Technology is changing the world with new innovations streamlining industries. Like other fields, the Radio industry is taking advantage of new technologies and evolving with the times to meet current demands.
Ventures Africa spoke with Prudence Okoilu, the founder and CEO of OneRadio, a platform that allows users stream local and international radio stations and podcasts from anywhere in the world. Prudence Okoilu is an Internet entrepreneur based in Lagos, Nigeria.
In this interview, the 24-year old graduate of Applied Physics and Electronics from the University of Lagos discusses the idea behind his innovation, OneRadio, and how it works.
Ventures Africa (VA): What inspired the creation of OneRadio?
Prudence Okoilu (PO): OneRadio was created out of a need to inform people. We didn’t just want to build a radio app or music app, but a product people can use every day; people listen to radio, music, news, interviews and podcasts every day. Also, people like to go out on weekends; we offer ticket sales for shows and concerts. The app was built for Africans, Africans in diaspora, foreigners looking to visit Africa, tourists, music lovers, journalists, students, artists, writers, users within the 13 – 65 demographic, mobile phone users, and millennials.
VA: How exactly does it work?
PO: One Radio app is straightforward and easy to use. There are three sections; the first is a curated playlist of different genres of music ranging from Afrobeats, Grime, Gospel, Hip-Hop, Trap, Pop, 90’s Music and RnB. The second section includes local stations, which starts streaming once selected; the OneRadio Channel for video coverage of live events and performances; and the OneRadio Chat Show where users can stream podcast interviews of their favourite artists. In the third section, we intend to sell tickets of events and concerts, so when you sign up you can purchase tickets to any show that is registered with the platform.
VA: Are users able to connect to all radio stations in Nigeria or is it particular to Lagos and other big cities?
PO: Currently, radio stations from Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano, Ilorin, Ibadan and Enugu are available for streaming on the OneRadio app. We intend to expand coverage to other parts of Nigeria with the new update of the app rolling out soon.
We started with Nigeria, as most radio stations are available for live streaming at the moment. But moving forward, we are looking to include other West African countries, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, the island of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo.
VA: What challenges did you face while creating the app?
PO: One major challenge was the lack of skilled software developers; there’s a dearth in the number of developers that actually know how to build mobile apps in Nigeria. Another challenge was figuring out how we could get users to access any radio station and stream in any geographical area. Usually, you cannot listen to Cool Fm Abuja here in Lagos, the same way you cannot listen to Beat Fm Lagos in London. But on this platform, you can stream local radio stations anywhere you are in the world. We were only able to make this possible by creating a ‘streaming software’, which the app currently runs on.
VA: How will the intended subscription service differ from the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, and MTN plus?
PO: This is a business and we intend to make profit. Soon, users will have to subscribe monthly or yearly depending on preference to stream on OneRadio. We are moving in a different direction from the platforms you mentioned. The subscription will be limited to usage of the platform and also charges will differ with different geographic regions.
VA: You said it was an app for Africans in the diaspora; can Africans in Africa use it too?
PO: Yes, Africans in Africa can use it too. In as much as we are helping Africans in diaspora be informed through streaming local radio stations, OneRadio provides content for tourist and foreigners who are not familiar with African culture. OneRadio is a window from Africa to the world. Also, many Africans in diaspora find it difficult to access local radio stations and keep in touch with what is happening back home when they travel to US, UK or Europe.
VA: How many countries’ radio stations does the app connect to?
PO: At the moment, OneRadio streams radio stations from Nigeria and the United Kingdom. We initially intended to start only in Nigeria, but due to high demand from users, mostly students in the UK, we included Beat FM London. But OneRadio broadcasts worldwide and is not restricted by geographical barriers; users in other countries can use the app.
VA: You mentioned curated playlists; can users curate their own playlists?
PO: Not right now. We collaborate with popular DJs and Artists and repertoires that help us curate trending songs into genres, which we upload into curated playlists on the app for users to stream.
The OneRadio app is currently available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store.