If you’re looking for the most amusing and at the same time hard-hitting chatter about entertainment and everything in-between in Nigeria, no one can look further than Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi and Tolu ‘Toolz’ Oniru-Demuren on their talk show, ‘Off Air’. This is no surprise.
When two experienced and highly expressive radio show hosts come together to form a loose coalition, it’s not likely it’ll take long before the accolades start rolling in. The pair’s girly, no-holds-barred gists are sure to draw jaw-dropping freeze-stares, grins and even hearty laughter from the most casual of listeners.
But ‘Off Air’ didn’t just happen by accident.
About a decade ago, two young and bubbly radio show hosts had found home at newly launched Beat FM in Lagos, both anchoring their own shows – Toolz with The Midday Show and Gbemi with the Drive Time Show. Gbemi had arrived at the radio station following a successful time at Cool FM, while Toolz had just arrived as a fresh voice looking for an opportunity in her home country after obtaining degrees in the UK.
And it wasn’t long before listeners started to notice the effortless synergy between the pair as they had inadvertently become gist buddies during their daily handover sessions. From engaging in cheeky banter to making blunt remarks on every trending topic, Toolz and Gbemi had the listener’s ear and when you looked across the street to see smartly dressed young people with earphones grinning sheepishly to themselves, you could put a tenner on it that they are getting high off the show hosts’ bountiful supply of sweet gists.
Simply put, talk shows get no realer than Gbemi and Toolz.
By the end of 2013, Gbemi and Toolz’s handover session on Beat FM had become every listener’s favourite time of the day to get on the radio. And then the fans started to clamour for more. They littered the hosts’ Instagram comments section and DM, as well as Twitter timeline, demanding for a show that’d make them listen to their gist for a longer period of time.
Gbemi and Toolz would eventually capitalize on the demand and in October 2019 smartly announced the birth of their YouTube podcast aptly titled ‘Off Air’ – to the delight of their listeners.
“Most Wanted,” Gbemi described the union as both hosts creatively announced the birth of the show. And she didn’t tell a lie.
The added spice now, is that the audience can see them make amusing facial expressions that exposes their Yoruba-ness.
After 10 episodes, nearly a quarter of a million views and almost 7,000 subscribers within the first three months, the media personalities have hit the ground running in an impressive fashion. They have discussed everything from entertainment, dating, relationship, marriage, lifestyle, and even sex.
In one of the episodes where they chatted over cheating in relationships, Toolz jokingly asked the guys in the room: “what if your girl cheats on you with a guy that’s beaten you on FIFA before?” and ultimately sent the entire room into hysteria. Such is the wildness of the hosts’ thoughts that the fans have come to love. They have even prank-called an Instagram vendor selling hypnotic ‘jazz’ for young women willing to secure an ‘assurance’ with men.
‘Off Air’ is a smart, commendable move by two of Nigeria’s most entertaining radio hosts and it is interesting to see where it leads them as they continue to convert new fans by the numbers.