This week, CNN profiles Alistair Soyode, the Nigerian founder of the BEN TV channel in the UK.
London, England (CNN) — He may be the chief executive of a flourishing media company, but the last thing Alistair Soyode wants to be classified as is a media mogul.
“Classify me as someone like a farmer, because that’s what I studied,” he says as he attempts to describe a career arc that is as unorthodox as his television channel. “I’m a farmer who moved into television.”
Soyode founded Bright Entertainment Network (BEN) television, the first and longest-running African and Caribbean-focused television channel in the United Kingdom, in 2002.
Eight years later, BEN TV’s mix of entertainment, news and sports programs reaches nearly one million viewers daily — not bad work for a man who originally came to England to play professional football.
However, his aspirations to become a pro footballer failed to materialize. “I think the chill and the weather didn’t allow me to concentrate, so I decided to pack my bags and find something else to do,” he says in an interview with CNN’s African Voices.
After working in telecommunications and selling mobile phones, Soyode started BEN TV after trying and failing to find an appropriate production company to create shows for a Nigerian television station.
“I couldn’t find a black TV station where I could go to ask them for programs … so I thought ‘if I set up a production house, I’ll be able to produce a program and supply it to a Nigerian TV station'”, he says. “And that’s how the idea of BEN television came about.”
More here: CNN
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