Damilola Fatunmise and Rita Okoye
Samuel Wilcox is living his dream. The brain behind RTPWN Awards is indeed living the golden dream!
When he debuted with his glamorous radio and television awards in Kenya last year, the event attracted over 3,000 people while 28 practitioners smiled home with gold plated plaques.
Inspired by the huge success of the event in Kenya, Wilcox has deemed it fit to bring the awards to Nigeria, his home country. The RTPWN Awards, which according to him, is aimed at rewarding professionalism, creativity, talent and patriotism in the broadcast industry, will now take place in Lagos.
“The RTPWN Awards functions as a veritable tool for career growth and development, individual talent appreciation as well as a panacea for national integration, economic growth and development of our great country, Nigeria,” he said.
In this interview, Wilcox traces his career trajectory and opens up on why RTPWN Awards is close to his heart. Enjoy it.
How did you come about the concept of RTPWN Awards?
I have been in the media for over 25 years. I have worked with Anderson, Saatchi & Saatchi and a whole lot of agencies. The journalists have awards organised by CNN but I have not heard about anyone appreciating radio and television practitioners. So, I decided to appreciate them through the RTPWN Awards. Our core mission is to recognise and appreciate the resources and contributions of the stakeholders, practitioners and individuals in the industry. We also want to give deserving personalities the spotlight and adulation they deserve. We equally want to motivate others in the industry to elevate their standards to ensure focus is placed on providing quality and relevant content to the public.
Which edition of RTPWN Awards is this?
This is the first edition in Nigeria but we have done some editions in some other African countries like Kenya.
You have done some editions of RTPWN Awards in Kenya, what’s the feedback like?
People say charity begins at home, why Kenya first and now Nigeria?
Acceptance. They accepted our dream faster in other countries but now Nigerians have requested for it and we are here to do it like it never happened anywhere else before.
How many categories do you have in the awards?
We have 33 categories and 258 nominees out of 1,875 radio and TV stations in Nigeria. Winners in each category will go home with five thousand dollars, while male and female over-all winners will go home with a G-Wagon Mercedes Benz and three thousand dollars each.
How do you intend to fund these prizes?
There is going to be voting for two months and each vote will cost N26 each, so with that and with the help of our sponsors, we are sure that we would be able to achieve it.
What then happens if people refuse to vote as expected?
With what is on ground, I am sure they will vote. We say we are celebrating, so people want to be celebrated.
Aside the cars and cash prize, what are the other values attached to the awards?
Aside the money and car, the trophy that Nigerians are voting for you to get is also a platform that creates a celebrity status for you. When you win, you will be upgraded from the position you were before the nomination. For instance, as an overall winner, you get endorsement from big companies and that keeps you going.
When and where is the RTPWN Awards taking place?
We are having the unveiling of nominees on Saturday, September 28 at Radisson Blu, Ikeja, Lagos. And the grand finale comes up in December at International Conference Center, Abuja. However, we will have the nominees’ party at Kubana. All the radio and television stations are buzzing already.
How did the nominees emerge?
We created zonal coordinators across the 36 states of the federation and we did a questionnaire to get the best 10 in all the categories in all the states. We did the last screening here in Lagos in July.
How are you carrying along the veterans in the broadcast industry?
It will surprise you to hear that we have met almost all the veterans of the radio and television stations. We have met people like Sadiq Daba, Jazz B, Raymond Dokpesi, Sunny Irabor and many more.
Do you think Nigerian broadcasting is doing well compared to other African countries?
Yes, we are doing well. We are robust in our content but Nigerian journalists are not earning well compared to their counterparts in other counties. For instance, in Kenya, journalists earned well, ride good cars and are far more respected than what obtains here in Nigeria.
Aside organising awards, what else do you do?
I am looking at setting up a local media platform. I studied languages so I need to impact people with that.
What is the concept behind the RTPWN road show?
It’s to let people know about the awards or meet their media idols one-on-one. Most people see the practitioners on television, hear them talk on radio but have not met them one-on-one.
Who are the artistes performing at the awards?
We will be having King Sunny Ade for the old elites and Flavor for the young ones, while Omawumi will be for women. We believe that the stakeholders are elites, so we have carefully selected the musicians that will entertain them.
Now, tell us briefly about yourself.
My name is Samuel Wilcox. I am a young man from a village in Rivers State. I was born to poor parents. My mother is a photojournalist and my father is also into journalism. My dad believes he could live the life he wants to live.
What inspired your pay off, Living The Golden Dream?
When you have lived like a celebrity all your life, and and people see you as a national icon, what else are you doing? You are living a golden dream, of course. And that pushed me to University of Jos where I studied Political Science. After my youth service, I came to Lagos in 1987 trying to make ends meet. It wasn’t really easy, so I established a barbing salon called ‘Finishing Touches’ and still continued searching for a better life. Later, I traveled to the United Kingdom through the help of my costumers. I did all I could before returning to Nigeria in 1992. I joined the SDP and became a politician. The elders of my state made me a campaign leader for MKO Abiola. But when we didn’t win, I went back to school to read for a PHD after which I got a job with Benson and Edges as a salesman. From there, I went to Ghana and got a media job. I was with the company for four years. I did the first edition of ‘Print in Africa’ when the Queen of England came to Ghana. It’s been work and work all my life; so you can see what I mean by living a golden dream.
You are wearing a beaded bracelet, are you a chief or prince?
I love my tradition but I don’t really believe in titles. Though, I am not a prince, I am from a kingmaker’s family.
Are you married?
Yes, I am married and blessed with three children.
Are your children here in Lagos or abroad?
No, they are all abroad. They are all grown up.
You have been to many countries, where is your best holiday spot?
Zanzibar. Zanzibar takes me back to when I was growing up, when I used to stand under the mango tree by the beachside. It’s a very relaxing place…
You can’t love Zanzibar without loving their women…
Nigeria has more beautiful women than Zanzibar. You can find women anywhere, but can you find contentment? Here in Nigeria, you can find love because you still see women who respect culture. But there, you don’t know their culture, so they can come up with any attitude and they will say ‘it’s done in our culture’. For me, I prefer Nigerian women. I am not being rude. I love intelligent women. I want a supporting and understanding woman; a woman that believes in my dream, a woman that will be by my side when things are tough.
How best do you relax?
I love swimming, listening to music and hanging out with friends. I love walking in the night, and once in a while, I flex (laughter).
Who are the special guests to look out for on the D-day?
We are expecting ministers, governors and major stakeholders in the industry at the awards. My aim is to make RTPWN Awards the Oscar of the broadcast industry. I am only celebrating lives and making people’s dreams come true. I want a legacy that will live after me.