By Oladeinde Olawoyin
Splash FM 105.5, Ibadan’s pioneer private radio station, clocked ten a few weeks ago, a friend just hinted me now. For every well-meaning Ibadan resident-indigene, Splash FM was more than a radio station: it was a phenomenon, a revolutionary force in the entrenchment of quality broadcasting, democratic ideals and, by extension, freedom of speech hinged on robust culture of polemics, in Oyo state.
Before its arrival, what we had were outfits that were loud megaphones of the government of the day; and the themes of public discourse were largely confined within the realm of performative sycophancy. Splash FM emerged and changed the game, giving the largely lethargic govt-owned platforms a good run for their money, literally forcing them to change their 17th century approaches to broadcasting. The station gave every dissenting voice a platform to vent their anger and frustrations.
To be sure, the station had its agenda, covert and otherwise; it was being run by humans, after all. The ‘Ibadan Agenda’ was, and perhaps still is, loud; and its political leaning was, quite understandably, somewhat pro-opposition. But the station was largely objective, ethical and professional in its contents delivery, performed creditably well as a dependable voice of the people, and acted fearlessly as THE watchdog of a government whose leadership philosophy at the time was deeply rooted in the politics of brigandage, patronage, thuggery and ‘Amala and Gbegiri’.
Splash was excellent in the delivery of its social responsibility roles, and it brought the news closer to the ordinary people, mostly unlettered folks at the grassroots. It redesigned and brought to the radar the early morning Yoruba newspaper review programme, ‘Tifun t’edo’, popularised by the duo of the immensely popular ‘Bayo o’ and ‘Kola o’, and of course Iyaafin Folake Otuyelu.
There were others who made the station tick: the super-brilliant Edmund Obilo, the radioman with baritone voice whose brilliance pales into nothingness when juxtaposed with his punchy, gutsy, no-holds-barred presentations. There was the equally brilliant, multi-talented novelist-broadcaster, Ifeoluwapo Adeniyi, as well as the sportsman, Tunde Olawuwo, a senior course mate and (Ramat) hostel-mate, first in Eruwa and later at the main campus of The Polytechnic Ibadan.
There were no dull moments on Saturdays in Ibadan, beginning with Edmund (and, later, Ife) on VOICES; the entertainment crew of Seun Oluwajana/ Tobi Oresanwo(?)/K-boogie/ Anne Nwaghodo (Now with Channels TV); and, of course, Tope Fadeyi’s hilarious Strictly Comedy.
On Sundays, there was the man with the golden voice: the ‘young old’ man, Alagba Kunle Olasope, with his immensely illuminating programme, ‘From the Editorials’.
Ronke Giwa, Don T, Jacobs Adeyemi and others made our weekdays super-exciting, and Splash gave us that Television-like entertainment across the week.
Ibadan is today a fertile land for radio broadcasting and I hear there are as many stations as there are humans in that city. But few radio enthusiasts who understand the genesis of the journey would acknowledge that Splash FM it was that redefined people-oriented radio broadcasting in Oyo state, nay other parts of the southwest—apart from Lagos perhaps, perhaps.
Since every human system is susceptible to change, I understand the station has gone through metamorphosis. I haven’t been to Ibadan in a while but I hear Michael Olatunbosun and others are doing just great, the ‘change’ notwithstanding.
Happy anniversary to everyone who has made the Splash FM dream a success. Congrats, our very own WHITE HOUSE, “Ile funfun balau”, Felele, Ibadan!
Oladeinde Olawoyin reports Business and Development for PREMIUM TIMES newspaper.