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Osagie Alonge: Building Brands With Storytelling, Pop Culture and Technology

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‘Osagie’s work style is literally rolling up his sleeves. He was always willing to help his colleagues get their job done. Excellently.’

A decade ago, Osagie “Osagz” Alonge was blogging and working freelance at a radio station when a friend, Chiagoziem Onyekwena, the then outgoing editor of Nigerian Entertainment Today reached out to him about an opportunity as a web content uploader at NET Newspapers (Netng). That was the beginning of the climb for him.

All Osagie had going for him at this time was his passion for telling stories and his love of music. Growing up, music was a part of his life and he leaned into it, knew it and understood it. His passion for music will lead him to take up a part time shift at a radio station. 

Before the radio station, he worked as a manager at an internet cafe, and had boundless access to the internet at a time when the use of the internet was rationed to a few hours in the day. Access meets interest in Osagie when he uses that opportunity to expand his knowledge about his favourite subject – music. 

He describes his experience working at the cafe as ‘a training to know what stories worked and what didn’t.’

His skills in blogging and familiarity with the internet would come in handy at his new role at Nigerian Entertainment Today. The company was at the time expanding its operations online, and a spot had opened up for someone to be in charge of uploading original content on the WordPress content management system.

Osagie held the job for about six months, until it became clear he could do much more. While working as web content uploader, he was writing music reviews on the side and displaying a knack for storytelling that he would come to be known for.

In no time, he became Chief Correspondent for NET, overseeing the whole newsroom to ensure the team broke the biggest stories, got the juiciest exclusives and provided value to the audience. He was in charge of the printed newspaper, and the very popular website, reporting only to the founder and CEO Ayeni Adekunle.

‘Being the first to break some stories, that was good for us. We were a top website and we had to show everybody every time that we were a top hitting website. For us it was always a case of how do we continue to exhibit that’, he tells Darafunmi Olanrewaju.

Precious Nwachukwu, Lead PR Consultant at BHM, and former colleague of Osagie’s says he’s always willing to help. ‘Osagie is what you’d describe as a helpful colleague in every sense of the phrase. I remember being assigned to manage a record label and a hip hop artiste’s album launch without a single musical chord in my vein. I’d listen to album after album and still have no opinion and couldn’t string up sentences to describe my clients’ skills.

She continues, ‘Then I would hear Osagie’s analysis of artistes and the Nigerian entertainment industry and I knew this was the guy that could help me salvage the situation. He not only helped me navigate that client but I picked up skills that have stuck with me since then.’

In April 2013, while Osagie was Chief Correspondent, Netng was ranked the 33rd most visited website in Nigeria by Alexa, a website ranking organisation. Days after the ranking was announced, Netng website (www.thenetng.com) came under a hacker’s attack. The hacker, believed to be a certain Rocco Mancini, took total control of the site, made it inaccessible to visitors and demanded a ransom of $1,200. The company refused to pay the ransom, choosing instead, to migrate to a new domain (www.thenet.ng).

Though the hack set Netng back momentarily, the website was able to bounce back and regain momentum. By 2014, the new website was ranked among 100 top websites in Nigeria by Alexa. It has since spawned other verticals, Neusroom, 234Star and Orin, while continuing to build itself as the world’s leading source for African entertainment . 

Man folding arms

Osagie was not the first to lead the Netng team, but insiders say he took the media company to unprecedented heights, and ran the outfit like an entrepreneur. In the process, he also built a reputation for himself as an ardent music critic, a fearless editor,a respected manager, and a repository of knowledge about the Nigerian entertainment scene and urban culture.

How did Osagie come to know all the stories and history that surround the Nigerian music and entertainment industry? He explains his passion, ‘Anything that I love I put my time, my body, my sweat into it. Music became a passion for me. I really studied it and took it to heart.

