Brighten Sorgwe (1944 – 2022)

Brighten Sorgwe, hailing from the vibrant heart of the Niger Delta, emerged as a luminary within Nigeria’s broadcast industry, leaving an indelible mark on its sands of time. A charismatic media icon, he didn’t merely walk, but danced through the corridors of old Rivers State, where his presence was synonymous with the pulse of entertainment. As a formidable DJ, his turntables spun tales of joy and rhythm, weaving a tapestry of melodies that became the soundtrack of an era. With each beat, he etched his name into the annals of history, elevating the very essence of entertainment and leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire generations.

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Radio Broadcaster, Journalist, Disc Jockey, Administrator

Parents/Birth

Born October 2, 1944 to the Christian family of Late Chief Johnson Sorgwe of Igbogene-Epie and Late Madam Egbe Bunas of Onopa-Atissa, all of Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa State,

Education and Working Career

Brighten’s journey in public service extended far beyond the confines of the broadcast sector. Following his graduation from United Christian Secondary School, Lagos with WASC/GCE in 1966, he embarked on a new chapter by enlisting in the esteemed Nigerian Navy in 1967.

His tenure in the Nigerian Navy was marked by a remarkable display of communication prowess, catching the attention of his superiors who recognized his innate talent. Swiftly, he found himself stationed in the Radio/Signals Department, assuming roles as both a communicator and an instructor. Through rigorous local and international training, he honed his skills, becoming a vital asset to naval operations.

Throughout his service, Brighten sailed the seas aboard warships stationed at various naval bases, from the bustling port of Lagos to the tranquil shores of Calabar and the bustling city of Port-Harcourt. However, in 1978, he made the pivotal decision to chart a new course, tendering his resignation from the Navy.

His resignation, fueled by an unwavering passion for the microphone and the world of broadcasting, was met with resistance from his superiors. Incensed by his decision, they vehemently rejected his resignation letter, resorting to drastic measures by confining him to a cell for a brief period before reluctantly releasing him.

Undeterred by the challenges he faced, Brighten seized the opportunity presented by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Station in Port-Harcourt to showcase his talents. In 1978, he joined the FRCN as a newscaster and programmer, heralding the beginning of his meteoric rise to fame.

Despite attaining celebrity status as BS, the FM Vocal Logo, and a distinguished DJ with a plethora of accolades to his name, Brighten remained steadfastly committed to his duties. His humility, amiability, and kindness endeared him to all, whether at home or in the bustling corridors of his workplaces, leaving an indelible mark on all who crossed his path.

He meticulously honed his talents in mass communication and journalism at the prestigious FRCN Training School in Lagos, where he embarked on a journey of learning and skill refinement. It was there that he attained both Basic and Senior Announcers’ Certificates in 1980, laying the foundation for his illustrious career in broadcasting. Fueling his passion for knowledge, he pursued further academic endeavors, earning a National Diploma (ND) in Journalism from the esteemed International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) in Abuja in 1998.

His pursuit of excellence didn’t stop there. With a thirst for knowledge that knew no bounds, Brighten sought to deepen his understanding of information and communication technology, obtaining a Higher Diploma (HD) from the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri in 2002. His quest for academic enrichment continued unabated, leading him to pursue Postgraduate Diplomas in Public Administration (PGDPA) and eventually a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the revered halls of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) in Calabar in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

In the twilight of his illustrious broadcast career, he embarked on what would have been the pinnacle of his academic achievements: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Administration at UNICAL. However, fate intervened cruelly, as health challenges arose during the crucial thesis writing stage, thwarting his aspirations for a doctorate.

Despite this setback, Brighten’s academic journey stands as a testament to his unyielding dedication to self-improvement and intellectual growth, solidifying his legacy as not only a broadcasting icon but also a scholar of remarkable caliber.

Media Career

Embarking on his illustrious radio broadcasting journey in 1978, Brighten’s ascent to stardom began at the Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN) in Port-Harcourt. It was here that he unveiled his inaugural Soul Train program, Pop Joint, igniting the airwaves with his magnetic presence and announcing his arrival onto the vibrant stage of the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole.

In the same transformative year, the young luminary transitioned to Radio Rivers, seamlessly adapting to the realm of Short and Medium Wave Modulations as Rivers State inherited the FRCN Station. Undeterred by change, Brighten continued to ply his trade under the banner of Rivers State, witnessing the dawn of a new era with the establishment of the Frequency Modulation (FM) Station in Port-Harcourt in 1981.

His journey of sonic exploration didn’t end there. In 1999, following the inception of Bayelsa State in 1996, Brighten found himself redeployed to Radio Bayelsa, specifically the illustrious Glory FM. Returning to his roots, he served his home state with distinction, eventually assuming the mantle of General Manager of the station from 2004 to 2007, steering it to new heights of excellence.

Throughout his tenure at these esteemed stations, Brighten captivated audiences with his mesmerizing performances as a maverick On Air Personality (OAP). His signature music programs, including Funky Vibration, Pop Session, Swing, Pop Trucking with Trucking Sounds, and BS Connection, resonated deeply with listeners, transporting them on rhythmic journeys of pure delight. Beyond his musical prowess, his golden masculine voice commanded attention in the realms of news casting and announcing, setting him apart as a true luminary in the broadcast profession.

