It is not often that news of this caliber breaks overseas. The team at Jaguda.com is proud to announce that AFC Group (AFricanCiity Group) in Atlanta, GA has landed a Live Radio Broadcast with V-103, which is the number one urban radio station in the United States. This news is epic and should be applauded. The team at African Ciity has held down a weekly international party at Cream Ultra lounge for the last 2 years, the biggest of it’s kind comprising of a mixed audience, Africans, Caribbeans & Americans partying as one & has been responsible thus far for breaking some of the major Afrobeat hits. This group is not a stranger to the lime light. They have hosted African and International stars such as D Banj, Wyclef, Wizkid, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Cast Of FELA On Broadway and many more. Jaguda.com Co-founders Arinze Obikili and Emeka Okpukpara caught up with AFC co-founder DJ Fully Focus for a brief interview.
1. How did African Ciity start? What is the idea behind this concept
The idea started about 4 yrs ago when at that time most countries partied in a very segregated way, meaning you could only find an all Ghana or Zambia or Tanzania party & the idea of an all African party was almost non-existent. I along with my partner Jesse Poche thought how powerful it would be if we could have different African countries come together to enjoy each other’s music & culture in the clubbing environment, since already most Africans had friends from different countries anyway so it only made sense.
It took us another two years of slowly grooming this idea to the public, though at the time the name African Ciity was still non-existent there, we still used our TakeOverDJs company name, as we took on more partners from different countries & threw some of the hottest parties in ATL. Then as the audience grew & the idea became a hit with people, one thing led to another & due to a fall out with the venue which we built this idea on, we had to find a new home & sure enough a new & much more luxurious spot (Cream) opened up that no one in the city knew about so we had to jump on it quick & get the contract & lucky for us it worked out if you define Luck as the crossroads between preparation & opportunity.
With a new venue, we had to come up with a new name & we figured since the idea of bringing different people from all walks of life together is that of a city, then African City only made sense, Jesse thought it would be cool to add flare & add an extra “i” to the City so we did (lol). Not long after that all the Africans wanted in on the new hot party, coz it was unique, sexy & frankly they owned it! They couldn’t wait to show their non-African friends how hard we as Africans party, how good we look doin it & how our music sounds like & the American & Caribbean friends loved it because they too felt like they belonged.
That’s why over the last two yrs African Ciity has become a place everyone feels they belong, no matter how big or small their country or island is & we do this through music & our dialogue with the public. What I always tell people is that our product is culture pride, we celebrate & represent for wherever you’re from, thats our motto!
2. How did African Ciity manage to land the #1 urban station in America
You know in business a long-term decision can either make you or break you. About three yrs ago (before Cream/AFC) while building the party concept, we threw one major event (African Experience @ Velvet Room) & had to think of all ways to market the event because it was a huge venue. One option was radio marketing which i’ll admit we were hesitant about at first because it hadn’t been done anywhere & we all thought it only worked for American parties. But we decided to go ahead & try anyway & met one of the most influential people in the entertainment industry Osei “The Dark Secret”. The party was a huge success (over 1600) people showed up & it was a no brainer radio played a part in this.
So we decided to include it in our weekly marketing but there was a catch, the station which we used V-103 only took long-term contracts not one time parties so if we were going to do it, it had to be a long-term agreement. Though it was a financial gamble, we decided to do something that hadn’t been done before as the first African entertainment company on a major radio station weekly the U.S. & we never defaulted because it would ruin our name. Even when we changed venues we continued with the contract as previously defined & honored our side of the deal. Though sometimes it almost seemed like a bad investment, because returns were slow, in the long run it paid off because this business is a marathon not sprint, you can’t rush it & expect overnight results, you gotta be committed for the long-haul, be patient & know the relationships you invest in are all you have, so invest wisely.
After being on radio consistently for 3 yrs when certain opportunities come, we become part of the conversation as a possible option because we have proved our consistency, now have credibility & have a clear vision of where we are going. That’s what happened when the broadcast conversation came a few weeks ago even though I remember us discussing it with the station back in 2010, again patience pays & you gotta dream big & be willing to take calculated risks. I must also add due to prior commitments, this is the first time in over 10 yrs this specific broadcast has become an option for anyone else.
3. What does the live international broadcast on V-103 mean?
It’s historic! Broadcasts are a major part of the American radio tradition, every weekend in every major U.S. city you tune in to a major station & you get to hear a live experience from the American club the station is endorsing. Typically this is normally a four hour block, but we have what is known as a split-broadcast which means the station offers two major clubs the opportunity to endorse (at a major weekly cost) & the two clubs split it in half, one club does the first half 10pm – 12am and the second club does the second half 12am – 2am. This broadcast simply means when you tune in to V-103 on the assigned time slot we’ll have (10pm – 12 am EST) you get to hear our party live on the radio in real time, same way you can watch the award shows live on TV. But of course just like live tv, live radio calls for extreme scrutiny because the station is putting its entire reputation & audience in your hands, so we have to do it in stages to make sure it all goes right, for the first few weeks/months we get to add their best DJs to our roster & on a weekly basis all on-air personalities get to talk about our party all week.
What makes our broadcast special is the playlist, it’s the first time ever that Afrobeat, Reggae, Soca, Hip Hop, House & 90’s will be live in ATL radio. So we are making history, U.S. radio history! What this could mean is if the ratings do go up during the broadcast & the listeners like what they hear & write in or call in to the station, we could possibly see some of your Afrobeat artists get added to rotation which could turn into major U.S. record label interests & depending on how much the public likes their music, possibly even being part of some of the major American concerts that the station sponsors not just in Atlanta but at Award shows & eventually tours. The same goes for the Reggae artists as well.
In other words, the possibilities are limitless however it comes down to how much people support this. If people don’t tune in, tweet, like, call in, write the station to express their appreciation of this & ratings don’t go up, just like any other type of tv or radio show, the station will be forced to cut it. So we most definitely need everyone to support this 100%, after all if our people don’t support it, who else can we count on? It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us, the fans included. AFC has done all it can up to this point to get the biggest platform of music it’s audience likes, now it’s unto the public to decide how much they care about that music by taking action.
4. What are the future plans?
For us it’s always about growth, breaking barriers & staying away from people-politics, I must say that because as Africans I believe people-politics has played a major role in keeping us divided for generations but if we get past trying to compare each other or trying to get the best of each other, we can bring the best out of each other. Heck if the United States can do it as a continent & the European nations can do it as a union, think the possibilities if African nations came together to align their strengths where it could take us, just think. As for entertainment, continue making history for Africa & building relationships / partnerships that thrust the movement forward, at the end of the day if we’re not striving for greatness & stretching ourselves we’re not growing & are as good as dead.