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Mr Maps urges DJs to harness internet

 

Mr Maps

Mohalenyane Phakela

HE has 13 years of experience and it can be safely said that Mr Maps has seen it all in the radio industry.

And so when he says radio has changed for the worse in the country, you can be sure that he knows what he is talking about.

Mr Maps, whose real name is Tlali Mapetla, recently told Xpress People that while radio should be better now because presenters have the internet at their disposal, that is sadly not the case at all.

He says the unpleasant reality is that most of the current presenters are more focused on their personal popularity than serving the mandate of their given programmes.

“When I joined radio in 2004, it was much harder than nowadays as internet access was so limited that it took a skilled individual to carry out the required research,” Mr Maps said.

“One also had to know more than just music and popular culture in order to be relevant to the audience.

“With the power of the internet we should be sharing so much more relevant information and I had hoped it would be far easier nowadays.

“But it has become far worse because the grammar is horrible for both official languages (Sesotho and English) and presenters care more about promoting themselves,” he said, adding, “People forget that radio is a reference point for the listeners so what one says on air goes a long way”.

The Masianokeng-born Mr Maps joined radio in 2004 as a presenter at the National University of Lesotho’s community radio station Dope FM. He had visited the station as a guest host but the programme managers were charmed by his skills and asked him to stay on.

Two years later, he co-founded Ultimate FM and hosted the then popular Hip Hop show Backdoor Sessions that used to air on weekends until 2008. The programme gained popularity for showcasing local artistes such as Agent K and Macs on the decks.

He eventually left for South Africa in 2008 to study sound engineering at the Academy of Sound Engineering in Johannesburg. While in the neighbouring country he was able to learn about the production of radio programmes from renowned rapper and producer Proverb, who was then a Metro FM producer for popular DJs Glen Lewis and Unathi’s Avenue Breakfast Show.

On his return to Lesotho in 2009 he worked as an MC at various events and in 2014, he became the events manager at popular nightspot 4fordy in Khubetsoana in the Berea district.

That same year he started his own public relations and marketing company, Emotiv PR and also worked as an MC at various events including prestigious ones like the Miller Sound Clash and Colours of Sound.

In 2015, he joined Mxxl Space Age Radio which was then a new kid on the block. He did an afternoon show called The Juice alongside Nuch which won him the Best Radio Personality at last year’s Fashion Meets Music Awards.

He said objectivity, relevance and the willingness to regularly learn new things were some of the key attributes of a good radio personality.

“Objectivity is very important and one must be able to separate himself from the issues being discussed, he must be sensitive to listeners of different genders, age groups and cultures.

“The show must be current and up to date and it can be kept interesting by being relevant to the listeners and being exclusive. It is also important to make listeners feel they are part of the show.”

He said the clarity and relevance helped attract corporates who would endorse presenters and ask them to host events including personal events for fans.

He however noted several challenges including the lack of programme managers “who know what they want from presenters and equip them to achieve that goal”.

“Secondly, presenters lack technical support so they end up doing more than just presenting and also do production which ultimately affects their work on air.

“However, I am happy that a lot of the work I have done has opened opportunities for others and created a standard for people to respect and aspire to.”

He said although radio was initially a hobby, it became “a great platform for all the other things I do such as content production and public relations for brands, producing and breaking new music and encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth”.

“I love promoting young talented people and businesses.

“I am still too young to say I have done it all and I am currently working on yet another radio platform that will be the first of its kind in the industry,” he said.

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