Stepping into TV

I have been fortunate so far with opportunities that radio has led me to since starting out in 2015. Listening to the latest music, meeting artists and an opening of perception are just some of my experiences to name a few, but the latest one would be stepping into the TV world.

I was asked if I would like to represent the radio station that I work for, to talk about popular music. I humbly accepted the offer. Every week, students at UCT get to vote for music they enjoy and through that the radio station makes a top 30 hitlist chart which airs on the weekend. The following Monday afternoon, after the radio show, I speak with people from kykNET NOU on chatNOU channel 146. And yes, it is an Afrikaans channel. And no, I don’t have to make use of my Afrikaans on live TV. Although, when I was to go live for the very first time (towards the end of last year), they introduced me in Afrikaans “En vandag ons praat met Michael Owen van Kaapstad” and I genuinely thought I was going to have to have a 5 minute conversation of Afrikaans. I was just so relieved when they said “Hello Michael, how are you doing?” They are based in Jozi, so we converse over Skype. In essence, we simply talk about new music at UCT and the top 5 songs at our university.

Usually, towards the end of our conversation, they ask me a random question that is off script —

“What app do you use the most?” (Probably Google Maps)…”If you could host any TV show, what would it be?” (Something related to sport)…”What is your favourite sandwhich?” (Well, smoked chicken and mayo is always a winner).

TV is a completely different experience to radio, but at the same time they complement one another? I remember how nerve wracking the beginning stages of radio were. You’re talking into a microphone with no-one else in the room and none of your listeners can see you. With TV, it’s back to square one. Even though you’re still talking, you’re focusing  on one thing – the camera. This time, the audience can actually see you!

One of the major differences between radio and live TV, in my opinion, would be the fact that in radio you have notes at your disposal. You can look at them as much as you like and at the same time still sound as though it’s completely unscripted. Furthermore, you have the power to move into music if you really do get stuck. On live TV, it’s expected that you remember your lines. Looking down at your notes every few seconds really doesn’t look good on camera. Think about it – don’t you also cringe a little when you’re watching someone on TV and they completely make a mess of it? I guess TV presenters could move into an ad break (since TV has too many ads), but it’s not the same as simply pressing play for a song.

It has been an awesome experience so far which I hope continues to branch out. If you’re eager to see me answer unprepared questions on TV, I’m usually on between 5:30-6:15pm on a Monday evening, channel 146.

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