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I Started as a Camera man.. passed through thick and thin to get to this stage – Planet TV Owner,Wale Akinlabi




Planet TV is a musical channel on GOTV transmitting to the world from south Africa, a couple of weeks ago an affiliation kicked off in Nigeria transmitting from onward building in oregun, ikeja Lagos. The president of the planet image communications both in south Africa and Nigeria is a young Nigerian that has traveled far wide and especially through every nook and cranny of African continent promoting both Africa and Nigeria culture through selling our musical contents. Sahara weekly had the honor of speaking one on one with Mr Wale Akinlabi a man of vision and focus on how it all began and how it has been so far. Enjoy….

Sw: can we meet you sir?

Wale Akinlabi: my name is wale akinlabi the president of planet image communications,the owner of  planet TV on GoTV channel 37 and good morning africa on africa magic

Sw: kindly tell us your background

WA:I hail from oyo alafin in oyo state and happens to be the first child in a family of seven. I studied theater arts from lagos state university,bachelor of arts(BA)visual & performing arts, I’m married with 2 beautiful kids from the most beautiful woman(smiles)

Sw: Recently you unveiled planet T.V a music channel on cable network in nigeria apart from the planet TV in south Africa,kindly tell us how and when planet TV started?

WA: Planet TV actually originated from Nigeria. I started the company  in 1990 but as a one man business there was not much to write home about . So in year 2000 after resigning my appointment from where I was working I went into full operation.

Sw: As at that time were you still in Nigeria?

WA: I relocated to south africa in 2004,the beginning in south Africa was also not rosy. I was just there with nothing but just hoping for the best,in 2008 things started improving and I got planet image registered

Sw: earlier you talked about resigning your appointment to fully concentrating on planet TV from which company did you resign?

WA: I was working with Audio visual first( AVF) who actually owns this facility before resigning in year 2000

Sw: For you to set up planet TV in south Africa you must have recorded a huge success?

WA: (smiles) we still can not deny the fact that planet TV has come of age inspite of the fact that we still target the sky as our limit

SW: what makes planet TV different from the others ?

WA: we strive to stand ahead of others in our programming, we target both the youth and the matured audience and try to balance the two. As for our picture quality, we broadcast with HD and also transmit with the most powerful and effective transmitting machine from South Africa which is the latest technology  in terms ot transmission, we are only the only one using it in Nigeria while all others make do with satellite dish which is not always reliable, when it rains the signal becomes unstable.

Sw: that is quite wonderful!!!

WA: that is not all,we are the first cable TV channel with live interaction,so we could feel the pulse of our viewers and give it instant attention,they tell us what music to play and we put it on their screen immediately …

SW: what prompted the decision to have a live interactions while others are not so inclined….

WA: like every other youth, everybody has a vision but the way we actualise our dreams is what brings about the difference, it depends on how individual go by it. Another point of note is the fact that we all have dreams but not all are given the grace to actualise our dreams. All in all I give glory to God for making my dreams come to life.

SW: life is not always a bed of roses, along the line the road must have been rough and bumpy, what are the challenges?

WA: it has not been an easy journey all through. I passed through thick and thin to get to this stage . Like I told you earlier,1990 till 2000 when I resigned at my working place to fully concentrate on my own project,I was not getting anything but only sacrificing time, energy and capital,the situation continued till we left Nigeria’s shore in 2004

SW: once in south Africa,things turned around for good?

WA: Not immediately ,the first few years in south Africa was full of unrewarding efforts making it the same old story, it was self determination coupled with patience and lot of sacrifice that saw us through and we had an upturn in the business. My brother the challenges were tough and discouraging but above all I give all the glory to God for where we are today..

Sw: let’s get on how you found your self in the media world,was it a dream or somehow accidental?

WA: I actually started from the scratch. Its a long story but I’ll take time to tell you to the barest details

SW: Go on,I’m all ear sir?

WA: (sigh) I passed through all aspects of production
,Started as a cameraman, I later moved to Galaxy TV owned by Steeve OJO, I was working as an editor,I was one of the first set of people that built  and developed galaxy tv in ibadan, I trained virtually all the editors and also doing the broadcast. One thing I can say about steeve ojo is the fact that he would not tolerate half measure . He made me work hard and every body said he was using me but the fact remains that I was building myself morally,physically and technically. He employed me as an editor but made me understand professional camera handling. We rotate different departments,it was him that turned me into an animator, my dexterity on it with time made all my friends call me animation,it became my nick name .

SW: so you moved from minor camera operation to editing and from there to animation?

WA: you are right,it was when I moved to AVF that I became content producer

Sw: Hmmm Jack of all trades- (cuts in)

WA: master of all (General laughter) so imagine you going through all these processes,knowing almost everything in all facets of it. Setting up  your own company will no doubt be an easy thing.

Sw: so in one word experience has really worked positively for you ?

WA: exactly after knowing all the rudiments of each departments nothing should stop one from reaching the sky. When I started the planet TV because I could do everything I made myself the capital. I would do the capital work and later edit the stuff, after editing I would send the content  to where I want it to go . It was really a humble beginning.

SW: Planet TV having been on GoTV for couple of years what positive impact have you made on Africa magic?

WA: I myself have made positive impact that would linger on for quite a long time. Good morning africa which is totally one of the best breakfast show in the continent of africa is my brain child ,it started in 2009 in south africa . After watching africa magic for a long time,I conceptualized the program and started selling the content for africa magic…

SW: ok ,that was when you started selling content for them ?

WA: Nooo…I started selling content for them in 2004,before the good morning africa, I was commission to get contents for them so I started producing small small contents like the ”star zone featuring Nigerian stars on their channel, growing time, weekend plus,home trend,chillers,design & life style , design & automobile and so on …

SW: that is quite a lot sir but before I go, to every hard working and commitment there must be one or two benefits or let me say reward, have you ever been awarded before ?

WA: we give all Glory to God!to God be the glory I have been awarded the following accolades!!(1) Best television producer with the most african content 2012 by african achievers award at kings college united kingdom,  (2)media excellence 2011by leaders voice magazine south africa,(3)entrepreneur of the year 2011 by Applause magazine united kingdom,(4) Heritage award 2014, excellence media practice & profound commitment to success 2014 by supreme magazine. And by the grace Of God more are still coming our ways…

SW: Whao!!! what an achievement! So at this juncture sir what would you tell those who aspire to become a TV channel owner like you?

WA: patience,endurance and sacrifice because it can never be an instant success,it takes a whole lot of time. But with God All things are possible

SW: thank you very much sir for your quality time….