FirstStep speak's to 5FM's SURESHNIE GOVENDER and asks her about her path to becoming a DJ.
1. You must get this a lot, but we have to start with the cliché, why become a Radio DJ? Was it an ambition or did you just stumble upon it as a career?
I've always been fascinating with questioning the status quo, so journalism was the route I was keen to follow. I then discovered that journalism was multifaceted and I ventured into Broadcast Journalism, which entailed Radio. Once I started in news, current affairs, and then hosting chart shows and lunchtime, I realized that I finally found a niche that brought my passion for radio to life.
2. If you could draw or design a map of how best to become a Radio DJ what would your version look like?
Read, Read, Read, the more you familiarize yourself with the world, it becomes so much easier to attract an audience who is keen on listening to an informed opinion. People tune in to be educated, entertained and informed, if you can do all three without sounding contrived and practiced, you've gained somebody. Be yourself, be ready for criticism, and know that you are only as good as your last fifteen minutes. If you keep that in mind, your everyday radio experience will be one you look forward to.
3. 5FM has quite a reputation, was it easy to fit in and adjust to a Radio station that has such a huge following in South Africa?
5fm has always been my dream, I worked my way through campus radio, a regional jazz station, and an Indian based PBS national station to get here. 5fm is the mecca of radio, its where every aspiring dj wants to be, purely because you're working with highly skilled management who breathe and live for radio. I've learned a brand new way of approaching radio, the station has enriched my technical skills and more importantly has let me find 'who I am' in the broadcast medium 5fm are the trailblazers and trendsetters, and it feels awesome being on a winning team and truly broadcast to the whole of South Africa and not limit myself to a specific region or audience.
4.An accountant knows Numbers, a pilot knows planes what should a Radio DJ be an expert at? (Besides Music there surely has to be other things?)
Be technically efficient. Be prepared to work with technical equipment that demand your attention and detail. Be an expert at being natural and knowing yourself. Know your audience and station and the station's plan. Don't deviate from that. Be an expert at wanting to make things happen in your environment, and always be on the lookout for new material, it can come from anyone.
5. Lets not beat about the bush your career rocks! Most people would really like to be a Radio DJ, is the industry competitive and how do you stay ahead of the competition?
It sure is competitive, and that helps keep the heat on your passion for what you do. I live by the fact that you're only as good as your last fifteen minutes, and there is always someone waiting in the wings to replace you. So you have make yourself irreplaceable. The more you listen to other stations, monitor what they're doing, and make sure you don't use old material that they've used, avoid their styles, always aim to be different. If you know your competitions style, try steer clear of it, or go a different route.
6. Besides being a DJ, what other jobs have you done or careers you have considered?
I've had the awesome opportunity of contributing to a youth newspaper, I lectured first and second year journalism students while studying myself, I was a media consultant at a public relations company. I worked in my dad's printing factory. I still continue my work as a television voiceover artist, MC and I dj at clubs. The only other career I've contemplated is to work as a programme manager of a radio station in the future, and impart whatever I have gained to other dj's.
7. Hardest challenge of your job?
The earrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyy hours, I'm a lousy morning person!
8. Most DJ's are not just subjected to radio anymore, other media avenues are allowing DJ's to venture away from the microphone. Do you believe that is a good thing or do you feel that it destroys the whole concept of a quintessential Radio DJ?
I believe its awesome. As I've mentioned before the broadcast medium encompasses all aspects really from on air to off air, everybody has a role to play. All other avenues come from the same source anyway. There is an expiry date on your voice unfortunately but your mind is active in radio and you can share your passion, knowledge and creativity in other aspects, and I definitely keep that road open.
9. What advice would you give an aspiring Radio DJ?
The best advice, is to truly believe in yourself and you'll make it happen. Radio is short lived, make every second count, and don't lose what is essential in life, don't lose YOURSELF.
I'm a proud DURBAN girl, the kingdom of the zulu is my sunshine and blue skies
Favourite part of your job:
putting that red MIC button on, and doing what I live for
Favourite working moments:
Working with my idols, I've been given this amazing opportunity to share the same seat as my radio idols Mark Gillman, Ian F and Sasha Martinengo. These are the people that I spent my days and nights listening and laughing to, and being in the same room watching them make great radio, satisfies any sacrifice I've made to be here
Message to young South Africans:
Education is the key to humanity. Don't forget where you come from and people who have helped you get there and really CARPEDIUM