This week I have a surprise for you.
We have a interview with East Coast Radio DJ Gabriel Sithole. We met for a coffee
and chatted about this and that and you can't help but like this man.
Look out for this DJ he is going places.
Here are 20 Questions I asked him. Let's hear what he has to say shall we.
1. Where were you born?
I was born in Durban in the 80's, McCord Hospital here in Durban.
2. When can people hear you on East Coast Radio?
Every weekday morning from 2am - 5 am.
3. How do you use social media as a DJ?
It's the only way I can keep in touch with friends and ECR listeners off air. I'm signed up
for almost every single social site you can imagine, except for dating sites. I like to share
what I'm up to, my thoughts and opinions etc. It's the best way for anyone to find out a
little more about me and get to know me better.
4. Where have you worked?
Man! What a question! I have worked everywhere! I've had about 10 different jobs in the
last 12 years, since matriculating. However the ones that have made a mark in my life and
shaped me are:
2001 - 2006 Commuter FM in Jhb where it all started for me, radio wise
2007 - 2008 Radio Heldeberg in Cape Town, Youth Programme Jock and Chart Show Jock
2008 - 2009 Gagasi 99.5 FM, Sports Presenter and Swing Jock here in Durban
2009 - 2010 Supersport journalist for channel 200, Supersport Blitz in Johannesburg
2010 - 2010 KFM in Cape Town, Weekday mornings 1am - 5am & Sundays 2pm - 6pm
2011 - Current, East Coast Radio
5. Favourite Restaurant ?
Have to be Cuba in Gateway, it's a perfect spot to hang out with friends
6. Best place to hang out in Umhlanga ?
I'll stick with Cuba!
7. Advice for aspirant DJ's ?
Passion comes first, all else follows. It may sound like an easy to do job, but it's one of the toughest
on the planet. It's not for the sensitive souls, it can get personal as you are in the limelight and you must be
able to take criticism, good and bad. Keep your feet on the ground you are never bigger than the station you work for or your listeners. The very listeners are the ones that invite you to their private space,
by tuning in to your show ALWAYS treat them with the greatest respect.... ALWAYS! As the saying
goes it takes respect to get respect. I have a different view to this, ALWAYS offer all the time, with
no guarantee or expectations of getting it back. It will prolong your career.
8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Definitely a DJ but I also want to be established business wise and hopefully a family man.
9. What else do you do beside DJ work?
I'm a voice over artist so I do voice work for radio and television adverts. I'm also an
MC for events and weddings and I'm currently getting back into dee-jaying (spinning the
10. What do you do to unwind?
I'm a professional couch-potato. Give me a DSTV remote control and I'm set for life.
Cartoon Network relaxes me, it's a bag of laughs ALL THE TIME! Lately, the
addition of Comedy Central does wonders to unwind a tense soul.
11. Best advice that was ever given to you?
My mom once said to me: 'Hard work has never killed anyone, as long as you can
draw a breath of free air, you can work.' She still puts in an 8 hour day at 69 years old.
I live by that creed too.
12. How did you get your start on air?
Chance and divine intervention. I was discovered and steered in the right direction.
While at my first good job as an adult straight after completing matric. I worked to raise funds
to go to varsity. So I worked at Health & Racquet (now Virgin Active.) One of the gym members
happened to work at a radio station and she insisted that I come to her studios and do a voice demo.
She wouldn't take no for an answer. For some strange reason with pruning and chiseling here
and there.... she thought I had a great voice for radio.... so she said. She kept stalking me
for weeks... I eventually gave in and went through. A week later, I had a small role
co-hosting with one of SA's top radio DJs Reggie Philander. Like they say the rest is
history. I walked away from Sir Richard Branson's dream empire and pursued my
own... and here I am!
13. How does one become a DJ ?
I always advise anyone to do some sort of studying, whether Radio, Media, Journalism etc.
However just before you enroll it's pivotal to visit a radio station and spend some time
with the jocks and see what goes on in the studio. Not everyone who wants to be a DJ
will end up behind the microphone. We all have great voices yes however that is not a
guarantee that you will become a DJ. Ask yourself, can you talk to yourself in the studio
alone, while at the same time unbeknownst to you..... 2 million people are listening?
If your answer is yes, then your mind is correctly tuned to explore a career in the radio
industry. Secondly, do a voice demo for yourself and listen to it! This is not costly at all
these days. We all have cell phones that can record voice notes. Record yourself
a few times as if you were on radio and listen to it. If you are confident with your recording
then get a few strangers to listen to it and ask for feedback. Don't ask family members
and friends to listen to the demo, they'll be loyal to you even if it's bad. If it's still
going well then research good institutions where you can now study towards
becoming a DJ. Once you have your qualification then the hard work begins, of finding
a right station that suits you, to start working.
14. How do you market yourself ?
Social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Foursquare are my main sites.
I'm also currently busy putting together my personal website.
15. What's the craziest thing that has ever happened to you live on air ?
One fateful Saturday, a few years ago, while I was still a sports presenter, with less than
10 seconds to go live on air, my entire 3 minute bulletin disappeared off my computer
screen. In fact the computer monitor switched off and I did not print a back up. I knew
my opening line.... which was a standard greeting, which was only 6 seconds long the other
2min 54s was literally a miracle. Luckily I always used to rehearse the bulletin at least
4 times before going to the studio and presenting it. That fateful day, it came
very handy as I knew the stories off the top of my head, so I just presented facts
and filled up with my own opinions in between. The way a sports bulletin should be... at least
in my own opinion. So I spoke for 3min 30 seconds. The jock during that show was the one
and only legendary Bob Mabena and he had no idea what happened to my computer screen.
I only notified him 20 minutes after the bulletin and he was taken back at the level of composure
and comfort of going through a bulletin, literally, blind. That mishap made me
pursue television work with Supersport. However, I do not wish it upon anybody to have
that happen to them, it is nerve wrecking.
16. Who is your role model ?
My mom. She has admirable levels of patience and tolerance. I don't recall her once
losing her cool with me and I must say, I was not the most innocent child.
17. How do you keep in shape ?
Well! A circle is also a shape! I have not done a proper workout in 5 years.
However since 2012 is a Olympic year, I may be inspired to do something. Loving the
outdoors, I think I'll take up mountain biking and it could be a great double whammy
since I intend to take up outdoor photography again.
18. Which do you prefer Beach or Forest ?
Eish! That's a difficult one.... I'll have to say beach.
19. Favourite sweet treat?
Bar One ... still looking for that 25 hour day
20. How can people find you on Twitter and Facebook ?
Gabriel Sithole Radio DJ
You can also find him on Linkedin, FourSquare and MySpace.
To book him for MC gigs or Voice Over work email him on email@example.com
@GabrielSithole was interviewed by @fredfelton for @UmhlangaLife Magazine.