Undoubtedly, the emergence of first Sport Radio, 88.9 Brila FM has since 15years ago changed the face of Sport Broadcasting in Nigeria. Coupled with Entertainment, Educative, News and Current Affairs programmes in addition has also makes it a complete brand that is envy locally and internationally. In the past years, Brila FM has evolved, moving with the fast pace of technology across the world in a bid to deliver world standard broadcasting, especially as it concerns football and every other sports. In a chat with TimelineNG as the company reaches another milestone of uninterrupted broadcasting on October 1st 2017, Chairman/ CEO Brila FM, Dr Larry Izamoje is upbeat and optimistic of greater years ahead. The ace sport broadcaster expresses appreciation, satisfaction with the level of acceptance and gives God the glory for the feat achieved so far. . Q. Sir, 15 years of Sport Radio broadcasting , the first in this part of the world, what are the significance?
Ans; Meeting the sports information,education and entertainment needs of listeners and providing a platform for them to also be heard
Q. What are some of the age-long targets of the Station that you will confidently said the company has met, to the glory of God?
Ans: Making more people love sports and see us as the reference point for what we do
Q Similarly, what are some of the achievement you never envisage in your wildest dream, which the Station has recorded now?
Ans: The level of acceptance home and abroad.
Q Much after the opening of Sport Radio, we seems to be experiencing lots of sport programmes on other regular Radio Stations, especially football program and analysis. Do you think emergence of Brila FM prompted them in going that way?
Ans: Stations look for what appeals to their audience. I think they are doing what the audience years for.
Q. In another first, you have secured the services of former Super Eagles player, Ifeanyi Udeze to be part of your team, how were you able to do that?
Ans: He is onboard as an analyst, an expert.We re-strategized in-house and decided that to co-incide with our 15th anniversary we have to raise the bar by getting people with first hand soccer experience onboard. You can't know more about the English league ,for example, than someone who has travelled all the venues,played there,followed the EPL rules,faced top flight coaches and met face-to-face with the biggest stars.
Q. What kind of relationship exists between you and your staff and do you still have some that has being with you since inception 15years ago?
Ans: Cordial ,very cordial and we still have some that started with us even before Brila became a radio station.Those who go against the company's rules by duplicating our kind of service for self or others on different platforms or who start their businesses and start challenging the policies that made them see the Brila they applied to in the first place are encouraged to go or asked to go.
Q. So, how are you keeping up the pace to continue in setting the standard?
Ans: By keeping faith in God and ensuring the policies that have helped the company grow are abided with always. Even in the Garden of Eden, there were rules.
Q. You came out with a distinctive style of presentation which really captivated many of your listeners even many of your staff took to that. Do you have a training school for that?
Ans; We are constantly evolving and re-strategizing. We do a lot of coaching but not in the classroom format,if that is what you mean.We also look at how society is changing and adapt styles and programmes to them.Generally,presenters are told our cardinal rule,be racy and pacy and excited.It is not my style but the Brila style .With that as foundation, they are allowed to infuse their creative elements and so you find they all are excited,racy and pacy and yet different in their individual ways because of the add-on they put.
Q What is the current rate of listenership of the Station lately?
Ans: Superb because of our pan-Nigeria presence ,streaming on www.brila.net, our social media handles and the constant engagement online that take them back to radio.
Q. In the last 15years, the Brila FM has grown to open other stations in Onitsha, Kaduna and Abuja. How are they fairing and apart from Lagos which one can we rate as second in order of listenership?
Ans: Tough to tell because everytime the lines are open, calls are ceaseless on each station but if we go by the population per city and love of sports ,may be Onitsha, just maybe and also because Asaba is a boundary town so two big cities together.
Q. The Station has also cued in to reporting vie Social Media and getting feedbacks, how would you rate this so far?
Ans; We saw it is the future.We mainly engage our listeners with it and it has been wonderful
Q. Many of the young new listeners of the Station still don't know how the name 'Brila' came up and what informed it. Can you please tell us?
Ans; My very dear wife is Bridget and I am Larry. We took the first three letters of her name (Bri) and the first two of mine (La) and got Brila.
Q. How supportive has been your wife working at the background to the success of Brila Group today?
Ans: Very very supportive. She is not only my wife and mother of our three children,now ladies but also my business partner.She directly runs our Printing Press and does advisory services on monitored content as well as provides corporate governance ideas for the group as that is the area she specialized at masters degree level.
Q Are we going to see any of your daughter working administratively in Sport Radio soon?
Ans: May not be in the broad sense of administration soon but now, one of them ,Debbie, does Image and Social Media Management for us being an expert in that area having relocated back home after studies abroad. She also writes columns for Thisday and BellaNaija amongst others.
Q. Recently two of your staff ( now left) were in the news, with one of them Murphy Ijemba trying to drag the company's name into mud, though he has now apologized retracting all he said. Could you please let your numerous fans hear it from horses mouth what really happened?
Ans: I don't know of the apology,may be pre-medidated ,but I wondered why he went that far in the first place.I was shocked they rejected changes in shifts that took only one to a belt where we needed a backup because someone there breached his contract and had to go and Murphy who was not moved from the evening belt took that path. We did not sack them as he made people believe before we issued an official statement.
Q. The Sport Radio has kept expanding, what are the newest addition into the content as well as expansion in terms of capacity?
Ans: Our @889brilafm social media handles are now the same across all platforms, we have a more robust www.brila.net website that covers lifestyle and betting services amongst others,we now provide virtual media experiences via the website as presenters can be watched live and we have launched a Youtube TV channel called Brilasports.tv, a prelude a bigger roll-out.
Q. Many sees you as a role model and multimillionaire at the moment or do I say the company, how are you giving back to the society in terms of training younger generation in sport broadcasting? Ans I regularly do speaking events motivating them and almost always use my life to tell that hardwork does not kill. Recently, and I thank the National Broadcasting Commission,I was at Unilag giving younger sportscasters a talk at the NBC event. I do a lot of speaking engagements and have a motivational book titled Scoring Life's Goals that teaches perseverance,persistence ,keeping a positive attitude and pushing your way through to the next height making passion give rise to action.