Monday, 14 April 2014

Careers: On Air Personality/Radio Presenter

Ace OAP on Nigeria Info FM 99.3, Zoe Chinaka tells
us what it takes to have her job 
Zoe Chinaka is a radio presenter on 99.3 Nigeria Info FM Station. Yeah, those people that many people now call On Air Personalities (OAP) but Zoe thinks that this appellation is misconceived. “I think it’s wrongly called OAP because the word was coined from people who have made a name from coming very frequently on air with presenters; more like friends of shows but here in Nigeria, it adds up for presenters with personalities,” she says.

Zoe (@ZoeChinaka on Twitter) is a great lover of football. She supports Real Madrid and is in love with Cristiano Ronaldo. “I’m in love with him (Ronaldo),” she says.

Zoe is also a singer. She got professionally discovered in the first season of Nigerian Idol in 2011. She now does her own thing musically. Says her “I do inspirational music, that is any music that carries a message. I’m not a commercial singer. I don’t do songs set out to make the clubs jam.”

Well, this interview is really about her job and so I caught up with her on the Island to ask the hard questions…. How can we also be radio presenters? Is the job all it’s hyped up to be?

What inspired you to be an On Air Presenter?
I initially wanted to study Law but ended up getting a degree in Mass Communication. I started out doing a Diploma in Law but I did not make the cut off mark for Law and so I had to make a decision whether or not to take the course I got through JAMB which was Mass Communication. My mum always felt I argue a lot so she said I should go for Mass Communication if law wasn’t working and that how I ended up studying Mass Communication. I was further encouraged by my mum who loves listening to me listening to the news.

Describe a typical day and what your job involves
It depends on the shift really. I work the 2 pm to 8 pm shift. My typical day involves waking up and think of what my day will be like. You then prepare your work for the day and send it off as an official email. The email list the topics you are going to be talking about for the day and the different angles you are going to be tackling them from. Then I get to the office and after signing, I take time to further reflect on the topics of the day so I don’t get on air and sound stupid. It’s important in my job to be informed and so I read up a lot every morning and then have a chat with my co-anchor to set the tone for the discussions we will be having on air. Then, I get into the studio, open stuff on the system and he it doesn’t crash on you and you give it a go.

The best bit about being an OAP is…..?
For me it’s the access it gives to you. In the sense that people should take you seriously when you say “I want to see you.” It also brings people to you. I’m not talking about fans. It has broadened my horizons. It has broken every anti-politics bone in me, I am now very pro-politics. In one word, I would say that the best bit of it is learning.

The worst bit of being an OAP is…..?
There is almost no end to it for me. I have to be very informed so the night before, I still have to know what’s happening. It’s almost like I never really close from work.

What are the personal qualities required to be an OAP?
Have a style of communication. Be convincing and be relatable. So you may not be the nicest person off air but on air, you have to be very accommodating and tolerant. You have to be willing to learn and be willing to listen too.

How do we get your job? What are the academic qualifications required to be an OAP?
It is really about the way you express yourself. If I were to go old school though, I would say study something in the line of talking. In this respect, Lawyers come close but of course the main course of study is Mass Communication. It however is not strictly about what you read in school these days. It’s about your expression and your ability to convince people.

The Dosh File
Kindly answer these questions by rating them in relation to your job on a scale of 1 – 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.
Pay: 2
Hours: 2
Perks: 3
Effort to get the job: 1 1/2
Stress: 2
Glamour: 3

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