When I was 14, I was watching ‘Top Shayela’, it was the Bonang Matheba episode and there was a scene where she was on Yfm. I went crazy. I wanted to know who she was and what that thing she was doing was. I started stalking the industry since then. I got fascinated by how everything is put together from the jingles, songs, content and the tech involved to create an atmosphere like no other.
Meet Liberty Radio Award 2018 nominee, Futhi Masilela, the young woman determined to rise in the radio ranks by carving her own path.
Before meeting Futhi Masilela in person, I was a sent one of her demo clips in the hopes that I could assist with her brand management. My first interaction with her was this almost 60 second clip which was a combination of links she had done during her time as the presenter of The Ultimate Turn Up, a show on PUK’s campus radio station.
“I love how your voice is in charge of someone’s mood. No one knows what you look like but they can only imagine based on what comes out of your mouth. It’s sort of like projecting some type of energy to the individual listening on the other side,” says Futhi and she is absolutely right. After hearing her demo, I lit up with wonder, excitement and surprise that young people coming into traditional broadcast mediums like radio still had talent. We are constantly being fed youngsters who are awkward to listen to on radio but are placed in key slots regardless due to their popularity on social media.
This a strange way for South African stations to identify and place talent because while globally, influencers are becoming the new celebrities, our dear Mzansi is not there yet. We would have to start with solving the issue of internet access for the poor and those data prices first. “Traditional radio is still as popular as it was before. I doubt it will go anywhere, I grew up with it and so are my nephews and nieces right now. Online radio is not a replacement for traditional radio however an alternative platform for those who want listen to radio but can’t reach traditional platforms,” says Futhi.
The rising star recalls her first interview with a major South African celebrity; rapper Cassper Nyovest was on a rise of his own and, it was my first interview six months into campus radio, I was nervous as hell, he tried to calm me down before I asked the first question by making a joke about my name. We made more jokes throughout, sang like American church choirs and he gave me a nickname. We had a blast!”
I’m inspired by my Grandmother. A strong, praying, independent woman. She taught me to fight for what I want, don’t let anyone get into my way, take care of others and to remain humble.
Futhi has collaborated with MELENIAL.com on a new podcast show which airs on SoundCloud every Thursday at 19:00, a fun, music entertainment and lifestyle show, The Weekend Space will be a platform ” to challenge me in a way that will allow me to grow. I want a year from today for the podcast to be in demand (from artists wanting to be interviewed, upcoming artists pushing for their songs to be played, the audience wanting a three-hour show) and growth in numbers.I want the show to have a loyal crowd that goes to space on weekends.”
On the heels of the production of the podcast, Futhi’s show on PUKfm was announced as a nominee for the sought after Liberty Radio Award, the most prestigious award for radio broadcast professionals in the country. “I’m shook and mostly I feel blessed. It feels like God is constantly looking out for me. I got the news on a day that I woke up feeling happy and had worn the PUKfm tshirt by sheer coincidence, I heard about the nomination a few hours later.”