Radio is one of the most common mediums through which audiences discover new artists or become familiar with their favourite artists’ music. It’s therefore no surprise why many musicians seek to rock the air waves and listeners just the same. Artists know that getting air play on radio signifies the mass appeal of their artistry, which is a plus when it comes to selling records and garnering huge audiences at their live shows.
However, there’s more to radio than just the crusade for the coveted “most played record” title. There’s also competition between radio stations to deliver the most relevant and compelling content to their listeners. This is where different individuals involved behind the scene in radio play vital roles in ensuring that their radio stations stay relevant. Thato Hlatshwayo is one such person.
Thato is a young lady who’s cutting her teeth as a content producer at Kasie FM, and can vouch that creating content for radio is not a child’s play. In this information age where almost anything is available at a click of a mouse, it’s important for radio stay current by providing up-to-the-minute news, traffic reports, live interviews, sporting updates etc. Considering that time is money on radio, the content has to be accurate and comprehensive in nature but also condensed and summarised.
Known as “Miss T” in her turf, Thato spoke to Lavatory Records and gave us an account of her day-to-day life on radio, the changes within the scene and other insights that are important to her as a content producer for radio.
Lavatory Records: Tell us a bit about who Thato Hlatshwayo is?
Thato Hlatshwayo: Thato Hlatshwayo is a God-fearing young lady, who is born and bred in JHB. I was raised by a single parent and have two younger siblings. I’m the first born (saying it with a smile).
I’m currently in my final year at Boston Media House, and studying for a Diploma in Media Practices, specialising in Radio Broadcasting.
LR: What sparked your interest in radio and broadcasting?
TH: What created the spark for radio was the field of the media industry itself. I’ve always wanted to be on the television screens and I believe I’ll still make it there. With radio it was a matter of being curious about how the DJs/ presenters got so much information out through the speakers of the radio. Once I began studying and understanding the concepts of how it’s done, I was hooked – although not to be the presenter but rather the creator of what’s being heard.
LR: How did you get into Kasie FM?
TH: Kasie FM is the foundation key into radio and knowing the ropes. It was actually my mom’s idea that I ended up on Kasie FM. We went there and I was interviewed and before I knew it I was interning.
LR: Tell us what your day entails as an intern content producer on Kasie FM?
TH: What I do is basically get the show running. As a content producer, I provide the content, organise and schedule the questionnaires for the interviews, and make sure ads are played on time. Anything we talk about may be impromptu however we’ve discussed the angle.
LR: Who is/are your favourite radio broadcaster/s and why?
TH: Wow, my favourite radio broadcaster..hmmm (thinking)? I have to give it to the Metro FM breakfast team! They’ve created an atmosphere that relates to everyone whether it be your golden oldies, your teenagers, young adults straight through to kids. They create the theater of the mind.
Rob Byrne (Metro FM) on traffic was born for the platform, he makes you want to hear traffic, he is good, short precise and clear.
Your legends like Bob Mabena, T-bose,T-bo Touch, Wilson B Nkosi, Thuso Motaung, and Chomane Chomane… these guys have been in the industry and the way they’ve made radio is well delivered! They’ve owned it!
LR: Do you think community radio is still relevant? How so?
TH: Community radio is very much relevant. It is a platform for those who can’t be heard. It’s for that old man under the tree who is making something so he could bring food on the table. It’s all about addressing the community and having the community heard as well as educating and entertaining.
LR: Do you feel the internet is changing the format of radio? If so, how?
TH: Internet is changing the format at a click of a button! I can stream anything I want to hear, we have online radio with different content, sound and feel to it. Internet has taken radio on to a different platform.
LR: For many people radio is where they learn of new music and artists, who are some of your favourite artists?
TH: Yes I agree radio is where we hear new music and what’s happening in and around the world. My favourite artists have to be Dj Dimples, Kaylow, Joyous Celebration, Benjamin Dube, Sam Smith, John Legend, K.O, Anathi, Black Coffee, Mobi Dixon, Dj Mshega, Ralf Gum… The list is endless.
LR: What do you think of the state of the local music industry?
TH: Local music is growing; new artists are coming out with different sounds its interestingly intriguing.
LR: If you did not pursue radio, which industry/profession would you have gone into?
TH: Hahaha, if it wasn’t radio, it would be acting or marketing. However, I love cooking, so being chef is one of the careers I would’ve pursued.
LR: What advice would you give to young people who want to get into your field?
TH: My advice is that be sure you know yourself and you are passionate about this field because at the end of the day, you are stuck with the choices made and life is too short to have regrets. Do what you love because what you love will bring you great joy and money (Lol).
LR: Any special mentions you want to shout out?
TH: I just want to say if it weren’t for God I wouldn’t be where I am, and I thank Him for blessing me with a very supportive mother and family. My presenter Kay Kay, ah man he inspires me so deeply because he has great passion for radio! Also Phly Guy, a presenter at Kasie FM as well, whose heart is radio. The station: Kasie FM, thank you for the great opportunity.
Thank you for everything. I enjoyed this interview. As we always say on air “always do what you love and love what you do”.