Since its launch in 2008, Lagos-based, urban radio station The Beat 99.9 FM has operated with a fixed, round-the-clock set of shows. The Morning Rush, The Night Time Show, The Liquid Lounge, just to name a few. By tradition, every show host on the station performs a near-ceremonious handover to the next host once the…
Since its launch in 2008, Lagos-based, urban radio station The Beat 99.9 FM has operated with a fixed, round-the-clock set of shows. The Morning Rush, The Night Time Show, The Liquid Lounge, just to name a few. By tradition, every show host on the station performs a near-ceremonious handover to the next host once the preceding show is reaching its end. And this handover can constitute vanilla radio talk that might bore you to death, depending on the personalities involved.
However, with the duo of Toolz and Gbemi, two award-winning on-air personalities who host The Midday Show and The Drivetime Show respectively, their handling of the handover segment is smart, zany chick-fun. Even the name, The Handover Show, establishes its full-fledged status, a testament to how it has morphed from a mere appendage to a real, listen-in show on radio. Though constrained by time, The Handover Show has developed a nuanced, critical eye for trending topics beyond politics and pop culture, and delivered with an uncompromising air of intelligence and feminine cool.
Perhaps it is the subtle contrast between Toolz and Gbemi that gives the show its spark. Candour, sarcasm, and wit are qualities that Gbemi possesses. On top of that, she comes across as relatable, often dipping into street-conscious lingo in conversations. She buffers Toolz’s tendencies to intellectualise, and Toolz, being the presiding anchor, combines spontaneity and effervescent self-mockery to surprising effect (she once compared her memory to that of a goldfish).
But The Handover Show deals with the serious stuff. When majority of the Nigerian Senate rejected the Gender Equality Bill in 2016, The Handover Show became a heavy anti-patriarchal crusade, even if overly didactic. So much so that Gbemi had a reiteration of the conversation on her show, with her frustration leaking into her interactions with a few callers. On the reported murder of Ronke Shonde by her husband last year, The Handover Show’s treatment of the tragedy wasn’t without empathy and sensitivity. It spurred, from that singular case, a much-needed discourse on violence against women, domestic or otherwise. Child marriages, the missing Chibok girls, and the alleged abduction of Ese Oruru were a couple of cases The Handover Show took to its heart.
As a guide on upcoming events for weekend-planning considerations, Toolz and Gbemi are always armed with suggestions you can use (unless it’s January and the atmosphere in Lagos is as dry as a post-nuclear bomb disaster). There is a sense that The Handover Show isn’t aware of how good it is, a pride it doesn’t want to claim for itself. Listeners have suggested to Toolz and Gbemi to make the show bigger than it is. Bigger, meaning having a sponsor and possibly go visual (Gbemi occasionally handles the latter by putting the show on Instagram’s live video streaming).
But it feels like bad advice, though. As it is, The Handover Show is unburdened by public expectations and ratings and that’s a good thing. There is creative freedom, spontaneity, and all the little enjoyable elements that can only come from a Toolz-Gbemi pairing. That the show wasn’t a solid, original plan from the beginning is a legacy that should be preserved, untainted and pure. Its simplicity and unglamourous nature are the central identities that are rare in today’s chockfull world of over-the-top, personality-centered entertainment shows. Its recognition of people’s sensibilities is a plus, but The Handover Show isn’t a strict abider of rules that border on personal comfort. It will offend you, perhaps more than once. And, even with a cheeky apology, you would still find yourself listening in, because you just can’t help it.