Bonnie Meslane has been shortlisted for a coveted Umhlobo Wenene FM presenter job. A seasoned publicist, she is also the founder and director of Azania Public and the senior editor of lifestyle magazine Nounouche. Just when you thought she’s done it all, think again— there’s loads more she aspires to do. Meslane took the time to chat with us about chasing her dreams, working alongside established radio anchor DJ Sbu and what she loves most about radio.
1. You’re no stranger to radio having worked as a content contributor for Umhlobo Wenene FM in 2014. How has that experience matured and better prepared you for this opportunity?
At that time, I worked solely as a content contributor for the radio station and it was such a beautiful experience for me to be on air because I had always been very curious about how things operate on the deck. That exposure introduced me to the realms of radio and I realised this is something I wanted to pursue. Mixing that with my experience in PR is how I also got to see how a fast-paced environment functions, especially on the radio.
2. Whose career in radio are you in awe of and how have they influenced your presenting style?
For me, Kgomotso Moeketsi embodies radio. I remember how she involved her listeners and made them a part of her journey. She made radio beautiful for me and I enjoyed tuning into her shows. Zola Kaso Majiza, Lulu Haarmans, Dineo Ranaka, David Mashabela, Phat Joe and Azania Mosaka. I love their voices and wittiness. So, it’s not just one person all these amazing broadcasters have influenced me.
3. You’ve worked in the media’s broad spectrum for nearly a decade as a publicist, writer, content producer and art director. Is there anything you still want to try your hand at?
I want to write and produce TV shows. I’m currently working on a documentary, so this is a good time to explore my passions. I’ve had a bit of an introduction to the TV world on how to put shows together and I’ve already got ideas of the sort of shows I’d like to produce. But that’s something I want to work at and hone.
4. You’re a finalist in the Umhlobo Wenene FM presenter search. Should you win, which sort of fresh style will you bring for your listeners?
I am a breath of fresh air. I’ve got a great sense of humour and I love telling stories. So people are going to have fun because I know how to engage my listeners, it won’t all be ‘doom and gloom’.
5. What do you love the most about working on the radio? What thus far has been your greatest career learning lesson?
What I love about radio is that there are no rehearsals, it’s live, instant and on the go so you have to think on your feet. Meeting people I’d always dreamt of meeting and working as a content producer for DJ Sbu was my highlight because he was very encouraging of my work and gave constructive criticism. I always remain teachable especially when receiving feedback from the listeners because you’re contributing to people’s lives and not just talking to yourself.
Having all the ingredients to have you tuned into her captivating voice, Meslane promises to be an exciting and interesting mix to world or radio broadcasting! The Umhlobo Wenene presenter search is still ongoing with Bonnie competing against three other hopefuls in her category.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to show your support for Bonnie and cast a vote. SMS to ‘Ulonwabo1’ to 4585. Voting will conclude on 31st March with the winner being announced in April.
Good luck Bonnie!