Like a primary school student, nervous as hell before having to stand up in front of the class, I make my way onto the mini-amphitheater stage for my first outside radio broadcast. The butterflies were flying in many formations – none that seemed to calm the nerves, though. But the time had come; the teacher had called my name and now I had to come out from hiding behind my desk and entertain the class with that which I had prepared.
Did you know that South Africa is ranked 49th on the CAF World Giving Index (2015)? As the name implies it measures how lightly individuals are to help others, by using three indicators, namely: helping a stranger, donating money and volunteering time. Interestingly, in South Africa, the latter indicator (volunteering time) is the lowest of the three – sitting on a lukewarm 56%. This represents the percentage of people in South Africa that give up their time, at least once a year, for volunteer work. I can gladly say that I fall under that 56% after working at an outside radio broadcast, for the purpose of raising funds for Miracle Kidz. The charity temporarily accommodates homeless children, provides basic needs and searches for a future family. To make this event a success, we (myself and the rest of the radio crew) endured through stress, strain but at the end, satisfaction – and I’d like to take you through this journey.
EFFORT – IT WAS NOT ALL THAT SIMPLE
There is a lot of effort that goes in behind the scenes before a concert can become a night to remember! For instance, when you hear that your favourite band will be performing live at the Green Point Stadium – you don’t have second thoughts on buying a ticket. Once you arrive, on the much awaited day, we hardly stop and think about how long it must have taken to rig an event of this caliber. However, after at this small concert, I will without a doubt, appreciate the sweat that poured down someone’s forehead to make this concert possible. Speakers, lights, monitors and the list goes on (not to mention the spaghetti of power cables everywhere), are just some of the essentials that form the crux of an outside broadcast. And since everyone despises the teammate that is the last to arrive and first to leave, I stayed to help pack up – and it was an absolute nightmare.
What is more, is that all the equipment relies on power (obviously); if something were to go wrong, however, then you know what will happen…instantaneous shutdown. This unfortunately happened – twice. The second occasion no one quite knew what went wrong, but the first time, let me tell you what happened. Since the outside broadcast took place at a high school (in Cape Town) there are residences for school pupils. One of these pupils thought it would be a smart, Spud-type move, to pull the power out. This childish act delayed us by 25 minutes at least during the middle of the concert! It is a situation I do not wish to recall. But I will say that the expressions on my boss’s faces were far beyond shock and anger.
ACCUSTOMED – DON’T SIT FOR TOO LONG
I found it interesting how one can become so accustomed or comfortable towards something that originally they found unbearable to deal with. It was very much an anxiety-provoking experience in the first few weeks of radio. After a while you get used to it – talking behind a microphone in your own bubble that is. But take the same aspects of radio, which is a microphone and the ability to entertain, and place a person in front of 1000 people and all of a sudden you back at square one with confidence. It is a phenomenon that creates a space for us to keep learning, I suppose. What I am trying to get at is that no matter who you are, we all make mistakes. On the day, sitting behind that microphone in front of a sea of unfamiliar faces, I was nervous to the bone – even though I talk to strangers (indirectly) on a daily basis. The nerves actually affected the way I articulated some words. To make matters worse, I would get that sporadic feeling in your throat where you have to swallow in the middle of your sentence.
SATISFACTION – WHAT MAKES THE HUSTLING AND BUSTLING WORTH IT
Despite this, one should look at the greater cause of this outside broadcast – which was to raise funds for Miracle Kidz. Funds were raised by the audience donating money and in return, a local band performed some of their hottest cover songs. Additionally, there was a raffle floating around and once again, people could purchase a ticket. It gave me great joy to announce and hand out the prize, which was a pair of hand-made wine glasses, to a women who had just turned 90-years-old! I may not have gotten paid for it, and it may have been highly time consuming, but at the end of the day this broadcast made a significant difference in a few underprivileged lives. With that in mind, I – along with the rest of the radio crew, could happily accept the satisfaction that came along with the charity work.