New Dawn Nigeria

FAD FM is a global station, says Fidelis Duker

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No doubt, the South South geopolitical region has never had it so good in radio broadcasting as it is having it now with the of FAD FM radio station. The last time  the region was messmerised with good radio broadcasting was in  the days of Mablas Maculay, a music presenter on FM Rivers. That was before the military regimes of Ibrahim Badamosi Babaingida and Sani Abacha balkanised the region with the creation of Bayelsa, Edo and Delta states. But with the coming of FAD FM, ownrd by an accomplished movie maker, Fidelis Duker, the good old days of quality broadcasting is back.
After weeks of being on his heels, Dukker finally opened up to us in this interview as to why he detoured into broadcasting even though he made it clear that nothing will come between him and his love for film making.

With your foray into broadcasting are you still in movie business?

I will always remain a filmmaker. My involvement in broadcasting will not in any way stop me from being that filmmaker you have always known, rather in my opinion, will only enhance and complement whatever I am doing in the broadcast industry. I still run the Abuja film festival which as you are aware is in its 16th year and still running as the longest running annual film festival in West Africa. For your information I was involved in a film last year titled Vacation Blues where I was the director and probably that’s why you didn’t get to know about it as I understand that the film was acquired by ROK studios from the producers last year

A year after, is FAD living up to expectations?

It’s actually almost two years as we launched test transmission on 22nd July 2017 and full broadcast on 1st September 2017.  I think we have done well as a station because I have consistently told my team that we must position FAD FM beyond Calabar as we see the station as a station that exist beyond Calabar and Cross River State. FAD FM is not a Cross River Station and that is why you can listen to the station anywhere in the world through our Online APP and the global online radio platform that contains the major radio stations in the world called RADIO GARDEN. I have always said that Calabar is only a Location but

Why the choice of Calabar as the home base of FAD, though, we know you are a cross riverian?

As I mentioned earlier, Calabar is only a location and our choice was because I was looking for a niche and convenient environment for the FAD Media group global plan, and if you recall Calabar holds a unique position in Nigeria and the South South region as a peaceful and tourism hub of the country. However, beyond that some will ask why not the commercial capital of Lagos or the political capital of Abuja. My reply always is that the headquarters of the biggest News network in the world is not in the commercial capital of New York, or the Political capital of Washington, neither is it at the entertainment capital of Los Angeles rather it’s in Atlanta with offices in major world capital. So the plan is to have our headquarters in Calabar with stations around the world broadcasting the true Nigerian and African story. It’s a 10 year plan.

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What is the reach of the radio station?

At the moment on terrestrial radio broadcast on our FM frequency we cover the state and neighboring states of Akwa Ibom, Abia and Eboyin. Sometime people call from the English speaking part of Cameroon to contribute to our programmes. However, you can listen to our station on our online APP anywhere in the world. The world is now a global village, so I see no reason why you should limit yourself with reach.

What is the station’s focus both in choice of music and programming?

We are a niche radio station focused on talk, news and music in that order and what this tells you is that we do more of talk and news programming. We have over eight news bulletins daily with several talk programmes that center on current affairs, politics, news, drama and magazine programme. We are the only station that has created programmes for non-indigenes in Hausa and Yoruba with the local Efik programme. We are working on a socio cultural programme from our next quarter. We also cater for our not too educated with our Pidgin English programme and news. Importantly don’t get me wrong we also cater for our music lovers with an array of programmes in different obscure genre like jazz, highlife apart from the norm of our youths who love afro hip hop.

What made you go into broadcasting?

My career didn’t start in movies rather I started in the broadcast industry with my foray into television and radio about 30 years ago. it will be exactly 30 years by November this year when as a very young man, I went to the Nigeria Television Authority NTA on Ahmadu Bello way Victoria Island Lagos seeking a career in broadcasting with special interest in television production. I got there and to learn through the ropes from fantastic TV producers like Peter Igho, Late Lai Arasanmi who actually posted me as a production assistant to Danladi Bako who was to later become the Director General of the National Broadcasting. NTA of that era was a grooming ground for some of the best minds in television production. I was fortunate to have worked with very cerebral minds like Sadiq Daba, John Ndanusa, late Enebeli Elebuwa, Nne Ukoha, Christian Onu, Salome Eferemo and several other talented Nigerians of that era. It was in NTA I learnt how to edit off line on the Umatic and Subsequently Betacam machines. In short that experience led me to meet other colleagues who were either artiste on the NTA payroll and this was before the advent of Nollywood with Living In Bondage because they were couple of Yoruba movies made on video then too. I also through these friends had a brief stint on radio via a popular radio drama of that era called Gandu Square. All these as I said motivated my dream of having a radio station someday.

That opportunity finally came in 2007 when i was commissioned by the then Governor of Cross River State and his wife to document the opening of Tinapa then. I got to Calabar and discovered there was only one radio station which was a public broadcaster CRBC, I was therefore compelled by intuition and seeing a niche market to apply for the radio  license in 2007 but regrettably it took eight years for the license to be approved by the federal government in 2015 after waiting for eight years

How soon are we expecting another box-office hit from you?

Soon my brother, as a filmmaker who has made films for the last 26 years since my first with several award winning films to my credit. I cannot afford to make a film for the sake of making a film so I am presently working on an historical biopic on  Nigerian which, when completed should be a statement from me.  The point is, I have made films and there is no excitement in making film for the sake of making  film. My films at the stage of my career must make a statement.

Another thing I have embarked on doing as a filmmaker is to empower this younger filmmakers and see how I can collaborate or support them in seeing their project through considering my experience when I started. It is always a challenge for a new filmmaker. So I want to contribute to building capacity in a new generation of filmmakers.

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