Durbanite Keri Miller burst onto the radio scene on KFM’s Ground Patrol just over 3 years ago. From there she joined Lee Downs for Cape Town’s biggest commercial radio traffic show: KFM 94.5′s Drive. Currently she hosts her own weekend shows on KFM where she keeps you company on the weekend’s mornings. But how did this Durbanite ex-isiZulu teacher infiltrate the Cape radio scene and make such a positive impact? Here’s how:
SBTC: What is a Drive Show Co-Host and Traffic Reporter?
KM: Well a co-host is exactly that, the side kick… Batman’s robin… I get to do the fun stuff while Lee has the admin. I have a traffic compiler who gets all the info from the traffic police and our SMS line and that’s how I know what’s happening on the roads. I have recently moved to the weekends to do my own show.
SBTC: What does co-hosting a radio show entail?
KM: Basically I would arrive at work and get my game on. Lee preps me on the stories that he wants to focus on for the day. I am there to have a different opinion and be another voice really. There are listeners who side with his theories completely, and others who see things from my point of view. I think that works really well because we can represent a much larger audience. Other than that, I make coffee and Google cool YouTube videos
SBTC: Do you genuinely disagree or do you find an opposing opinion to make radio more “interesting”?
KM: Good question – I have definitely done both, especially when I was with Lee. We tried to cover both sides of the story and if we were on the same side, then yes, I would try and give a different perspective.
SBTC: Does studying prepare you for on-air radio or do you learn everything on the job?
KM: I learned everything I know by being on air. You can learn to run a desk or to compile content but you learn everything on the job.
SBTC: Where do you come from? Did your background influence your passion for radio?
KM: I’m from Durban, KZN. I always had a love for radio. While my friends were playing mom to their dolls, I was doing radio shows for mine. I did my work experience in Std 9 at East Coast Radio in Durban, then went on to study linguistics and drama at UKZN. I was on the lunch show at Red Cap Radio for 4 years before moving to Cape Town and joining the rad team at 94.5KFM.
SBTC: Have you ever had a listener say they don’t like you? If so, how did you handle this?
KM: Hahahahahaha definitely! You can’t have all 1.2 million people love you. So when a listener does message to tell me they don’t quite care for me, I thank them for being honest, apologise for annoying them and then ask if they have any constructive criticism. 9/10 times they feel bad for being so rude and add me on Facebook
SBTC: You’ve also spent a bit of time script writing and acting, is radio about acting?
KM: You can make it more like acting if you want to, for example, you can create a persona at your will. I, however, am just myself on air and I think that is why radio works, you get to be a real person.
SBTC: Do you still find time to act or write?
KM: I didn’t when I was on air with Lee daily but now that I have moved to the weekends I have a lot more time during the week to do more creative things.
SBTC: How does retail radio differ from commercial radio and which one do you prefer?
KM: Tough one. It’s freedom vs platform. I loved how free redcap radio was, I loved the choice I was given, however, you can’t compare retail to FM. If you want to make radio a career you need to be on a commercial station. Either way, radio is super fun.
SBTC: Do you prefer hosting your own show or co-hosting?
KM: I’m currently hosting Saturday mornings and Sunday night shows and there is something incredible about hosting your own show. But there is also something magical about finding that on air spark with someone resulting in creating a shit hot show! I would do both if I could, if there were more hours in a day.
SBTC: How do you prepare for your solo shows opposed to feeding off another presenter?
KM: Preparation is the same for both. It is about keeping up to date with current affairs and what is trending at the moment. The trick is trying to figure out how to incorporate your listeners into your conversations.
SBTC: You love MCing, what tools are needed to MC?
KM: Live MCing and radio are actually really different. A lot of people who are very comfortable behind a mic are very uncomfortable in front of large groups of people. I LOVE MCing as I’m very comfortable on stage or on camera. The key is to just chat. Keep it natural, it makes the crowd more relaxed and that is why we are here
SBTC: What DON’T people know about radio?
KM: We have a license to play certain types of music. A station doesn’t cut out genres because they don’t ‘like’ them, it’s because we have a license to only play certain things. Just like a car license, you can’t drive an 18 wheeler truck on a code 8. And we are not involved in choosing the music on air, we’re given a set playlist.
SBTC: You also produced the Top 40 show for Mark Pilgrim, what does producing entail?
KM: Because the Top 40 is run across Jozi and the Western Cape, it means that we are running 2 studios with only one presenter. So while Mark was broadcasting from Jozi I would be running things from the Cape Town studio.
SBTC: What’s the secret to getting your foot in the radio door?
KM: Right time at the right place, really. I know that doesn’t sound promising, but there are so few radio slots and so many talented presenters. It is a mix of hard work, fortune and perseverance.
SBTC: Is a co-hosting a viable income or do you have a second job?
KM: Yes it is especially if you are on every day but you are only working 3-4 hours a day so there is definitely time for you to get a second job. Remembering though that there are lots of station activations that need you so you can’t do anything too serious. I took up a second part-time job at One80 training, a personal fitness gym on Loop street, as a kettle bell instructor.
SBTC: What’s your ultimate work goal?
KM: To up my profile, do more MC work, keep focused on my show and NEVER be a diva.
SBTC: What’s the best advice you were ever given that encouraged you?
KM: Be happy where you are. Positivity can’t come to you if you are negative. Be thankful for everything you have even though you are pushing for more.
Catch Keri on air on KFM on Saturday mornings from 5am as well as Sunday evenings at 9pm. Alternatively, follow her online either on Twitter or Facebook or read her blog on WordPress! And if you’re in the need to get beach ready for this summer, she’s available to help you train on One80Training.
thanks so much to Meg Shout for the interview. https://twitter.com/SheBuiltThis