As Nicholas Lawrence won Best Breakfast Presenter at the Liberty Radio Awards this year and has only worked in radio for just over a year now, I interviewed him to find out what this win means to him and what it says about loving what you do and doing what you love well...
Little did Lawrence know he would win an award so early on, let alone Best Breakfast Presenter! He says he was shocked for being nominated in the first place, nevermind winning one of the most competitive categories, and of course honoured for being recognised amongst the best of the best in the radio industry. "I never thought it could be me, especially considering that I hadn’t even been on air for a year! It’s definitely a testimony to what hard work, loving what you do and doing it really well can do.
"Winning is definitely one of the proudest, happiest moments of my life. Following my passion and being awarded for doing what I love, there’s just nothing that beats that. But in saying that, as much as this award is mine, it is a win for the station and all my fellow presenters.”
The station also won an award for the Best Afternoon Drive Show, presented by Sila Odhuno and Caitlin Weber, and two Tuks FM volunteers, Tayla Welch and Quintus Potgieter, were awarded Bright Star Awards.
On Saturday, 14 April 2018, winners of the eighth rendition of the country's radio awards, held at the Sandton Convention Centre, were deemed examples of excellent in radio and fine-tuned talent...
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What makes this win remarkable is that he only made his debut at the station just over a year ago. “I’ve only become a radio presenter in the past year, though it’s always been present in my life. I’d mix playlists in my head and give my best version of a live read of an advert just after hearing it and repeat station jingles as best I could,” says Lawrence. More on this here…
What do you love most about your career, radio presenting and the breakfast show slot in particular?
“My love of radio stems from the need to entertain, inform and my love of storytelling, not forgetting my utter failure at writing fiction stories! Radio is news and information told in a purely human voice. It’s addictive. You can be whoever you want to be.”
I'm an entertainer, storyteller and living in an era in which it is possible to break boundaries by dismantling the opinions attached to one’s appearance. This is why I love radio. It’s just a person’s voice and personality. It’s the rawest form of entertainment.
How do you feel about working at Tuks FM? Comment on your first year there.
So, Tuks FM is ‘The Radio Training Ground of the Great’ and a lot of Tuks FM alumni are now huge names in the radio industry. The likes of Anele, Alex Caige, Ayanda MVP, Rian van Heerden to name a few. I knew my time at Tuks FM would definitely be amazing and it has been.
Meeting sensational people who share the same passion as I do and being mentored by legends such as our station manager, Leanne Kunz, who is such an amazing person, the programme manager, Michael Bower, and Tuks FM alumni, Wayne van Jaarsveld and Renier von Zeuner definitely made my first year on radio nothing short of remarkable.
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Being a newbie at the station while completing the final year of my law degree and with all the changes happening at the station, it was all very overwhelming for me at first, but more exciting to finally be doing what I love.
Building friendships at 3 a.m. while trying to study for a property law exam and doing a show, then losing half a playlist with 11 seconds before having to switch the mic on with no one around to help has made me the presenter I am and still growing to be.
The happiness that came from being in a creative space with creative friends is indescribable.
Tuks FM is a space to be yourself, live in who you are and express yourself. Tuks FM is family. It will always be the birthplace of my talent.
What are your career goals?
I've always known that the entertainment industry is where I belong. My biggest career goal is to be part of a commercial radio station where my skills can be further refined and where my voice and stories can be shared and enjoyed by more and more people.
While completing my degree has meant that I have had to leave Tuks FM, I definitely intend on pursuing a career in radio and the media industry.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to for work?
Watching the new season of Suits
for work. Although it really doesn't help much, it is quite entertaining. I’ve recently finished reading Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay. The book examines the experience of living in her body in the world from every angle. I'm always listening to something new, but it's never for work, mainly for the love of music: Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Dirty Moonshine, Portugal. The Man, Little Dragon, Zedd, Kygo, Banks, Lorde and Cardi B are some of the artists on my current playlist.
Comment on the current state of radio and where you see it in the future.
To comment on the current state of radio we need to know what and where radio is. In 2015 the Ram Survey noted a reduced TSL (time spent listening) by a little more than two minutes. Although this does not seem like much of a loss, it is huge as any radio presenter would tell you that two seconds is a lifetime on radio.
Radio as we know it, being FM in South Africa, is in a state of being revamped into what listener trends and technology is allowing it to be – that is digital streaming of topics, content and music which each individual would want to hear and even creating a playlist of music specific to each listener’s preference as seen with iHeartRadio.
I do still believe that even with the current trend that is streaming, radio will never lose the essence of connecting, entertaining and informing the listener. I also believe that due to the greater accessibility to the internet and streaming, as well as the majority of radio stations having the option to stream live, a larger demographic of listener is tapped in.
Tell us something about yourself not generally known.
I love watching animated movies!
Picture a five-year-old in a onesie on the carpet in front of the television with a very large bowl of Fruit Loops – that’s me! In animation, you can explore the deepest corners of space just as easily as a suburban, east-coast neighbourhood. You can even do both in the same movie.
Animated movies bridge the age gap and keep us young, but they can be serious too and aren’t that different from live action.
Something else that is not generally known is that my natural fear reflex is laughter, which has put me in very awkward situations – I have once laughed uncontrollably at a police officer!