Osagie also worked as a Road Manager and A&R Executive at X3M Music for about two years, from 2011. He explains, ‘I used to do a lot of backpacking, I used to go to a lot of studios. I spoke with a lot of producers. I built a relationship with these people. I have a lot of back stories. I had a lot of first hand experience…’

Advertising and Music Executive and Founder of X3M Music, Steve Babaeko reflects on his relationship with Osagie. He tells Netng, ‘I met Osagz probably around 2010 or so. He hit me up on Twitter and was a bit critical of our marketing strategy for pushing Overdose, the then new rap talent we signed to X3M Music. While I didn’t fully agree with some of his views, I found his perspective really refreshing. I was then the Creative Director at another agency. I invited him to come see me in the office. After a long and interesting conversation about music, life and everything in between, I offered him a job as A&R executive on the spot. What I didn’t know then was that The NetNg was also talking to him to fill a position. When he mentioned that dilemma I picked up my phone and spoke to ATG and he gave his blessings for him to work both jobs. I guess Osagz underestimated the strain of working for two highly demanding bosses. At some point I suppose the stress became too much and he dropped the X3M Music job to focus on NET.’

He goes further, ‘I see Osagz as a confidant, he’s my go to person when it comes to music and entertainment. Most of the talents we signed was done with his input. He’s definitely someone I can proudly call a mentee of mine. His dedication and passion for work is incredible. He has a very lucid and analytical mind, he most often comes at issues from a left field, this makes him highly misunderstood. He is a fiercely loyal person, definitely one to have in your corner especially when the situation is stormy. People like Osagz rekindle my hope for the next generation. It was great working with him.’

After four years at Netng, Osagie joined Ringier as Editor in Chief of Pulse. This was a much larger operation than what he oversaw at Netng, but for Osagie, a challenge is nothing but a shot at success. As Editor-in-Chief, Osagie’s primary role was elevating the editorial standard of the platform. It wasn’t where they wanted it to be. He led a team of more than 70 people across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

Man wearing a white shirt smiling

‘What I was doing at Ringier was basically growth and marketing. It looks like entertainment but at the core of it, it was media and marketing and entertainment is just a subset of it.’

At Pulse, Osagie hosted “Facts Only”, a platform where he shared his broad knowledge and insight into the Nigerian music industry. Facts Only became widely popular as a result of Osagie’s no holds barred attitude to his analysis. Topics ranged from music artists, producers and the industry as a whole. Wizkid, Davido, Dbanj, Burna Boy, the P-Square split, Mavin’s success, Mo’hit’s split and so on were all subjects of discussion. 

The series, which ran for four years was successful in its effort to shed light on the workings of the Nigerian music industry and perhaps move it forward. 

CEO of ID Africa, and a former colleague of Osagie’s, Femi Falodun, provides some insight into his relationship and shared interests with Osagie: ‘Osagie is a walking encyclopaedia of Nigerian entertainment history and arguably the most influential pop culture curator of the past decade. One of my favourite things to do anytime we catch up is get him talking passionately about marketing, media and Hip Hop –– three of his and my best-loved topics.’

After six years at Ringier, Osagie had overhauled the operations at Pulse, his work was done, and he was ready for a new challenge. But the challenges only get more difficult if you stop learning and growing. He says ‘I transitioned from being an entertainment journalist to being a 360 journalist in the media space, and even did more. I then moved into the tech space.’

He resumed duties as Chief of Marketing for financial technology company OPay, in May 2019.

Speaking about his journey to this point, he says ‘I like work, everyone knows. I like challenges. I think what has always been helpful for me is that all the jobs I’ve done, I’ve liked them. Content is something I’m passionate about.’

Osagie is a storyteller at his core, and there are still many stories he has to share. For now, he’s focused on succeeding in his new role at OPay, finding his way back to Podcasting, and spending time with his family. 

 

The post Osagie Alonge: Building Brands With Storytelling, Pop Culture and Technology appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.



source https://thenet.ng/osagie-alonge-building-brands-with-storytelling-pop-culture-and-technology/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=osagie-alonge-building-brands-with-storytelling-pop-culture-and-technology

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