I hung up on Caroline Mutoko – Larry Asego on getting Kiss FM job
Larry Asego, a media personality, recently shared his journey from the stage to becoming a radio star.
In an interview with Nairobi News, he revealed a strategic pact with Langata MP Phelix Odiwuor, popular as Jalango, bagged them a dream job on radio.
“I remember Jalango came to the National Theatre, and he was like, ‘Larry, we have been shortlisted so what should we do?’
I told him, Chief, listen, let’s make this simple. Let us work together. Let’s make the show sound so good together that they must take both of us. It was very strategic.”
Larry continued, “For us, it was hard work. We did not have a godfather. I had been on stage – theatre – for 10 years until finally, someone noticed what I was doing. That is just pure hard work.”
The two were shortlisted for a job at Kiss FM after they were spotted by media personality Caroline Mutoko in one of their stage productions.
After attending radio job auditions, Larry and Jalango were on probation for three months.
“We were on probation for 3 months. We used to prep with Jalango from 4 am. The show starts at 6 am by the time the show starts, we are so set that it sounds so fluid and flawless. Even Caroline Mutoko is looking at us like, ‘This is working’. We were confirmed, and that is how we got into radio,” Larry said.
Larry admitted that his passion for theatre initially led him to the stage, where he never anticipated being discovered for a radio job.
“On stage, I never in my wildest dream thought I would be spotted and land a radio job. No way.”
He added, “I was doing stage because I love performing. I honestly love theatre. I even wrote my own scripts. At time Sammy Mwangi was encouraging us to break away from British authored scripts and write our own stories from scratch.”
He vividly recalled the life-changing moment when Caroline Mutoko called him. Initially skeptical, Larry hung up on her, thinking it was a prank call.
“I remember that day when I got the call. The phone rings, and I pick it up. The voice on the other end says, ‘Hallo. Larry, this is Caroline Mutoko…’
I hang up. I was like, yeah right! This prank calls…”
It was only when Churchill confirmed the call’s authenticity that Larry realized it was indeed Caroline Mutoko wanting to meet him over the radio job.
Unbeknownst to him, the meeting turned out to be an interview, but Larry spoke freely, just as he would in any conversation.
“I did not know it was an interview. I was speaking freely. She would start a topic I contributed and we move on to the next topic, we were just chatting. Later is when she told me ‘That is what radio is all about!’.”
Caroline appreciated his natural approach and confirmed him for the role.
“Every day I had to keep reminding myself. Waaaaah I’m on this [radio] show. I did not expect it at all.”
Larry reflected on the tremendous change in his life. From no longer taking matatus (public buses) to adjusting to the demanding schedule, radio brought about significant transformations. The early morning starts required him to forego late-night clubbing, and the work extended beyond the four hours on the air.
“People think Radio is just 4 hours of work. It is actually not. There is the 2 hours before going on air for 4 hours then there is the one hour after. You are there for 7 hours the only difference is you don’t have a lunch break. It is continuous,” Larry explained.
Becoming a radio personality also altered Larry’s public life. People who knew him from the radio started referring to him by both his names, while his friends still called him Larry or Asego.
“I like introducing myself it doesn’t matter if people know me or not I just make it a point to. But suddenly when I got on the radio people are too familiar, even people you don’t know. The way they have related to you on the radio, they feel like they know you.
At times it is challenging to achieve privacy. At times, you have those down moments you want to have a beer by yourself, but you cannot, and you have to smile and indulge, and for an introvert, that is difficult. But you have to smile and wave because they are your fans and the last thing you want to do is annoy them. That was a big shift for me.”