A “pint sized” broadcaster, Joyce Odichinma Onyemuwa has been in radio for over five years. An avid music lover and pianist, Joyce enjoys the opportunity of introducing new perspectives of life through her afternoon radio programme on Cool-FM 96.9 station. The international business undergraduate of the University of South-Africa lives and breathes philosophy although she merely sees herself only as a thinker. Below are excerpts of her views about life.
I’m not a philosopher, I’m a thinker. It is a part of me, what defines me, fills me, reveals and emphasizes me; it helps me look at life from different angles. I wonder why “thinker” is not my middle name!
Reading as a priority;
It is enlightening, as a broadcaster it behoves you to broaden your horizon because you will meet people who see things differently from you. You have to read widely and broadly to familiarize yourself with the broader aspects of life. It makes your listeners see the part of you that is beyond human, reviving them and pulling them out of their darkness. For you to address people and conquer new horizons, avail you with information. It is good for you.
Could you describe yourself as an on-air psychologist:
That may be giving myself too much props. You try to play with people’s mind just listening to them talk to you; it gives you an idea of who you are dealing with. There is usually this mental picture. Listeners tend to perceive we talk radio hosts as psychologists but all we do is to try and give you something you can walk away with, for instance, when people talk of their marital issues, I have never been married so I’m no authority on that, so I just advise you to go talk to an expert in that particular field. I’m pretty much careful not to impose any suggestions-it’s just a try and error.
My parents are both Igbo, very strict Christians. My dad is an accountant from Abia State while my mom, a house-wife is from Imo. They are very particular on what their children turn out to be, they apply every strict measures in their bid that you don’t turn out otherwise so that pretty much was my foundation. I grew up majorly in Surulere, went to Amazing Grace Primary school, Surulere and then on to Gbaja Girls Secondary School for my secondary education.
Experience as a broadcaster:
I used to work with FRCN, Brila FM Abuja and Lagos. Isn’t it amazing that your livelihood depends on what you have to say and some days you just don’t feel like saying anything, I mean how do you deal with that? I’m like a mental painter, going over and dissecting stuff I hear and see. You wake up every morning because you define what you say and what you say defines you. Over the years my perspective has changed, things I couldn’t talk about five years ago are easier for me to talk about now, I can talk about anything.
How much do you tend to expose?
The truth is that you cannot lie or hide yourself, out of the mouth comes the essence of the heart. My “me” has to come out, I cannot speak for other people, so I talk a lot about me. I’m interwoven, my “me”, how I am, my fears, my inner self reveal itself when I’m on air. I try to make levity about the delicate things I talk about especially marriage and relationship. I cannot come on-air and reprimand you when we all go through the same thing. I’m hoping that if I do not hand you a solution at least, I’m able to sooth you.
How do you juggle school and work?
It’s Distance Learning because I love my job and cannot trade anything for it. But I go to school during the summer, once a year.
Pressures and challenges:
I envisaged that so the way I handle pressures is to go into reclusion, I just want to stay in because I’m a freaking thinker. I have lots of books to read and school work so I’m less out there. OK right now I’m not under any external pressure, I’m pretty much occupied so for the guys I’m not really ready to introduce myself as Joyce Cool FM.
I’m happily single and solo.
How do you handle fan’s reaction?
First, there is a glee in their eyes, they hope around. I’m not a killjoy so I switch into the mood, say hi and zoom, and I’m off. I try not to answer questions. I’m humbled by their devotion but then when they do not notice, I do not want to be recognized.
Any awards yet?
No, not yet, I know that will come, so I’m pretty much patient.
Competition in the industry:
Naturally, ratings bring competition, when I meet my other colleagues at events, it’s a cordial relationship. I’m just here for the fun, although l like the competition because it encourages you to be on top of your game, you don’t take anything for granted. I really don’t think there is any rivalry because what I’ve seen so far has been good.
Was your career happen-chance?
I had always wanted to be a lawyer, an idea planted in me by my dad, who felt because I talked a lot I would make a good lawyer although really, I could make you drop your view for mine. In a situation where I may agree with your agreement I would still leave you with something to think about. So when I finished my secondary education waiting to get admission, my uncle and friends felt gain I was wasting at home and suggested I go into broadcasting. I wondered what others see in me that I couldn’t seem to see in myself, so I just went along. I got wind of FRCN screening new broadcasters, showed up at the auditions, which had over 100 people. We were two chosen, a male and a female. It was a great feeling and FRCN proved to be a good training ground, my colleagues there were wonderful.
Goofs on air:
When you put yourself on a pedestal and you work in a world-class radio station like Cool FM and you constantly think of your goofs on air, you are going to have mental pain. So really goofing is part of the fun so I’ve learnt to laugh at my errors, its has helped me to be subtle and given me a new perspective. Infact I’m first of all human, prone to errors .The earth herself is so full of errors and is not apologetic to anyone, and definitely my listeners are not expecting any apologies from me.
It could be very demoralizing when people say you are not all that or I do not think of you what you think of yourself, I feel very bad when I get a nasty e-mail but I’ve said to myself that even if I am perfect, people would still be unsatisfied. If you find me important enough to place me on your surgeon board to dissect all my faults that I think that makes me relevant. I cannot live by anybody’s opinion but myself. I am first of all human and have learnt to forgive myself quick if not another person will belittle me. I try to not let things hold me and sink me down because people will always have something to say and they tend to deal with issues differently. When I meet someone for the first time, I am not watching out for your errors but simply allow you to play out and if am at odds with you I just let you know. When people give me constructive criticism, I take it well, do an overview, take what I need to but I would not reform and depart from my real self, my real me. I have to be careful so as not to alter anything about me because in any trade what is available is what is up for sale. So I take what I can work with, change for the better without losing who I am.
Favourite guests so far:
I have had all kinds and classes of people who I find beautiful in their own field, Nigerians who have discovered themselves and working on leaving a legacy for themselves.
Essence of your programme:
You would be sure to hear me talking about life from different angles, I’m awed by the accord I’ve seen in life. The inconsistencies of man, the society, and the mind are pressured by all these. I try to remind my listeners about life in her essence, you have to learn how to play, take life easy .You have to re-work, re-strategise and work your way to the finishing the enterprise you have started. I like talking about believing, it will amaze you what believing can do. Holding on to hope has amazing possibilities; I keep telling people that challenges are made to refine you. Gold goes through a whole lot of heat to come out beautiful, when you find your end, you will be satisfied that you gave it your best. Just fine will just be good for anybody, learn to take life easy.