after Lagos. There is something in Ibadan. It’s like a second Lagos but calmer and exciting; in it own way though. It’s even safer.
There a whole lots to catch up with in Ibadan. They have lots of students and tertiary institutions which are our primary target.
Come to think of it, when we came into Ibadan, we noticed they wanted more than what they were getting from other radio stations, so we came to their rescue.
It was easy for us to get our targeted audience, since almost all the radio stations there are speaking Yoruba, so we brought fresh and exciting English speaking programs to tantalize the students.
We really brought back excitement to radio in Ibadan. We don’t do impulsive presentation. Whatever we do on our station is planned, every day.
So, you are basically an English oriented radio station?
Yes, all our programs are English. We don’t have any Yoruba or Pidgin program. We make it very educative, entertaining and inspiring for the youths, especially the students. We attract the 16- 25 year old youths. We also attract 35- 45, for those that still want to feel young.
What are the challenges you have faced so far, running this broadcast business?
One major challenge is infrastructure; power issues. To run a radio or TV station you need steady power supply which we currently lack in Nigeria. I mean a 24 hours constant light. For our TV we have 4 Generators on stand-by, then for the radio we have 2. And it hasn’t been easy funding the generators. We believe that someday we can make it work, we can’t run away from Nigeria or from business simply because of all these. It would surly get better some day.
Another challenge we are having is man power; human resources.
You’d be amazed that there are lots of young people out there who are looking for opportunities but they are not employable. Some of the youths that graduated from the universities are not employable. But we don’t turn anybody back, instead we try to build their talents and strength to suit our goals.
Most of the people we hired has just little experience, while others don’t even have any, but we made them turn out what we need them to be. We looked more for attitude rather than aptitude before taking decisions on Presenters. We don’t allow Presenters or Staff walk in with their cabbages. We train them to R2 standard.
So, what’s that R2 standard, what do you look out for in a potential presenter?
Youthfulness, intelligence, the right attitude, energy, those are things we look out for.
Where do you see the brand R2 in 5 years?
5 years is to far. We want to set a standard and be a media giant. We have tried that we do things differently, so that we can be unique and different. We are also socially responsible. It’s very important. A lot of us as media are not socially responsible. Take for example in America, what you hear on TV everyday is that if you get to commit a crime, you’d be caught by the FBI or CIA or their likes within 24 hours, but in reality it’s not so. But that’s what their media is pushing it out to scare off intending robbers.
But media in Nigeria is not responsible enough. We push our more about the negative parts of the country. Which is very bad. We shouldn’t always project our problems to the outside world.
The crime rate in South Africa is fantastic, yet they say their country is better than ours. But it’s not so.
Here in R2 TV and Radio we try our own little way to project Nigeria in a very beautiful way. Let’s preach more positive things to our youths.
What’s your take on this speculations about the President’s health?
Well, we don’t do politics or hard news. That’s one unique thing about R2. We just want to entertain people and not bring sad news about the country to their faces. We are a happy station.