CITY GIRL: Want to be a Kenyan radio presenter? This is how
Unlike most of my friends, I am a huge fan of Kenyan radio. I listen to local radio whenever I can, which is mostly on my way to work or school.
Mention a radio station and I will give you a list of my favourite presenters, their shows and what time they are on air.
Which is why I feel that I am an authority in the field of local radio. And who is better placed to give advice to future radio presenters on how to be a radio presenter in Kenya? You guessed it.
So here we go, boys and girls who envision a bright future in the world of local radio. Do you want to be a radio presenter in Kenya? Do you think you have what it takes? Look no further. I got you. Grab a pen and a notebook; I am only going to say this once.
1. Have a fake accent: A fake accent is the capital requirement for a sterling career in radio. Radio is all about your voice, darling. And not just a voice. The voice. You need a smooth, adenoidal voice that will wow and awe your audience.
Those TV bimbos have their curves and bouncy weaves but you have your voice. This industry requires that you have an extra something to make it. Your ‘extra something’ is an accent. You need an accent.
If you don’t have an accent, fake it. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in Kariobangi or Rongai; you’ve got to have an accent to make it in the Kenyan radio scene.
Don’t worry about that British or American accent nonsense. As long as you tweng your ‘r’s’ and ‘l’s’, and learn to talk really fast, you are already halfway through the path to success.
You cannot get a job at a radio station without an accent, trust me, I work in the media and I know these things. Whatever you do, work hard to practice that fake accent.
2. Be an untalented, failing musician: You can Kiss poverty goodbye and have it easy on the FM stations in Kenya if you are a waning musician. I will tell you a secret.
The people who make decisions on radio these days are not exactly the sharpest tools in the box- if you know what I mean. I am told you don’t have to be smart or brilliant to be the guy who makes decisions in a local radio station. I am just quoting sources.
So if you are a backfired musician, the one hit wonder type, I have good news for you. Chances are you are going to have a radio show all to yourself.
This way, you are able to punish your audience by playing your songs during your show and in the process kill two birds with one stone.
You do your job and get free promotion on a local radio station. It doesn’t matter if you are that female radio presenter who cannot sing (not even in your mother tongue).
It won’t even matter if you are that short, male radio presenter who easily sings like a girl and dresses in cleavage revealing t-shirts.
Are you a failing musician? Report to the nearest radio station. You are exactly what they are looking for!
3. Be semi-illiterate: To work in one of the FM stations in Kenya, I am pleased to inform you that you do not need to go to school.
High school drop outs are ruling our airwaves and if you are a college dropout, then I must tell you the truth, you are over qualified to work in a local radio station. If you want to be successful in radio, leave school right now.
You see, there are two types of radio stations in Kenya, those that employ presenters who can speak English with an accent and those who employ presenters that barely speak English.
If you are in the second category, the ones who can barely speak English, I am convinced that one of the FM stations is looking for you.
If you are the semi-illiterate type that cannot make a sensible argument on air, you are needed at one of the FM stations for an evening rush hour or ‘drive’ radio show.
If those who are making decisions on radio are barely schooled, what makes you think that you need a degree to be a radio presenter?
4. Be a comedian: A Classic hallmark of a radio presenter in Kenya is being a comedian. Local radio today is a laughing matter.
Are you a comedian? Are you trying to be a comedian? Do you masquerade as a comedian, regurgitating internet and twitter jokes on evening comedy shows?
Were you a comedian but went broke? Or a comedian with a TV show that needs publicity? Or maybe a comedian who can fake a Luo or Luhya accent very well?
Or perhaps a comedian with a fake Nigerian accent, name and tasteless Nigerian garb? Or a wannabe comedian that wants to be a comedian but doesn’t know how to?
End your search. I am going to give you free career advice. Walk into a radio station and say that you are a comedian who can fake a Luo accent and you will be directed to the human resource office to sign a contract and you will start as soon as you are ready!