Godwin Aruwayo, better known as First Voice, is an On Air Personality [OAP] in one of Nigeria’s most talked about radio stations, Naija FM 102.7 Lagos. He is the 5th child of his parents. He hails from Delta State. Godwin co-hosts the Morning Show with Ushbebe and Sabrina every week day. He is the first man to run daily sport show on Wazobia Fm. This brilliant broadcaster is also the first to go on air for Naija Fm 102.7 and he also plays host to the first show for the station. That is why they call him ‘First Voice’. City People Entertainment Reporter, PRECIOUS POMAA, recently had an interview with him and he talked about his journey as an OAP.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Godwin Aruwayo , I am an On Air Personality [OAP] a radio host and a farmer. I own a farm and I work with Naija Fm 102.7. In a nutshell, I am an entertainer. I started as a Journalist. I was a senior staff reporter with Daily Sun before I moved to radio. I am also a trained TV presenter and producer. I produced for HITV when it was still active.
Take us through your family and educational background?
I was born into a family of 7 and I am the 5th born. I was born in Lagos, my parents are from Delta State. I was born at Ajegunle, I schooled at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna state.I studied Agric Engineering. I got married in 2007, that’s 12 years now and I have 3 beautiful kids, that’s basically my background.
You are a farmer?
Oh, yeah! I have a snail farm. I studied Agric Engineering in school, that’s why I am a farmer.
How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the industry for 11 years, from 2008 to 2019.
In those 11 years of being in the industry, what would you say were the challenges you’ve faced?
There were several challenges in my 11 years on radio. One of the challenges is the popularity. So many people assume you earn what you don’t earn. One thing people need to know is that working in a radio station, the pay is not like working in an oil company or working in a bank.
They just think that the fact that they hear your voice on air means you’re making a lot of money. So, the demand that your family members, loved ones and friends place on you is scary. Even the listeners out there would think you must be very rich. There is a lot of money on radio, but it doesn’t pay that much.
It gets to a stage where you start earning good money and that comes with experience.And sometimes, you might be lucky enough to be in a position where some brands like you and they come to sponsor your show, then you get presenter’s fee and other tips.
But basically, the salary is not that big. Nevertheless, there are entertainers who earn close to millions in a month. So, now it all depends on how long you’ve been in the industry, how valuable and how big your name is. When I wanted to go into radio, they told us point blank that we would not be earning salary because no one has done daily pidgin sport on radio in Nigeria before.
They said they were not sure people or brands would like it. So, they would only place us on allowance and if after 3 months brands like it and decide to sponsor, then they would start paying us good salary. I decided to give it a trial even though I was still working with Daily Sun.
I combined both jobs. It however came to a point where I couldn’t combine them anymore, as the two were clashing and I decided to drop my job at Daily Sun for radio because I got a lot of experienced guys out there who told me that if I was a little more serious, that it would pay off much later.
So, basically, I started up receiving 20 thousand as allowance. In 2008, I was presenting Sports Yan on WazobiaFM. I was not a member of staff, I was working for Sport Vision, a football company. I earned 20 thousand naira for 8 months. After 8 months, we got sponsors that brought in good money then. From there, we started getting good salary and other things.
Part of the challenges is that if people hear your voice, they don’t know what you are going through, they believe it is all pleasure. To build the reputation and the name is important because I know that tomorrow would be better than today.
After all these, two and half years along the line, I got another offer from Naija FM and the salary was tripled. So, I would just say my progress was in stages. And another thing is people expect you to live the kind of life that musicians and comedians live, like driving the luxury cars and living in luxury house.
What would you say working as an On Air Personality has added to your life?
Well, it has added a lot. At least, I am not one of the OAPs that’ll say salary of OAP is not good. Because of my level and where I am. I earn quite a good salary, but those who are just coming in will not get that kind of salary. Someone like me earns good salery because I have been here for years, except if you are coming with a brand.
Like if you’ve made a name somewhere like being an instagram celebrity. But if you just want to start a career as a broadcaster in Nigeria, the pay is not fantastic. Last year, I had my show, One Chance with Godwin Aruwayo. I gave out 1 million naira to someone. The money didn’t come from my pocket, so at the end of the day, I didn’t spend anything. I had friends who came out to support, so I gave out 1 million naira and I got back more than that.
Why did you choose entertainment over what you studied in school?
I am a sports person. When I was in school, I used to compere departmental events, so I am someone who already knew how to talk from day one and I also knew what I was going to do in this life would have something to do with talking. I studied Agric Engineering not because I wanted to study it, but that was what I got. In school, I used to play host to events, I was the assistant sports director at one point. Then, I became the sports director.
