When it comes to radio presentation, give it to Dan Foster. From Washington D.C, United States, he is a broadcast and drama graduate of the Morgan State University, Baltimore. An award-winning radio personality, he started his radio career with Cool Fm, Lagos, from where he moved on to Inspiration Fm in 2008 before fnally berthing at City Fm in 2014 in a rebranding strategy. He currently hosts the ‘Morning Show’ on weekdays and ‘Praise Jam’ on Sundays. In this interview, with JUDITH FRANK-EDET, he speaks of his passion for radio and the secret to his mastery.
How do you feel being one of the top notch onair- personalities gracing Nigeria’s air space?
I feel honoured and grateful, really grateful, because experience counts and ever since I was a little kid, I just wanted to be good at something. I just wanted to be a professional, it just sounded like a big word to me then. I just kept saying that since I wasn’t the smartest kid in the class. There were smarter kids in my class that I resented. I wasn’t good at Math and I thought I was never going to make it. I just wanted to be good at something and I am glad that I found that thing that I am good at.
How has the journey been so far?
It has been great so far. I have so much content to give. I have learnt so much, and now the key is to give. The journey is now as you give, you just want to sit back and see what you will be receiving. So as I continue to give, I am just waiting to receive more of what I have done.
What is your typical day like?
It is getting up early in the morning that is tough. But I have no choice, I have to get up and start the day. But once I get up in the morning, I get going. Staying up late makes it a little rough. I have a problem sleeping and then I have to wake up early in the morning to be creative with the little time I managed to carve out to rest and to rejuvenate. I am still working that out. A normal day for me is getting to the offce between 5.15am to 5.30am. At about 6 am, I am ready to go. When I am in the shower in the mornings, I get lots of ideas hitting me up in the mornings. There are lots of things I want to talk about but those ideas really get to express themselves at 6.30am.
What would you say is responsible for your success on radio?
I think it would be my relationship with God, people and music. When I hear good music, it inspires me, it moves me. The anointing from certain songs motivates me, so does the word of God. I also believe my experience in life has also helped me; everything I have ever gone through, the good, the bad, all the people and places I have ever been, my upbringing, being passionate about people, being able to teach because if I wasn’t doing this, I will be a teacher. I am working on the business part of reaping where I sowed. I think winning so many awards and being number one is because I give to people. Making radio relevant is my goal because people have options, they don’t have to listen to you, so you have to do something really captivating to hold their attention.
How can I hold people’s attention, when I am speaking?
I think that comes naturally, it is a gift, because I can sense it when I am already boring people.
How did it all start for you?
For me radio is in tandem with acting and I liked doing a little acting and expressing myself when I was coming up. I loved reading out loud, I liked hearing my voice. I can articulate and I think that is a really good gift that I have. There are reports suggesting that you left Inspiration Fm because of clashes between you and Sony Irabor as well as your disrespect to authority.
How true is this?
Rumours! Rumours!! Rumours!!! I don’t know how that got out, but that is what happens sometimes when you leave a certain place. Some people even said I left Inspiration Fm because I was too much of a Christian and they didn’t want the radio station to be too much of a religious station. They said that I was turning it into a Bible School, or into a church. For me, I have the anointing to do my job and position Inspiration Fm the way it should be, which is to be a family oriented radio station that should focus on Godly values and things like that. I was the one that created the radio format and I designed it as a family radio. So anything that wasn’t in line with that format, I just thought it didn’t ft. So all of a sudden, they wanted to be more secular, bring in more alcohol and stuffs like that. But you can’t sit on the fence, you have to either stand for something or another and if you try messing up that brand, then it is going to be confusing. Yes there were a couple of clashes along the way but we worked it out. There is a word I learnt in Nigeria called bad belle. People have a lot of bad belle and when you leave, there is even worse belle going on. But I just let sleeping dogs lie. The Inspiration brand is still solid and they are doing well.
What is your relationship like with him now?
Soni Irabor is on the board of Inspiration Fm and he was part of the people that recommended me to work at Inspiration Fm. He was the one that hired me to be able to programme the inspiration format. So he was a good friend, he still is a good friend.
Do you think Inspiration Fm lost a lot of audience after you moved to CIty FM?
Of course, the fans and people that love you follow you. It’s a good thing. They follow the personality if they fnd the person to be honest and humble. For me, it is all about programming. I always have a unique way of programming because it is what I do. I am a radio consultant. I know all the good points and bad points of radio stations. I can make Smooth Fm so much better, I can make Classic Fm so much better, even WAZOBIA because I have got ideas to make that brand better. I am a true radio personality. You can prove that from what is happening in City Fm or any other radio station I go to next or when I fnally have my own radio station, I will prove it that I am a radio guru and I am able to meet people’s attention.
Are you planning to move to another radio station soon?
Right now my objective is to make sure that City Fm takes off fully and then we make a lot of noise about it. I am tuned into that now; how to fy the brand City Fm and make it better, that is my goal. However, you never know what happens because people move, they come and go. I can get hit with an offer or someone can say, Dan I have a new radio station, I want you to help me brand it and I will be glad to help them do that.
Are you saying that you could leave City Fm if you get a more mouth watery offer?
Definitely. I have got school fees to pay, I have got three children.
How do you relax?
I relax with my children, I teach them swimming and a host of other things. I teach by nature so I like spending time with them and teaching them great things. I have got a three year old, a five year old, a six year old and I have a teenager in America. I have my hands full. I relax spending time with them. You once said you hope to start a radio school.
How is it coming along?
It’s coming along really good. I want to start it before the year runs. I want to start training and holding seminars to teach radio presentation, how to get into radio. Some people don’t know how to get into radio and some others are trained but are still not able to learn the serious tactics on how to hold people’s attention and I can help them with those kind of things.
What do you think about fake accents in the radio industry?
When someone says you should say something in your radio voice, you want to be as natural as possible. I think gone are the days when you had to fake your voice to become someone else. If you are an actor or a comedian, you can probably hold on to it but a good communicator should be natural. If you go ahead and fake it, then it is a show. Naturalness helps you develop your true self, character and the true essence of who you are.