As Entertainment in Nigeria was taking a lift after years of dormancy, Synchronised broadcast such as Soundcity, MTV, Nigezie amongst others became independent cable stations and fixed the eyes of the world on the new crop of talents emerging from Nigeria secular fold. Entertainment became lucrative, foreign investors and multi-national companies plunged in to invest like they once did in the 80s.
Despite the boom in the entertainment industry, it could not extend its tentacles to Gospel artiste and audience. This problem loomed thus creating an imbalance which dispersed Gospel artistes and their audience such that there was no way to bring the Gospel genre practitioner under one umbrella.
During the ‘boom period,’ God was bathing a vision in the mind of Tola Omoniyi somewhere in a place of prayer, that will change the way Gospel Entertainment has been viewed in time past. On the 1st of June 2012, The vision became Praiseworld Radio.
It’s been 2 years now and the anniversary is just a day away at THE MANIFOLD PLACE, 85, IKORODU ROAD, FADEYI BUS STOP, LAGOS by 3PM. SelahAfrik’s Alex Amos engaged Praiseworld Radio team head Tola Omoniyi in a chat as he recalls the experiences of the past years.
Tola: First off, I love music! I have also been a radio addict from my childhood days. Getting to learn more about the influence and impact of the media on the lives of individuals, the family and our society at large, inspired me even more to be a positive player.
SelahAfrik: Did you studied broadcasting while in the university? Tell us about your education.
Tola: Actually, not really. I studied Water Resources Management (Hydrology) in the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Although I have a diploma in Public Relations and Radio Presentation, my major drive had always been broadcasting
SelahAfrik: How was the Praiseworld Radio vision conceived?
In September 2007, I was in a place of prayer and worship when I got the revelation of taking God’s praise and glory to the world via entertainment. By 2012, I got direction to start up the online radio project, considering the fact that the Nigerian Broadcast Commission currently doesn’t grant licenses for terrestrial radio to religious bodies, and also tapping into the future of broadcasting. Basically, there was a void that needed to be met.
SelahAfrik: It’s been 2 years, looking back at how you started and where you are now, can you describe how that makes you feel?
Tola: I feel really humbled. Nothing gives me as much fulfillment as hearing numerous testimonies from across the world on daily basis on how Praiseworld Radio has been a blessing to them. It’s also a very exciting feeling seeing purpose being fulfilled. The Praiseworld Team is a family with love so priceless. What we have is so dear and precious. That also encourages and motivates me.
SelahAfrik: What should we be looking out for in the Birthday edition of the Praise Party coming up this Sunday?
Tola: Okay, for those who have attended previous editions of Praise Parties, they sure have an idea how we get to turn up in a crazy praizy and ‘spontaneous’ way. Most times, we get so spontaneous you can’t predict what exactly will happen. One thing for sure by God’s grace – This Sunday, it would be much greater experience. Expect the best of music from our DJs – DJ A’Cube, DJ Flamz and DJ Mow; a lot of gospel celebrities you can network with and some really nice fingerfoods and cocktail to go along with it.
SelahAfrik: Where so you see Praiseworld Radio in the next 2 years?
Tola: I see a much more expanded reach and network. I also trust God for more avenues through which we can be a direct blessing to the needs of our listeners. Internet availability, connectivity and affordability will also get a lot better thereby making the medium very accessible to all and sundry.
SelahAfrik: You recently released a rap song during the Praiseworld bars project, should we be expecting more of that… Perhaps an album as well?
Tola: (Laughs) For now, no. A lot of people didn’t know I was an aspiring artiste from my teenage years. Yeah, I actually went to radio stations with my demo CDs and all that (Laughs). Anyway, the passion remains, but for now my mic in on the radio. However, I do have a music project in mind to be released in a couple of months.
SelahAfrik: T-shirt, Suit, Traditional attire or shorts…. If you have your way, which would you have on everyday?
Tola: You can hardly catch me on traditional attires. I’m working on that, though (laughs). At least I won’t wear jeans and t-shirt on my traditional wedding. (Laugh). We have a lot of fun while we work, so a regular day for me at work, you’ll likely catch me on jeans with a t-shirt/short of long sleeved shirt and a snickers with it. I feel a lot comfortable that way.
SelahAfrik: What do you do for leisure when you are not working?
Tola: I love family! I’m a family kinda guy. Family for me includes my very close friends as well. Sometimes, I’m not too happy I can’t give all the time I would have wanted to. So when I’m off work, I’m ‘family-ing’.
SelahAfrik: What’s your take on the present day Gospel Entertainment (industry)? Measure the growth and shortcomings.
Tola: I’m glad that the industry is growing really fast. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we have made significant progress which is a lot to thank God for at this time. Quality in delivery of gospel entertainment has improved remarkably, ranging from music to videos, events and media. The bar has been raised and expectation for excellence is now high. However, I’d like to chip in that the fact that it is gospel entertainment does not change the fact that it also is MINISTRY. This is the major issue that a lot of the players in this industry seem to forget. Whatever we do, we must not forget the fact that it is a calling, and God is counting on us to bring Him glory in the cause of it all.
Connect with Tola Omoniyi
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– Written by Alex Amos
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