I also played in the school team. All these things reflected in my CV. I am not one of the kids who just went to school and was reading only books, I participated in the school activities. I was just so involved, that’s why I didn’t finish with first class, though I didn’t finish with a bad result. I am multi-talented.
I enjoyed myself to the fullest. School didn’t pass through me I passed through school. So when I left school, I wanted to go and stay in the North and own a farm, but because of the religious crisis at the time, I couldn’t stay there.
I came back to Lagos after my service. I started business and at a point, I went into music. I had a gospel album to my credit. I launched it and I made about 1.5 million from it in 2006. It was produced by the late Ojb Jezreel. When I graduated, I was doing a whole lot of things.
I was also working with Multi-links, but I left the firm, because my boss was an Indian and you know how these guys treat people. So, I left because I was not going to be treated as an inferior being. Afterward, a pastor who just set up a church somewhere in Ajah asked me to help him set up his choir and he paid me monthly.
So, I sat one day and I was like, if I could be paid to set up a choir, I can do something else with music. And that was how I put all the songs I had in place and went to meet a producer and we produced that album. I got a lot of money from it. I rented my house and left my father’s house. I stopped singing because the Nigerian music industry couldn’t handle my kind of music.
One funny thing is I speak Pidgin very well, but I don’t know how to write it. I was also doing a lot of businesses. I had a business center where people come to browse.It’s not like these days that we have android phones everywhere. In those days, you still had to go to the internet café. I owned a viewing center and internet café I had my business and I was doing well. It was one of those days when I was listening to radio and I heard the presenter saying, “if you know you can do what I am doing better than the way I am doing it, but in pidgin, send your Cv”. So that was how I sent my CV,
I was called for audition and I ended up getting the offer. That was how I started doing Sports Yan, the first daily sports pidgin show on radio in Nigeria. It was me and some of my friends, Akin Lawal, the Programme Director of Naijafm Ibadan and Jude Otob, former Head of Sports at Wazobia.
We were placed on 20 thousand naira for 3 months. If we didn’t get people to like us or attract brands within those 3 months, we would all have lost our jobs. But we couldn’t actually get sponsors, but people loved the show and they said we couldn’t stop it. Five months down the line that’s a total of 8 months, we got a sports company that came to sponsor the show with over 4.5 million naira and that was how we hammered [laughs]. So, that was how I was moving up.
Gradually, I started with Daily Sun. From there, I heard about the audition on radio, but before then I had my business I was doing before NaijaFm came in 2010 and here I am always moving higher. Actually, last year, I turned 40 and it was my 10th year on radio, so I thought of what I could do to give back to the society, because my entire life has been a life of one chance.
I had one chance to impress that pastor, got a job in a newspaper, became a radio presenter, and to come to Naijafm. Anytime I try to do something, I get it at the first trial. That’s why I tagged my life One Chance, that’s why I decided to give someone One Chance with Godwin. That was basically how I came up with a name tag for that show and it was a massive success. That was how I got into entertainment officially. You know, I have been compering and paying host to events until I decided to get fully into the sector.
So, One Chance with Godwin, do you have plans of holding it this year?
Yes, I will, people said I should do it again. I am a man of the people, so, I have no choice. Actually, it was just supposed to be something I am using to celebrate my 10 years of being on radio and 40 years on earth, but people said they loved it and somepeople said they wanted to be part of my panel of judges. That, it’s a good platform for young people to come and display their talents. So, I am doing another one this year.
How do you cope doing all these under entertainment?
Being an OAP is one of the best jobs because it gives you more time to do whatever you want to do.For instance, I am only on air for 5 hours a day. If you take five hours out of 24, I have 19 hours to myself. If I sleep 6/7 hours, I still have like 12 hours and I don’t work weekends. I get to play host to events on weekends and they are mostly at nights, combining all of them. No rich man has one source of income.
That’s why Dangote is producing everything. The point is you just have to be able to manage your time because Nigeria is hard these days and you can’t be depending on one source of income and it’s very important to get a job that gives you time to do other things. Apart from that, there are so many benefits that come with being an OAP.
They are at your beck and call. A lot of artistes are your friends because they want you to play their songs, talk about them and every other thing. So, when you have an event, they come up to grace your event because when they have their own, you will help them to talk about it and all that. It’s just give and take. So as an OAP, if you are not lazy you can make a lot of money.