How I Started Broadcasting From Secondary School
An exclusive interview with veteran radio McCoy and globetrotting DJ; Segun Shyllon popularly called ShyShy Shyllon, the Ogun State born OAP who started broadcasting as a secondary school leaver before he travelled to the UK where he sojourned for 15 years and studied Digital Broadcast Media spoke to Sunday Obembe on his early days as a rookie presenter and the state of broadcasting in Nigeria amongst other issues.
How did the journey started for you?
I will say it’s been a very fruitful journey, it wasn’t very rosy at the early stage because broadcasting was a very serious entity because of the training you have to go through before you can get behind the microphone for other people to hear you out, unlike now that everybody think it’s something easy that they can just jump into. But regardless of that, it has to do with passion and the extra gifts God gave you. I started with the very best hand in the industry and it’s been a successful journey for me at this stage that I found myself in the recent time of broadcasting.
Did you plan being a broadcaster someday from the onset?
No, I was born in a music family, my dad is a great keyboardist but I was meant to follow his part having been a royal organists, but along the line I started to roll with my big brothers, uncles, we went to parties and I helped them to carry record and that’s when I develop interest in disc jockey, before I eventually got to radio. It started right from the time I left my primary school, I started to do DJ at gigs, birthday parties and stuffs and they allow me to even play the first session before the party gets hot up and one time I just realized that there was only one radio station in my town then which is OGBC they don’t even have the FM station, then it was the AM station, and one of my big uncles was actually one of the OAP’s way-back then and it was through him I develop the passion for radio and it just grew out of proportion when I now passed out from my secondary school. I went for my 1st auditioning which I wasn’t taken then because I was the youngest among the people that went for the auditioning. I got some experience from my uncle, he saw the enthusiasm in me and the passion that I really love playing music, so he asked me to follow him to the station and sat by him to see how it’s been done and by the time I went for my second auditioning, I was the first to be picked so that is how I started my straight journey into broadcasting.
What is the major attribute of a good OAP?
The quality of a good OAP is for you to be able to know how to carry your audience along with whatever you do by putting yourself in their shoes like you are the one at home listening to a very good voice, well coordinated and competent person that will drive you along with whatever show that he or she is doing. And you have to really know when not too open the microphone to talk. Not just by talking nonsense or saying jargons makes you a good OAP, and to have this quality you have to be really competent in how you arrange yourself and how you open the microphone to say anything and having the right materials to work with at the same time.
How did you joggle between school and broadcasting?
As at the time I was in OGBC, I just had my school certificate experience and I don’t know if it has happened before, I was the only person picked out of 65 people that came for the auditioning. So I was completely focused on broadcasting then and when I left OGBC for Raypower that I enrolled at Ogun State Polytechnic now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to further my education. It was very hectic because every single day I had to be in school and at the same time go to Raypower to work but that was possible by the help of the owner of Raypower. I am showing my appreciation to Chief Dr. Raymond Dokpesi who gave me the extreme chance to further my education which was paramount to him because it’s that platform that made me who I am today.
How did you handle pressures from the female folks?
Truly speaking its even different now that am older because I used to be a shy person and that’s how the name Shyshy Shyllon was given to me. It wasn't an easy task but the fact that I was been raised by mother that taught me a whole lots of about handling the female folks and I was just too shy to even call or approach a lady but seriously they kept coming through that I developed that little boldness and I got stocked with one before I traveled out of the country.
Can you talk about any weird encounter with a female fan?
Hmm…. my brother don’t let us go to that area.
How did you come across the name ShyShy?
It’s a great name given to me by the guru in the business, actually when I was at OGBC, I used to call myself Royal Santonic, on my second broadcast having to work on an afternoon belt so they asked these veterans to listen to all the people that were talking then, I think we were about five actually, so I have never met them before until my third time on air when both of them came to me. May the soul of one of them rest in peace and that is uncle Femi Fashina, the Dean of the Old School came with Femi Showolu, a huge veteran in the business. Femi Showolu said to me that “I like your nickname but having looked at you and the way you sound on air, I am going to give you a name and I am sure the name will take you far beyond your imagination” and that how ShyShy Shyllon came up.