“I am Brighten Sorgwe, BS for Short, BS Connection, the Numeru Uno, Inter Continental Ballistic Missile, FM Vocal Logo, BS Experience”, he regularly introduced himself on his pop-culture programmes, and kept audiences glued to the dialing point, listening to his scintillating programmes”.

The flagship music and news programmes drew a horde of fans, who called him by such monikers, in addition to the name, King of Swing.

A DJ and Media Administrator

In addition to his captivating on-air radio shows, Brighten established himself as a revered Disc Jockey, commanding the dance floors of countless parties and events. Taking to the DJ deck with finesse, he became a fixture at gatherings throughout the Garden City of Port-Harcourt, where he effortlessly stole the spotlight, captivating fans with his unparalleled musical prowess. Such was his influence that, as he confided, other DJs would often attempt to imitate him during events, yet he remained a subtle presence, his talent speaking volumes without the need for grand gestures.

Beyond his accomplishments as a DJ, Brighten proved himself to be a consummate media and communication manager, demonstrating exceptional leadership during his tenure as General Manager of Radio Bayelsa from 2004 to 2007. Under his guidance, the station underwent a transformative period, redefining its approach to service delivery and solidifying its position as a beacon of excellence in the broadcasting landscape.

His exemplary managerial skills didn’t go unnoticed. Upon his transfer to the Bayelsa State Ministry of Information, Culture, and Communication in 2007, Brighten seamlessly transitioned into a new role, where he once again showcased his pragmatic approach to administration. Serving first as Director of Publications and later as Head of Public Enlightenment, he played a pivotal role in shaping public information management strategies, effectively disseminating vital information to the populace.

In each capacity he held, Brighten Sorgwe exemplified selfless dedication to the organizations he served. A true mentor at heart, he generously imparted his knowledge and expertise to colleagues, offering guidance in phonetics, presentation skills, programming, and public information management. Many of his mentees, inspired by his teachings, have gone on to achieve remarkable success both within and beyond the boundaries of Bayelsa State, a testament to his enduring legacy as a mentor and trailblazer.

Professional Membership

The legendary Brighten Sorgwe was not only a trailblazer in the realm of broadcasting but also an esteemed member of various noble professional bodies, each representing a facet of his multifaceted expertise and commitment to service.

As a pioneer Chairman of the Bayelsa Chapter of the Institute of Mass Communication and Information Management of Nigeria (IMIMN), Brighten played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of communication and information management within the region. His leadership and vision paved the way for the advancement of the field, leaving an indelible mark on the profession.

In recognition of his exemplary contributions to the field of administration, Brighten was honored as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Administration (ICA), a testament to his dedication to excellence and his unwavering commitment to the highest standards of professionalism.

Ever dedicated to the welfare of his fellow broadcasters, Brighten was an active member of the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), advocating for the rights and interests of media practitioners across the nation.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Brighten’s philanthropic spirit shone through his membership in the Rotary Club, where he selflessly devoted his time and resources to serving the community and making a positive impact on the lives of others.

Through his membership in these esteemed organizations, Brighten Sorgwe not only left an enduring legacy of excellence and service but also embodied the principles of leadership, professionalism, and compassion that defined his remarkable life and career.        

His Family and Relatives  

His is survived by Mrs. Ebioboere Ogbise Sorgwe, wife; eight children: Mrs. Yvonne Sorgwe Iwo Brown, a financial expert and banker; Mr. Asue Bright Sorgwe, a broadcast journalist,marketing and advertising professional. Others are Stella Sorgwe; Tesini Sorgwe; Ovie Sorgwe; Richard Sorgwe; Ebimo Sorgwe; Bright Sorgwe; Ebiwari Sorgwe, step son, and sixteen grandchildren. Among his relatives are Prof. Chabovie M. Sorgwe, Rev. Fortune Sorgwe, Mr. Romeo Sorgwe and Hon. Ayanate Michael Bunas.

His Death

On June 5, 2022, Brighten Sorgwe, the revered broadcast icon and administrator, bid farewell to this world after a brief illness, leaving behind a profound void in the hearts of those who knew and admired him. His passing marked the end of an era, as his illustrious career and remarkable contributions to the field of broadcasting came to a close.

In a solemn ceremony held on Saturday, November 19, 2022, friends, family, and colleagues gathered to pay their final respects as Brighten Sorgwe was laid to rest at his residence in Igbogene, Yenagoa. The somber occasion was a testament to the profound impact he had on the lives of many, as tributes poured in from across Bayelsa state and beyond, honoring his enduring legacy and the indelible mark he left on the world of broadcasting.

Brighten, the Numeru Uno of Broadcasting, has departed from this world, leaving behind a legacy that will be deeply missed by his family in Igbogene, Epie/Atissa, the mass communication community, and the broader spheres of Bayelsa, Rivers State, and Nigeria. While his physical presence may have faded, the indelible footprints of his professional and leadership accomplishments will endure as a testament to his remarkable life.

As the FM Vocal Logo and the architect of the BS Connection, your achievements have woven a narrative of excellence and distinction into the fabric of broadcasting history. Through a combination of destiny, unwavering dedication, and relentless pursuit of personal development in your craft, you have etched your name alongside those of great men in the annals of time.

Though you have bid farewell to this world, Brighten, your spirit lives on through the lives you touched, the knowledge you imparted, and the legacy you leave behind. May your memory continue to inspire and guide us as we navigate the ever-changing currents of life. Rest in peace, Numeru Uno, knowing that your impact on this world will never be forgotten.

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Abalijay
"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing the biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future.