Lifestyle Interview South Africa

#20GoodeYearsWith5: Roger Goode, the longest standing DJ at 5FM

In 2001, Roger Goode was first introduced to the radiowaves with his first single In The Beginning, which featured on 5FM's Top 40. A year or two later, Goode started hosting and producing music shows for 5FM.

Fast forward to 2023, Goode celebrates 20 years of being on one of South Africa's popular radio stations, 5FM.

We find out more about the DJ who has been creating epic memories with his infectious beats and playful demeanour on the airwaves across the world...

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Image supplied

How did you get into the radio industry and become a DJ?

I have always been a DJ. Growing up, we would mess around with radio transmitters and CB radios during the holidays. I burnt out my mums' prized stereo system recording radio shows before school in the mornings. I got onto the scene doing production work for films, multimedia media companies and ad agencies.

Fast forward a few years, I was knee-deep in the music industry, and all over the press. TV and radio stations were playing my jams! We were on the official UK Top 40 sales charts, BBC Radio 1’s daytime playlists, and my music videos were playing on MTV Europe. While Tiesto was opening his sets at Creamfields with one of my remixes, I was doing interviews on the phone with journalists in Japan. It was wild!

I started hosting and producing music shows for 5FM on the weekends. Even today, specialist music shows are rarely part of a station's offering in South Africa. Serving, up-front, fresh, new music shows, while the youth of Mzanzi do their weekend manoeuvres. We got the audience figures up to record numbers. And now here we are!

What do you enjoy most about being a radio DJ?

I've always been left to my own devices, playing the music of my choosing. In commercial radio, this is a rarity which I've always handled with great care. When it comes to drive time shows, I'm all rock n roll. Smoke, fire, oppressive heat! Real laughs.

Real conversations, about things that matter. Leaving people with a feeling. Sound production, radio imaging, fashion, trends and technology. Always learning new tricks.

Doing business where the commodity is audio. It’s proper fun!

What kind of preparation goes into creating a radio show?

It's a people business. Staying connected with the artists and influencers. Making time to listen to new music sent in from bedroom producers or sampled by the labels.

Whilst the weekday shows that I currently host on 5FM might sound like we're 'winging it', there is a tremendous amount of production and planning that goes on behind the scenes at HQ. The rate at which new artists are breaking onto the scene, means we get to play something fresh on every show.

Plus, it's a one-of-a-kind DJ performance. Every night I hand-pick the best new music from some of the world’s most talented artists and mix it up live on the decks!

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What are the most memorable/funny incidents that happened in your career?

Broadcasting my shows dozens of times live from Ibiza during the European summers has always been packed with crazy memories. Taking the radio shows out of the studios.

Flying on a private jet with Rihanna on her world tour. We travelled the world from New York, Mexico, Canada, Paris, Germany Stockholm, all in 7 days, nonstop. One of the craziest trips ever, all for the radio.

I've hosted shows from Los Angeles for the MTV Music Awards, discovering the underbelly of LA which was filmed for a documentary. It was crazy! Radio, TV and social media feeds all coming from the City of Angels in simulcast, it was a first of its kind.

I’ve also broadcast from the back seats of people’s cars in rush hour traffic as well as live from the hottest clubs and stages at EDM festivals.

I’ve interviewed fascinating people from all walks of life. Richard Branson, Timberland, Dynamo, William Shatner, Diplo, The Swedish House Mafia, Pete Tong. I even got some surgery advice from Dr. Dubrow of the infamous TV show Botched.

We’ve pranked everyone from the AWB to the Whitehouse. I’ve dressed in drag for radio shows, I've done shows naked, upset moms and most of all, made the kids laugh!

How has the radio industry changed over the years, and how have you adapted to those changes?

Obviously, the access that we have to content and music is incredible! I've always been a proper crate digger! regularly getting fined by customs at the airport for the amount of vinyl records I was bringing back from my trips abroad.

Radio is now one of many places people can turn to for new music. In a world where consumers are spoilt for choice and constantly bombarded by a tsunami of content, radio brands are under enormous pressure to re-invent themselves, and to figure out new ways of offering their audiences something unique without having to keep leaning on social media to stay relevant.

Creative entertainers and content creators are prime commodities in 2023.
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning, I love it!
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Image supplied

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to pursue a career as a radio DJ?

I can’t think of many career choices where a person gets butterflies before they clock in for work. It’s also a craft where, no matter how long you do it, you learn something new every day.

I was told that I am the first DJ on the station that has made it to a 20-year tenure. It’s a humbling, flattering reflection of the feeling that the listeners have for what it is that we do. It's a cliche, but try and find something to do for a living that gives you pleasure!

You've been in the radio industry for 20 years now. What's next?

I'm 20 years young, and I still haven’t graduated from the University of 5!

I’ve got Peter Pan Syndrome, so there’s a lot more to come! This new show that we are working on is one of the flagship programme on the station. Managers are thrilled with the product and we're always looking at ways to improve the output. It couldn’t be happening at a better time, as the scene is evolving at an insane rate where anything is possible. This is where I thrive.

Here’s to another 20 years!

5FM’s new family members; Palesa Lemeke, Tshepang Moji and Jodell Tantij sit down with Goode to chat about what it's like working at 5FM.

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