Delectable On-Air-Personality and Presenter, Alero Didiare plies her trade with Galaxy TV, one of Nigeria’s premier independent Television Station. Throughout her career that has spanned over a decade, she has worked with some of the finest people in the entertainment world, most of which either were just making an entrance or beginning to blossom then. In this interview with our Correspondence, FRANCIS OGBONNA , she traces her step back to the start of her career; reminiscences of her days as a freelance presenter and how she has grown through the ranks to be the head of her stations entertainment department. Excerpt…
Beyond the screen diva, that we are all used to, who is Alero?
Alero is the last born from a family of four, inclusive of my Mother and Father. I have an older brother. I am a mother of two girls, a graduate of Banking and Finance, from Lagos State Polytechnic.
Why broadcasting and not some other trade e.g. a professional career in Banking?
It all started from my days in secondary school. I was the social prefect and also had a passion or TV. So this passion grew after secondary school and while I was waiting for my SSCE results, I fell in love with a programme-Youth Delight, put together by Aunty Comfort Okonkwo of NTA Channel 10; she gave me a platform as one of the audience of her programme, I took advantage of it and from there I met with the late Tope Brown of Rhythm 93.7 and Uncle Femi Sowolu, they both groomed me and drilled me into the person I am today. Since then I have moved from one step to another. It’s not been easy though, because I have actually gone for some TV auditions and didn’t get picked, but to God be the glory, here I am today.
How long have you been with Galaxy TV?
That’s been like a long time. I came into Galaxy in 2001 as a freelance, and I left temporarily, because I needed to focus on my academics. I came back in 2007 as a full staff after I have had my first baby and here I am now heading the entertainment department.
Have you had other stations wanting to woo you to come work with them?
Of course I have had several invitations, but there is something about Galaxy TV that make we want to stay. I have heard people severally say to me “what are you still doing there?” and I am like”you don’t understand”. Here at Galaxy, I understand the terrain. Galaxy affords me the opportunity to be able express myself in terms of doing what I feel I should do, I can always walk up to my Boss and share my plans about an intended programme and if he thinks it is viable, he gives me the go-ahead. There’s this leverage I have working with Galaxy and that’s why, leaving is difficult and even if I want to leave, what I think I would be doing is to start an independent programme and not go work for another TV or Radio station…
Why is that so?
Obviously, I won’t stay in Galaxy for life. But while I am still very active and young, I have a lot of service to render to them, because they require my services.
You had said earlier that passion for TV was evident for you as far back as Secondary school, so why didn’t you study mass communications them, instead of Banking and Finance or did you have plans to sometime jettison TV a bank related job or other profession?
No, I just read banking to give me as basic understanding on how businesses were run, but working in the bank is out of it. My passion for TV and entertainment is insurmountable, I live, eat and sleep TV/ entertainment. More so, I have always been a Jeans kind of person and I don’t think those kind of people can work in a bank; I am not good with suits.
You have done entertainment for a while now and have grown through the ranks, now you actually head the entertainment department, what has the response been from you fans?
It has been awesome! The love has been amazing; I get feedback all the time from my fans, males and female alike. I like listening to people’s corrections, I have never seen myself as perfect for once, so I keep learning from my mistakes. In a nutshell, it’s been awesome. You see it is normal for a lady to be appreciated by guys, maybe she is beautiful or speaks well or has a great shape, but when it comes from fellow ladies who are straight, it tends to show that you are really affecting a lot of lives. I will give you an example; just recently a lady called into the studio and after the programme came to see me, now guess what? She gave me a bottle of wine and a greeting card. The amazing thing here is that I have never met this lady before in my life, so with that single experience one can tell that a lot of people appreciate you.
What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever done to you?
There’s actually none that I can remember. No fan has ever done anything strange to me, maybe because I always keep a straight face…
There are fans who sometimes don’t get deterred by straight faces?
God has been so faithful, because I have not yet come across any fan like that…
So you don’t have people stalking you sometimes?
Of course I do, I have a lot of them stalking me. I receive a lot of messages including SMS that’s why I have closed most of my Social Networks accounts, because I love my privacy…
Does that mean you have something to hide?
No, I just love it when people around me are respected. I love it when my kids; family and friends are respected and saved from prying public eyes.
What is your assessment of the Nigerian Music industry?
Wow, I think it had really evolved. Today I had Eedris Abdulkareem and someone from Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) on my show and from our discussions; I think a lot of artistes are becoming aware of the business of the business side of music. Artistes are beginning to demand for their royalties as obtainable elsewhere in other climes. Gone are the days when stations just play musical works for playing sake, but now artistes want to be paid and PMAN is actually putting its house in order. However, my issues with the music industry today are with nudity and the lewd lyrical contents of our songs these days. Do you know that most TV stations pay fine for airing these kinds of songs? Artistes should no longer treat ladies like objects, they should respect ladies, you don’t have to make ladies shake their booties in your videos for your fans to buy them and the fans are becoming tired of such contents.
