"Being a professional at anything requires varied and multiple skill-sets." - Andre Kunz
My beginnings in the radio space, started under the Jacaranda trees in Tshwane at the then, Radio Tuks.
Like most of the budding student volunteers the concept of actually “working” in radio was as foreign as attending class and passing subjects.
We were an enthusiastic bunch who were more committed than most but by no stretch of the imagination were we professionals. It was great. Who knew it would be the makings of a career? In a recent trip to Ethiopia with fellow Tuks enthusiast turned professional news journalist, Camilla Bath, we recounted the illustrious and sometimes notorious events of our early radio days. Everything pointed to being someone who enjoyed the craft but stopped short of committing to taking it seriously enough to be considered a professional.
For me the switch came in 2002. It dawned on me that there was a distinct difference in pitching up and executing the duties of a presenters and consistently approaching the task in a holistic professional manner.
Another colleague from my Tuks and OFM days, Andre Kunz, now at 5FM, has this to say about enthusiasts and professionals:
“I enjoy playing golf, I am a golf enthusiast. I have dreamt of wearing the Green Jacket and even being crowned the champion golfer of the year.
This will never happen, because I am a golf ENTHUSIAST.
Being a golf professional takes more than just the ability to hit a big drive, read a green, walk the course or chose a club. You need to putt well, have a good short game, manage your travelling schedule, meet you sponsor commitments and have a good rapport with your caddy, coach and trainer. The professional golfer has decided to make ALL of golf their profession. To be successful they know they need to master the total sum of all the aspects of their business, which is golf.
Being a professional at anything requires varied and multiple skill-sets.
Creating radio takes many skills, least of which is the voice or the social media following. Too many presenters these days have no idea how to “make” a radio show. This includes the ability to script and record a piece of content, manipulate the audio and load the produced audio onto a playout system. These tasks are often seen as below the “talent” and fobbed off to producers - the people who took time to learn the tasks required to do 90% of the radio show.
If a business had to outsource 90% of its core functions, costs would soar, and that business would cease to exist. In an industry that has been shrinking for several years, presenters need to ask themselves whether they can do their shows without the input of another person. If not, they are radio enthusiasts. Many radio enthusiasts have made it onto our airwaves over the years, some have even had minor success. But much like the talented young golfer who got a card to play on the professional tour and never learned all the aspects of being a professional, they are back at the local clubhouse.
With contract approaching, the professionals will make the cut and the enthusiasts will be working on their short career game.”
It’s ok to be an enthusiast. Just don’t expect professional benefits and the Green Jacket.
If you want to convert your enthusiasm into profesionalism, let's meet at the 19th or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Both Kunz and Zunckel have spent hours on the golf course and are yet to break through. The same is to be said about their time in radio studios.