Why did you leave the country for UK, at a point where you were hot on air?
Well as an outsider, you won’t understand the pressure we are going through in the business. I am privilege to be one of the highest paid presenter then even up till now but human destiny lies in God’s hands and our surrounding and whatever one has to go through in life. So, I think that journey was bound to be and today I had no regret because everything happened for good. I travelled out to acquire more knowledge because the popularity was getting out of hands that time and I wanted to build myself because there are so many international presenters that I look up to and I know there was something missing in the way we do our presentations here. It is just what I wanted to develop in me and when the opportunity came, to God be the glory, I had my degree in Digital Broadcast Media from Teems Valley University which was a very intensive course and I was among the first set to go through that course. I had my two kids in London, I achieved a whole lots of things at the same time and achieved things that I know I wouldn’t have been able to achieve way back then but now am more than just OAP I can extremely manage a whole station and run it beautifully which is what I did when I came back from London to be the station manager of Rainbow FM before I left there for Star FM.
How would you describe your experience as an undergraduate in UK?
It was a great one, I was able to roll with who is who in the industry, it was a huge experience having travelled round the globe to do what I enjoy most and every single experience adds up to my skills that I am able to achieve and be proud of today. This is the biggest thing ever in my life which got to do with the study of the course I went for because it was extremely comprehensive, I worked with the best media outlets in London.
What’s your comparison of the state of broadcasting in Nigeria and UK?
The quality has really dropped here; it’s so painful to know that a lot of things have changed within the business set up. Unlike there where they have a lot to achieve competing with others in terms of technology and programme, while here as long as you have the money to acquire the license and the fact that you don’t even have the sense of business makes you to just misbehave and treat your staff anyhow. It’s not done properly here because I can’t imagine a radio owner telling a presenter to go and sort for adverts and stuffs like that and when such presenter goes out to sort for adverts before coming, where will he or she get the inspiration from? There should be separate departments for gurus in marketing to handle that. A presenter should have a script writer, a producer in order for them to deliver and give their best that is when a presenter can be settled to give their best. In the UK they ensure that presenters are not stressed because they see them as pilots, so they make sure their brain is settled for them to give their anytime they go on air. And it invariably determines the quality of the programme. Many radio owners; sorry to say don’t know this but it’s the truth, so you can’t compare Nigeria with UK in terms of the standard of programme broadcast.
How was your growing up like?
I am from a happy family and been an easy going person, I have few friends but growing up with my families and the few friends I had is what I can say, thank God for the good life because I am just a regular person and growing up wasn't a hardship for me. Though I wish my dad’s still alive today to see what his kid has been able to achieve for himself.
What is style to you?
Style to me is you being your normal self, if you are a T-shirt person, wear your T-shirt, and if you want to dress formal just be your normal self, make sure you do things that suits you personally because that is the only way people will be comfortable with you, but if you try to do what you are not, you’re faking yourself and that isn't style to me.
What is your favourite fashion accessory?
Blings-blings, I love blings but not very loud ones, just simple and nice. Also I have a fashion label that is in the pipeline.
How do you relax?
I love action movies, I love comedies and I don’t know how people get bored but I have been able to overcome being bored because I am a very homely person, all I want to do is sit back and relax and enjoy movie and listen to music.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Good music, sweet music, music that you will hear and be inspired and I cherish whoever spent time in the studio to bring out the quality of the talent in them.
What is your advice for young people seeking out a career?
One thing is for you to be focused even if along the line there’s going to be some challenges and obstacles, but having to stay focused and know where you are going the world will make way for you. Stay focused, don’t get distracted because for you to achieve your aim you need to know what you want in life and chase it at once, with time it definitely be yours.
What is your philosophy about life?
Live good; think good and do good.
What is your advice for young people who feel they have talents but haven’t gone through any higher education?
I will advice them to first chase and develop the talent because now we have all been able to see that we don’t have to go to school to achieve your dreams but if you have the privilege to go to school and acquire more knowledge, please do. And if don’t have the opportunity and money just develop your talents and as soon as you start making money, ensure you go to school, because without education you are nowhere.