Gospel is my core constituency, I have never bought any Olamide, Don Jazzy, Wizkid or Davido's CD, to name them, but I am aware of their latest songs, I heard them on radio. In fact I heard almost all of them on a particular radio station - 92.3 Inspiration FM.
92.3 Inspiration FM was initially one of the radio stations that revolutionized "gospel" music airing on radio. Those were the hay days when Dan Foster worked at the station. Days when Chaz B ran the award winning talk show - Sharing Life Issues With Chaz B, the talk show that took on the airwaves and drove unprecedented listener-ship to Inspiration FM. Inspiration FM started way after other radio stations like Cool FM and Rhythm, Dan Foster and Chaz B jointly drove the listener-ship of the radio station to number 1 in Nigeria, they won numerous awards along side too. They became the two of the most celebrated On Air Personalities in Nigeria, with fame that bordered on legendary, so great that any presenter that worked with them assumed superstar status, Wana Wana for instance, Rufai Oseni, Bella-Rose Okogie, just to name the few. And guess what, their basic content was gospel.
Dan single-handedly promoted so many budding music artistes by giving them airplay when no other radio station cared. Ajuju, Nosa, Efe, one other guy that I heard was visually impaired (can't recall his name now) and others too numerous to mention. The fans liked the music, adored Dan Foster and spent their money at Inspiration FM. Before long Inspiration FM's fame grew in leaps and bounds.
The first time I heard "Chante Halleluyah" by Ajuju, the song stuck and everyone who heard it loved it, the laid back feel of the song, the close-to-traditional instrument they employed, the beautiful and sensational lyrics. I heard it first and only on Inspiration FM and the song made waves. What of "I Go Always Pray For You" and "I go Pray" both by Nosa, deep, solemn, engaging piece of music, I heard them first on Inspiration FM and that is the only station that I ever heard them on. What of that Song by Efe " The Lord is King", inspirational, clean, beloved. They are beautiful piece of music no doubt, and were break through singles for those artists that did them. They were break through singles because they were played on radio. But since Dan Foster and Chaz B left, not one new gospel song has made it through Inspiration FM.
Radio is the single biggest medium employed by artistes to promote their song. So most artistes will do all they can to get air-play as they call it. I recall that when Don Jazzy and the Marvin records produced Doro Bucci, the airplay they received made the song become instantly successful, I will not even bother about singles from Wizkid, Olamide, Flavour, Phyno, Davido, just to mention a few. If airplay is so important to the success of a song in the market, why would some artistes be denied air-play because their song is gospel? My summation, radio station are marginalizing gospel artistes period!
I can bet that the best of these guys are not better than their gospel counterparts, but the radio stations marginalize the gospel artistes by simply categorizing them as gospel, box their songs away and deny them airplay. The marginalization create an unfair and un-equal playing field for the artistes, and they deserve more. No one has spoken about it because most people have not taken cognizance of the dynamics at play in that industry and at radio stations. Radio station categorize the music so they can flay them and box them away. They do so on the guise that NCC has a restriction on religious materials and they try to place gospel music in that mode and We demand equal time. Inspiration FM, I am protesting.
If you can play "Omo Wobe" with the lewd Yoruba lyrics, why can't you play "I go Pray" by Nosa. You are unfair sir. You categorize "I Go Pray" not minding the hardwork that went into it and the beauty of the music, but you promote "Omo Wobe" and play it at premium time as we drive to work. We demand equal attention. If you can play "Ojuelegba", you can play "Oghene doo", if you can play "Doro Bucci", you can play "The Lord is King".
Radio stations, stop categorizing gospel singers. You did not categorize all the lewd violence and greed filled songs that you play freely morning afternoon and night, whether we like them or not Why would you categorize the clean, positive, godly music and deny them airplay and discriminate against them and the artistes? We demand equal air-play for gospel artistes too.
if you did not categorize all the fuji and juju music, including the Apala from Kwam 1 etc, why would you categories fuji song from Dekunle Fuji and Mike Abdul? Are they not all fuji? If you did not categorize Bez' songs, why would you categorize Nosa's song. It is unfair hypocrisy! We demand equal airplay.
My particular protest is also against Inspiration FM. I am an aggrieved fan. You took us so high, and then decided to crash us without notice. The radio station has been running from the "gospel" audience. I understand when you say you are not a gospel radio station, I know Nigeria does not licence religious stations, but you are Inspiration FM. You do not need to move to the other extreme and marginalize anything has bears the appendage "gospel" because you do not want to be associated with that brand. That is what you have done. You are owned and financed by someone whose constituency is also gospel. You became popular because people with the so called "gospel" appendage felt they could hear un-categorized wholesome music played without discrimination from your station, but you are failing us! You made huge profit in your first year because we became your market, put our businesses on your station, put our events on your station, came on live appearances on your station, gave you whole businesses that we could have shared with other radio station, but you became popular and decided to dump our constituency because you wanted to prove a point.
What I am saying is, "Stop categorizing the music of artistes because they wear a gospel appendage, give them the same attention and airplay you have been giving to Doro Bucci and co". If you say music is music and you can play some type at prime time, then it unfair not to play other people's song because of the "gospel" appellage you have given them, which you have used as an excuse to sideline them and relegate them to Sunday morning when not many people are listening anyway.
I rest my case.