“I am more than what you hear”

Don Tee

Rewind a few years back and the name Don-Tee was on the lips (…and in the ears) of every radio head in and around the city. Born Tony Rowland Awobode in Zaria, Don Tee started his career at Premier FM spending one year there, 3 years at BCOS (broadcasting corporation of Oyo State) as a broadcaster before joining the Splash FM revolution of the early 2000s. In the space of eight years, he would evolve from being just another voice on the airwaves to a name that was almost synonymous with radio in Ibadan. Now independent, he takes us through his voyage in broadcasting; why he quit radio to start his own company, making a difference in the city and his love for power bikes.

How did you get into broadcasting?

It was through an old classmate of mine from Loyola College, Ibadan. He was a freelancer at Premier FM and he invited me over to the studio because he knew I was quite vocal (and eloquent) back in school. I was playing around with the mic, doing an air check and next thing I knew, people were coming into the studio asking, "Who was that?" and, “Who did that?” I thought I had gotten him into trouble. I must have made an impression though because I got a job offer instead.

What made you quit radio?

Ten years in the industry and I decided it was time to go independent. I was at a point where I wanted to do more than just talk on radio. One of my visions remains to employ my colleagues and I can only do that if I become an entrepreneur. I have trained many OAPs (On Air Personalities) and mentor many others.

Which programme was your favourite from your time as an OAP?

The Drive Time Show at Splash FM brought in a lot of popularity, award and endorsements but my favourite is a night shift program called Diary Sessions on Splash FM. People would call in to tell me about the issues going on in their personal lives and I would try to give them the best counsel. It was a deep experience for me and remains till date the only programme I did with my soul.

Do plan on returning to being an OAP again someday?

No, that is in the past now. I know I enjoyed a bit of popularity back then which is probably why you think I might miss it but I'm in a position where I can actually cook and create things on a bigger platform now.

Tell us about the company you started and what you do?

The name of my company is Rock TOF Services and Entertainment Limited. We are into media practices, advertising, events management, media consultancy, concept development and so on. I am an associate of Advertising.

Your love of power bikes is a well-known fact. How did you get into power biking?

I have been riding bicycles and motorcycles since my younger days in Zaria so I think my love for power bikes was something that was inevitable. I didn’t just ride these bicycles, I used to stunt with them as well. I bought my first bike in 2005; it was a 1000cc Kawasaki ZX10. I have owned many bikes over the years. I rode that thing everywhere, Abuja, Makurdi, Calabar, Port Harcourt…and I still do.

You are part of the city’s power biking society, what is your role in this community?

Currently I belong to a riding club named Pilleum riding club, I was the Vice President at one point, I’m a board of trustees.

Some people believe that bikers are merely adrenaline junkies that don't impact the society in anyway. How do you feel about this?

We may be thrill seekers but that assumption is wrong. Every year, we have a national biking convention and part of the highlight is charity. When you buy your bikes for very ridiculous prices, you should also find a way to support charity. We are an association of different people from different professional backgrounds coming together because of one thing, which is our passion for biking. We have doctors, engineers, students, military personnel and so on in our association.

What will you say are the attributes that have gotten you this far?

My voice. It was the first thing that got me into radio. For me there was no interview or anything. Just the voice.

How would you describe yourself?

Crazy, sexy, cool. Don’t let my wife hear o!

Another thing you’re quite famous for is your sunshades collection. How many do you have now?

I always lose them or give them out so they’re always in constant rotation but as at the last count, I have around 40 of them.

Which is your favourite amala restaurant in the city?

I always eat amala and Skye Lolo has the best for now. I’ve eaten amala everywhere in Ibadan. I know the town very well.

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