Having achieved national fame through his notorious ‘Whackhead' pranks, Darren Simpson will soon host the KFM breakfast show between 6am and 9am, bringing his brand of fun, funny, relatable radio to Western Cape listeners - and yes, there will be a daily prank, but that is only 5% of the session. “It's a great little moment of appointment listening, but it's only a small part of the show,” clarifies Simpson.
His pranks have hit record sales year after year, totaling over half a million units sold. The series actually featured on KFM Breakfast, so there’s already a connection between Simpson and the station’s audience.
For lifestyle reasons, the move will see him relocate to Cape Town and commence his appointment on Monday, 3 July.
“This is a dream come true for me and my family. To do the breakfast show on KFM in Africa's most beautiful city, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am incredibly excited.”
Primedia Broadcasting CEO Omar Essack, comments: “Darren has earned his reputation as a heavyweight in the South African radio industry and we are thrilled to be able to share his radio magic with audiences in both of our broadcast regions.”
Why KFM and the breakfast show in particular?
The breakfast show is always the most exciting show to do on a radio station. It comes with an incredible amount of responsibility and hard work but it’s a challenge that I can’t resist. Cape Town is the most beautiful city in Africa and one of the most dynamic in the world, how could I say no? Cape Town simply has everything: incredible people, a beautiful city, the beach, the mountains, a waterfront, the list is long… it really is a dream. Coming from Durban, I always knew I would end up back at the coast.
What are you most excited about?
The brand-new challenge. I achieved what I set out to do on 947 breakfast: Listenership figures, financial targets and making the radio show something for everyone to listen to, regardless of age, race, creed and income. I did exactly what I set out to do and even more, for a very long time. Doing the breakfast show on KFM is a brand-new challenge, which means new targets and I’m incredibly excited about that.
Can listeners expect any ‘Whackhead’ pranks?
Yes, absolutely, there will be pranks, but that is only 5% of what I do on a breakfast show. It's a great little moment of appointment listening, but it's only a small part of the show.
Comment on your previous experience and how it has led you to where you are today.
I've worked in two international markets: Australia and England, and two local markets: Durban and Johannesburg. That experience teaches you that no two markets are the same. You can't simply apply what you did in one market into the next and expect it to work. You need to understand and make a meaningful connection with the people.
Radio is by far the most personal entertainment medium. It's immediate and it's powerful. It was there before TV and everything else, and is still going strong. Which says a lot about its impact on people. Many strategists have predicted radio's demise over the past few decades. First TV was going to kill it, then the Walkman, then the iPod, then podcasting and iTunes, etc. Radio is still standing tall. I firmly believe radio's biggest threat would come from radio itself, not another medium or device. Terrible radio will turn people off.
What's at the top of your to-do list?
Raising two boys who treat people with respect, are well mannered, caring, hardworking and ambitious. That will be my proudest achievement.
What motivates you?
I'm motivated by challenge. I get bored very quickly when there is nothing at stake.
What are you currently reading/listening to for work?
I'm currently reading Among Heroes: A U.S. Navy SEAL's True Story of Friendship, Heroism, and the Ultimate Sacrifice.
Tell us something about yourself not generally known.
I'm the youngest commercial radio broadcaster in South African history. I started doing my own show on commercial radio at the age of 16, while studying matric, and got paid.
More about Darren Simpson
Simpson is one of South Africa’s most prominent commercial broadcasters, having hosted 947’s Breakfast Xpress for 7 years, and featuring on the breakfast show for 7 years before that. Despite his young age, he has already been in the industry for 24 years as he started working at Capital Radio when he was only 16, and went on to broadcast in the United Kingdom for three years and Australia for a year. He’s won numerous awards including multiple nods for ‘Best local radio personality’ in the Best of Joburg Awards.
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