Is Galaxy TV a part of Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (BON)?
Definitely! Galaxy belongs to both BON and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN).
What is you station’s view or stand on the Royalty brouhaha between IBAN/BON on the one hand and COSON/Artistes on the other hand?
The whole problem has actually exposed us all to the truth and I stand for the truth…
What is the truth?
The truth is standing with the artistes, the original owners of the works. What they are asking for is simple what should be theirs. Fine what IBAN/BON is asking for is more than one collecting institution, some artistes agree with that too, they actually want competition, but that shouldn’t stop the stations from playing their songs or videos. Galaxy TV has been adherent to this whole royalty thing. Do you know that Galaxy TV paid royalties to COSON last year and if it were not for the ban would have done that also this year? Well for now what we have done at Galaxy is to stop playing any form of music pending when they solve the issues…
Why is that so?
My boss is a man of integrity and always wants to remain on the side of the truth and conscience. So that is why he’s been paying royalties. Now since he is a part of IBAN/BON and as well believe in the principles of royalties, he (my boss) decided not to play any song at all…
So what have you been airing?
We have our Nigerian Soaps; Mexican telenovellas and other in-house programmes that are not music oriented.
Just being curious now, don’t you think that for IBAN/BON to place a ban on Key Nigerian artistes is not ideal and may not augur well for these stations?
What makes you think that it is the songs of the supposed key artistes that we play majorly on Galaxy TV? Let me tell you this, it a policy with us to here at Galaxy to play majorly music by upcoming artistes.
What do you think is the way forward now, how do you think these royalty issue could be finally resolved?
I believe all parties involved should come together and resolve this issue amicably and with the common good at heart. It shouldn’t be about personal gains but with the good of all, particularly the upcoming artistes in mind. Do you know that artistes who are not under COSON don’t get paid any royalty? So the common good should be the main focus. There should be some sort of competition in the collecting society market.
What informed your no nonsense stand against lewdness of musical lyrics and nude videos? More so, have you subtly become a crusader against these vices?
Somewhat yes! I am a mother; I have got kids, girls for that matter. I am particular about what my kinds would be watching and listening to in future…sometimes I go as far as spanking them when they sing these lewd songs, of course they usually pick some of these stuffs from school. So you could say that I am somewhat like an activist against nudeness and lewd lyrical contents in songs.
Do you sometime in future see terrestrial TV becoming extinct and possibly giving way finally for Digital TV?
No! Not really, you will still have both platforms operating simultaneously and of course as you know, just like Galaxy TV, most terrestrial TV in Nigeria today are found on different platforms on Cable TVs e.g. DSTV and Mytv Africa.
Has presenting been lucrative to you?
Like I said earlier, it’s primarily about passion for me, it could be lucrative though, but I am all about the passion…
What has presenting done for you?
It has done a lot for me. I’ve actually met a lot of people including artistes. I’ll give you an instance, the likes of Omo Baba; the Late Da’Grin; Asa and a whole lot of others were some of the people I have worked with while they were still young not prominent. When they see me these days, we all laugh and say wow, we remember those days. It’s been fun all through.
If you were not doing broadcasting what would you have been doing?
I can’t think of anything else…I have always been a focused and passion driven person…
Is politics not an option?
No! What I may be able to do is contribute from afar…
What is it about politics that you don’t like?
From what I have seen and heard so far, particular from when I was growing up, I am actually scared of politics. Even handling political programmes alone scares me. With the elections coming in 2015, a lot of things are at stakes, I still don’t that we are taking the issue of security very seriously yet. Journalists who cover politics are really at risk of being killed during electioneering periods. I love my life very much, so I will stick to my entertainment.
Are you married?
Who is he?
He wouldn’t want to be talked about…he doesn’t live in Nigeria.
How did you meet him?
We met through a friend; a friends of his and a former colleague of mine, he works with TVC now. We were introduced and from there one thing led to another…
How do you cope, managing your job and your girls, especially without your husband being around?
It’s been God. More so, I have a good mother; my nanny and my in-laws too, they all have helped me find a balance. It’s hard though, because of the demands of the job.
How old are your girls?
The first is 7 years old, while the younger one is just 1 yea and 7 months…
Have you seen any trace of a presenter in your 7 year old?
Not really, she’s more of a fashion freak than a presenter.
What would you advise to aspiring OAP be?
Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you want to be in future, definitely you can be what you want to be, if you are sure it sis what you want to. Stay humble; listen and take corrections and the sky would be your limit and trust God as well.
Thank you for your time.
You are welcome.