By Victor Ochieng
The name Ayinde Alakoye might not ring a bell for many Americans. In fact, when talking about investment in the media and entertainment industry, names like Cathy Hughes and those of great DJs and presenters come to mind.
Still, most of those who don’t know who Alakoye is know some of the products that stem from his creativity. He has revolutionized radio through his innovative ways and has made the radio feeling go social.
He’s the creator of Clear Channel, which later turned into iHeartRadio, an internet radio that boasts of 70 million users. Three years down the line, he founded Hitch Radio, which launched after he’d spent some time writing speeches for President Obama. His Hitch Radio idea was quite revolutionary, being an application that combines radio and social media. The app makes it possible for users to tune in to different radio stations across the globe and it can be accessed globally as well.
From his initiatives, it’s clear that he understands what this generation and the next one needs. He has persistently come up with ideas that have an edge over existing ones.
Alakoye, who hasn’t even hit 40, is now a respected figure with two tech products that define the last decade. Someone might think that he’s the type who got it all rolling in tech from his childhood days, but the truth is that he was just a boy growing in D.C. at a time when walk-mans and cassette tapes were the order of the day.
“I grew up in a single parent household,” says Alakoye. “Donnie Simpson in Washington D.C. used to get me off to school each day because he was the male voice I would hear.”
Of course he had challenging times growing up, but that never stopped him from pursuing what he wanted. Moreover, he also recounts the times he spent with his family and friends bonding over music.
“When we were kids, we would call each other up when one of our favorite songs came on, like ‘Roxanne’ or whatever,” he recounts. “We’d call each other up a say ‘Hey, turn on the radio!’ And you’d hear the song playing in the background. Somehow, when you listened to radio together, the same song, it made it more special.”
As he dived into entrepreneurship, he began to grow and has consistently worked towards bigger and better things.
To young people of color who would like to make forays in entrepreneurship, he says that they should focus on exploring what’s available within their communities before going out there.
Alakoye went to Juniata College and graduated with a marketing degree. He got involved in professional beach volleyball for a couple of years before transitioning to suits.
He worked at WTOP in Washington D.C. and then later worked with Clear Channel and CBS.
“When we were kids, we would call each other up when one of our favorite songs came on, like ‘Roxanne’ or whatever,” he remembers. “We’d call each other up a say ‘Hey, turn on the radio!’ And you’d hear the song playing in the background. Somehow, when you listened to radio together, the same song, it made it more special.”