‘It’s been always passion for me to do television’
After her university education in the Unted States of America, Morayo Afolabi-Brown moved back home in 2004 to actualize her dream of having a voice in the media. Eventually, her career started with HiTV , aftre which she worked with other content companies. In 2012, she joined TVC Entertainment and is currently the Deputy Director Programmes for the station. In this interview with CHUKS NWANNE, Morayo, who is the host of popular breakfast TV show, Your View, spoke on her media career and the task of making TVC the number one choice in entertainment.
How did you get into the media?
I started my career in the media about 10 years ago; I’ve always wanted to be in the media. My father was an activist, the late Alao Aka Bashorun; he thought me how to speak my mind. So, I’m always in the media to speak. I started my career in HiTV, been to a few content companies; I write stories, shows. I’ve been here at TVC for four years now; it’s been always passion for me to do television. I went to school in the United States and moved back to Nigeria in 2004. Since then, I’ve always tried to find a way to be in the media.
You are currently the Deputy Director Programme for TVC, how has it been?
It’s been great because, my passion has always been programmes. When I got the job at TVC back in 2012, I was given the brief to turn TVC into a proper entertainment station; TVC then was like a newsy station. So, the brief was to engage content in the area of entertainment and see how we can make the station among the top entertainment channels. Since then, we’ve been very strategic in ensuring that we have the right kinds of programme; talk shows, games shows, children’s programmes, entertainment, drama… just to give us that entertainment feel and be able to compete well with other entertainment stations. So far, as the Deputy Director Programmes, my job is to ensure that our programmes are topnotch, even the ones we don’t produce.
One of your progammes, Your View, has become very popular on air, how did you come about the concept?
Well, living in the USA for 10 years, I used to watch similar programme of CBS and I watched it for so many years; I loved it so much. I knew that when I come back to Nigeria and get an opportunity to work with a TV station, I was going to replicate the programme. So, when I joined HiTV, I spoke to Toyin Subair about starting the programme but he said, ‘no, you are not a TV person…’ I told him that I want to do TV, but he won’t allow me. So, when I came to TVC, I spoke to the management and said, ‘thanks for the job, but I want to do a programme,’ and they were like, ‘sure, at your level, you can create whatever you want to create and do what you want to do.’
It seems you’ve always wanted to have an all women TV show?
I’ve always nursed that idea of a breakfast show where we will have women different women from different background (divorced, married, single, widows, all kind of women) with different kinds of views, just to see life from different perspectives. I wanted at platform where women who are bold, confident, women who have a sense of confident in what they’re doing to express their views.
How did you manage to get your co-presenters for the show?
God gave us the grace to get the right kind of women, trust me. For me, that’s my winning fomular. I had to audition all sorts of women, but somehow, I’ve got that right recipe for the show. So, it’s been great having different kinds of women come in. It’s amazing, the show has grown; nobody expected it to grow this much. Initially, they were begging me, ‘put one man there, you can’t just have only women talking. Are they going to be talking about marriages, relationship or market women?’ But I said, ‘no, I’ve seen this before; I’ve seen this format and it’s success in another country and I know it’s doable. I thank God that we marked our third anniversary on May 29; I’m pretty excited about that.
Your View comes with a lot of arguments, how do you manage the interests on set?
Honestly, it’s what I call grace because, the truth is that… as the convener, I have the vision in my head; I know what I’m trying to achieve. So, no matter the argument, I know I’m bringing out the juices to get different perspective. It’s not for you to argue, it’s not for you to say, ‘I’m better than you’ or you want to defend someone; we are not defending anybody. We are just saying, ‘this is my view, respect my view, that’s it.’It’s fine to disagree, but let’s disagree to agree. Your job is to express your views and let the viewers express their views too.
What informed your decision to take the show to homes of some of your fans?
We are trying to have another focus and do different things. We did that last year; I don’t think we’ve had that much this year. We realised we have a lot of fans on social media, people calling us on phone; some of them are upset that they cannot reach us because it’s jammed. So, we decided to make an effort to find these fans and go and surprised them in their homes. So, it’s about giving back. The objective of the show is to give option to the people.
What’s your target audience for Your Views?
Our real target audience is the men; we want men to understand us better. We want men to see what women can do. We want them to understand that we have views, we are not just working in the kitchen; we have ideas too. That’s our primary target, but our secondary target is the woman, to see their sisters and role models speak their minds. We have that target also, but we want to talk to the men, we try to let them understand us. If your woman is behaving in certain way, understand this is how we are; this is how we behave.
It seems you have more men calling into the show than women?
Yes, more men call us than women and that excites me because, that’s our target for the show.
What’s your take on present day Nigerian youths?
Generally, I think young people are just desperate; they need help, they need directions. I think that everybody, not just the government, must stand up to take responsibility. Families, acquaintances, TV people, everybody… let’s stand up and do what we can do for our young people.
What’s your take on the Girl Child advocacy?
Honestly, if I were asked to speak on the girl child campaign, I would say that the campaign should be focused on the fathers; my passion really is more on the men. I think we’ve missed it a lot with our young men, with our husbands, with our sons. You can preach to the gild child that it’s good to have education, you can preach to the society, but if you don’t get the father to be convinced and understand the importance of girl child education, she might never have that opportunity. We need to educate our men and fathers to understand and appreciate why a girl child should be educated. So, that will be where I will focus if I’m to do something on girl child.
What’s your everyday like?
Well, very early in the morning I go to the church for morning service. After that, I come to the office and do my makeup, get ready for Your View. After the show, I go for my post-production meeting and after that I go through my mail; usually, I have a lot of mails to respond to. Then I start attending meeting with my producers where I look at their reports and do follow up on what they are working on and issues concerning admin. By 1.30, go to pick up my child from school and come back to the office to wrap up whatever I have to do in the office. And at exactly 5pm on the dot, I’m out of the door.
You don’t joke with your closing time?
In fact, I’m proud to say that because Nigerians think that it’s by staying at work till 8pm that show they are hardworking. For me, 5pm is family time and I’m on the mode for house; my mind is already thinking of my kids, what are they eating for dinner, what’s my husband going to eat, I practically shut down for the day. I take pride in that because you get some people say, ‘you leave so early…’ and I’m like, ‘yea, I leave early and I’m proud of that.’
How do you relax?
With my kids, I love hanging out with my kinds. God blessed me with some amazing kids; when you come home and they run to you and you are like, ‘oh my goodness, I just want to stay here.’
How will you describe your style?
Honestly, to be sincere, I don’t have any style or fashion direction; I just wear clothes. As long as I’m not looking nappy and dirty, I’m fine. But Uwa my colleague is working really hard on me to have a style. My colleagues will be like, ‘Morayo, you can’t be on television and dress anyhow.’ Just recently, she took me shopping and got me to buy some things; I’m still blaming her for the gbese because, I had to spread the payment. So, I don’t have a style yet, maybe by this time next year, after she must have worked on me, I might have a style. But as at today, I don’t have a style; I don’t have any fashion idea. I just wear decent clothes, go to work and come back home. My husband is not the type that is really picky; I can’t be bothered.
You were given the mandate to rebrand TVC entertainment, how far have you gone with that?
I think we’ve done so well. When I joined TVC, we were like number 13 or 14 on stations ranking. Right now, we are between number 2 and number 3. I think we’ve done a good job; I think the programmes department has done well. We changed the look, colour, song, theme music… we did a total 360 rebranding of the station. I think we’ve been able to earn our mark amongst entertainment stations; it’s just how we maintain it and even get better. At TVC, we have everything we need to make the station number 1 and we are working really hard to get there.