Dan Foster, Nigerian-based American On-Air Personality, tells ‘Nonye Ben-Nwankwo how he came to Nigeria and his relationship with Nigerian ladies
Why do you keep moving from one radio station to the other?
When you look at a résumé of a radio presenter, it is usually a two-year thing. You wouldn’t want to take somebody who has been at one radio station for 15 years. He has no experience. You would want to get a resume that says someone has been to this station and that station. You want somebody who has wide experience at variety of places. Eight years at Cool FM was way too long in one place. I went to Inspiration FM and now City FM. In fact, I am almost set to move again unless something comes up. It is like being in the military. Some people might look at it as not being stable but they don’t understand the nature of the business. They don’t know what that person is branding or setting up. But then, I am even for the highest bidder. I sign a two-year contract. If you can beat the contract, I am available.
You host a new radio show, what is it about?
It is called Let’s Go Naija. It is for Nigerians and for everybody in Nigeria. It is a programme that highlights the great things Nigerians are doing. It talks about health. Take for instance the Ebola issue, we always have a theme on the show. It is a unique show that focuses on the testimony of things that young Nigerians are doing to help conserve and save energy and things they are doing to take the country to the next level. There is another part which I like. It is called the Unknown Countdown. It is a platform for artistes who are unknown to send in their musical materials which we play. Some artistes have been sending some great materials to us. The unique part of the show is the chemistry between Bella Rose Okojie and me. She is my co-presenter and she is so good. She is my pidgin Naija sister. It is an hour music show with people calling and sending shout outs to their loved ones. It is on seven different stations throughout Nigeria.
How did you get the job in Nigeria?
I put my best radio stuff on the Internet and I learnt that VI wanted me. I actually thought it was Virgin Island where I had worked before then. But it was Victoria Island in Lagos. I got the mixed up. Chris Obosi had contacted me from Cool FM for my tape that I had put out on the Internet. I had got hits all over when I put my stuff on the internet. So I came down in 2000 when I finally made up my mind that this is where I wanted to be.
Do you have regrets coming down here?
The only regret I had was that in 1999, I had a son in the US. I had to go to my dad and I told him, ‘Dad, I think I like my job more than being married now. I would do anything for that job but then, I just met this woman and she just had a baby for me.’ He is now 16. I was mad at him last year. My ex sent me some of his pictures and I knew he was doing drugs. He had everybody fooled as if he was a cool kid. I feel so guilty because I am sitting here making all the money and I didn’t spend time with him. You have to spend time with your kids or you would lose them. Sometimes I would call him and he wouldn’t have anything to say. I would ask him how he was doing and he would just say ‘fine.’ I would scold him and tell him to say something more than one word. I would tell him to ask me questions and he would say he didn’t know what to say.
Did you ever smoke weed?
Yes. I remember one time I smoked weed and my father came in and asked me, ‘what is that stupid look on your face? You must have been smoking that stupid stuff because you look so stupid!’ I never smoked it again. But I was even 18. But my son was 14 when he started smoking weed. I was so pissed with his mum because she didn’t even know what he was doing. Now, I am trying to get his head together and make sure he does well in school. My only pain is that I needed to have been there for this kid. But I have three kids now and I love them to death.
Was your absence the major reason he did drugs?
I could have communicated more with him. He needs a role model. I spoke to my ex’s new guy and I asked him why he didn’t watch over him. He said he tried to talk to him. I told him I was annoyed with them. I told him I would have watched over the kid and found out who he was hanging out with. He told me he was hanging out with a white kid. But he is doing better now. He is communicating with me now.
Why did you marry a Nigerian?
My father told me that my ex had moved on. In fact, he told me then that she looked heavy. I asked what he meant and I was told she was pregnant. I knew she had really moved on. But then, I didn’t marry again till almost four or five years later. I was taking my time after that. It wasn’t something I wanted to jump into. But then, I did have so many options.
We knew you had options including Linda Ikeji…
Oh yeah! I remember Linda asking me what she did wrong. She went on and on. My wife always tries to delete her number no matter how I tag it on my phone. She would always figure the number out and she would find out what I use to code it. My wife is so strong and she is the right woman. I love her because she didn’t know who I was when I met her at the theatre. She still didn’t know who I was for almost two weeks after. We just had a great conversation. My sister kept asking me how I would find somebody that would love me for who I am. I put my wife to that test. She didn’t know me. It was two weeks later that people in her office asked her if she knew who her boyfriend was and they told her. She told them she didn’t know and she hadn’t even heard me on radio.
But Linda is doing well now; don’t you feel you should have married her?
She is a nice kid. I hope she is able to find someone but she has to find the right person. She is really into what she is doing. She is an honest kid. I thought I wasn’t good enough for her. I kept asking her why me. But she was really into me. I couldn’t believe it. I took her for granted. I felt she could always find a fine model on the runway. But she was so really serious about me. She was in love with me. But it didn’t work out. I took her for granted and I was dating another person while I was dating her. I tried to keep a relationship in Abuja, another in Warri while she was in Lagos. Ah! It was a nightmare. I wouldn’t want to go through that again. I had three beautiful women at a time and I lost them all. They were all waiting. One of them knew about all the rest. She could have been the one. I hurt her so badly. She even left the country after we broke up. I felt bad. I went to the cinema to get my head together on a Saturday morning and that was where I met my wife. See how God works. Look at my kids. They are wonderful children.
Do we see you going back to stay in the US?
One day, I have to. But my family went to the US recently. They saw my relatives. I didn’t go with them. I wish I went with them. I am still looking forward to that day to happen. We are hustling at the moment. We will do it at the right time. The US is a great place but a man needs to be where he is known. This is where my job is. We would visit and enjoy those places. I have made this place my home because my work is so relevant to me. My job is important. The satisfaction I get when I am working is big.
You have not mentioned anything about your mother
My mother died when I was 10. There was no mum around. It was just dad. I had a good relationship with my dad. In fact, it was the best. I talk about him a lot. He is full of wisdom. He sounds so clever. He started taking care of us when my mum died. My siblings are cool too.
You must have fully adapted to Nigerian system now.
I am trying. It is just that I see fish in everything I eat. I am allergic to sea food. How can somebody put fish in beans? It is just ridiculous.