Bad news for struggling Lagos based radio station Inspiration FM 92.3 and its many listeners as a mass exodus of top staff might be ruining the year for them.
It has been discovered that a healthy number of workers including top radio presenters like Charles ‘Chaz B’ Bruce, Shola Thompson, Ada ‘Folustorm’ Ogunkeye and Shayo have all left the Victoria Island based station since February.
Insiders tell us the staff who left were very displeased with the way management ran the radio station and were practically fed up.
According to sources the company, owned by former MD of defunct Intercontinental Bank Erastus Akingbola was ‘no longer moving in the right direction’.
It’s over two years now since founding GM Wale Ewedemi left the station. And sources say some of the issues of that time still prevail, including external influence and, allegedly, a domineering management.
‘There are too many friends of Akingbola on the board that are doing nothing, they just sit there and make tacky decisions’, a staff who’d rather remain anonymous said over the weekend.
‘There were many ideas the staff would bring up, innovative ideas but they’d always play it down. It became too frustrating for some so I don’t blame those who left. They often acted completely clueless’.
Popular and seasoned OAP Shola Thompson who left the station for good in February (a few days after returning from his official leave) says the station’s management seemed not to have new ideas to take the station to the next level.
‘I don’t understand why we couldn’t take the station to the next level, we kept coming up with ideas and every single one we brought got shot down’, the former Rhythm FM OAP told NET over the phone. Thompson had been made ‘Head of Programmes’ while senior colleague Chaz B was away on medical treatment.
Chaz B also left this March, sources say, for same reasons. The presenter who anchors the very popular show ‘Sharing Life Issues’ opened up on how he left Inspiration. Explaining to his fans via Facebook he revealed that he gave a 30 day notice of resignation on March 1, 2013 with the intention to leave April 1, 2013 for his official vacation.
He was however shocked when the ‘Chairman’ told management on March 4, to pay him off and relieve him of his duties the very next day (March 5) and asked to leave the premises immediately.
‘I want all of you to know that I miss you and that I love you very much. I would NEVER just leave you the way it happened. However, look out for bigger and better things to come. I promise you’ll be hearing from me again on a much wider platform. Remain blessed’, Chaz wrote in a touching note to his many fans.
Folustorms who temporarily got her face on cable TV as a top finalist at the recently held MTV Base VJ Search has also thrown in the towel. ‘She’s got a bigger deal somewhere, what is she staying back for?’, a friend close to her said
Another person who said ‘bye-bye’ last February is Shayo due to a conflict of interest. The sports analyst anchored the Sports Edge program. Apparently, Shayo was an anchor on a syndicated show that ran on other stations. The management weren’t pleased with this.
‘I’m fine with Inspiration. I’m moving on to achieve my personal goals. If I’m still there, I wouldn’t move on. Now I’m out, I can focus more on my events planning. It was a personal decision to leave’, Shayo said
And another OAP Gbemileke ‘Oscar’ Oyinsan who has been with Inspiration for many years, has also left. He’s now pitched his tent with City FM as head of programmes.
Sources say another reason why the station hasn’t been able to breakthrough is that its brand is constantly being seen as a Gospel radio station. A huge part of that ‘blame’, those who spoke to us insist, goes to Dan Foster.
‘Dan brought this whole gospel feel to the station and made it quite popular, so people think the station is gospel-themed which is not. Now, because he is an ‘oyinbo’ man, the management can’t lay a finger on him’, another staff says.
Dan is one of the highest-paid OAPs in Nigeria. He moved from Cool FM to Inspiration on a N12m per annum deal, along with official residence and choice car.
We also spoke to an OAP who’s still working there. Wana Udobang says ‘everybody has a right to make decisions. We all have different paths, so I wish everybody the best’.
All calls and text messages directed to one of the station’s directors, veteran broadcaster Soni Irabor were not responded to as at Sunday. The station also failed to respond to email enquiries. But we confirmed that they’ve already started auditioning for new talent to take over from the departed staff
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