VoW FM’s DJ Keyez Talks Breaking into the Radio Industry, Liberty Radio Awards and #OpenTheIndustry

Radio presenter, producer and aspiring TV presenter DJ Keyez, currently hosting and producing the afternoon drive
time show (The Lift Club) at the Wits Campus Station, VOWFM recently took home two awards at the Liberty Radio Awards, formerly known as the MTN Radio Awards for Best Drive Time Presenter and Best Drive Time Show. We had an interview with the guy, about all things radio; what he thinks about the #OpenTheIndustry saga and how he actually got into the radio industry and he had a lot to say… check it out

IceKream: Can you tell us a bit about yourself, who is DJ Keyez and where does that name come from?

DJ Keyez: DJ Keyez is a guy from Ekurhuleni, Spruitview to be exact. I am a radio presenter and producer at one of the fastest growing campus radio stations VOW FM. I’m also a house music DJ (& Beat Maker – Single dropping sometime this year. LOOKOUT FOR THAT!!!). Besides the work stuff, I would say I’m generally a quiet guy (which is kinda weird considering I’m on radio) but truth of the matter is, I’m VERY SHY!!! Weird enough, I also like meeting people – Which is something radio has helped me be comfortable with.

As for the name DJ Keyez, it was inspired by the 88 Keys on a piano. I wanted to use a name that will make it obvious that I’m all about music, hence I also use 88 Keyez on social media. So this is basically a name I came up with when I was starting out with DJ’ying. Obviously, now that I’m building a brand it works all round.

IceKream: Can you tell us a bit about the first time you fell in love with radio and how did you get into it?

DJ Keyez: I fell in love with radio during the whole Khabzela era on YFM. That dude honestly inspired me and he’s partly responsible for the path I eventually chose with regards to radio. I started listening to a lot more radio and that’s when I discovered the likes of Roger Goode on the Saturday Surgery. Then there was the Thato & Thato Breakfast show… So over the years a lot of different shows and personalities contributed to my love for radio.

I got into radio back in 2012 when I started working for VOW FM. This happened after I got an opportunity to visit the station for a few days in 2011. I applied to be a presenter in 2012 and I didn’t make it. Well, I knew I wasn’t going to make it immediately after the voice test so I reapplied for the music compiling position. That’s how I got in. Worked as a compiler for 2 years and slowly started producing content for some of the guys that were presenters.

2013 I was fortunate to be awarded a Wits Radio Academy Bursary which enabled me to acquire an ‘Advanced Radio Certificate’ at the end of that year. This is where I learnt more about the different aspects of radio:- Radio Programming & Producing, Sales & Marketing, Radio Presenting and Station Management. Fast forward to January 2014, the guy who was on the Drive Show had to leave the station (for some reason) and I was asked to stand in. I grabbed that opportunity and gave it my all. I literally put in 120% each and every show as both producer and presenter, 3 years later… Liberty Radio Awards!

IceKream: You recently took home two awards at the 2017 Liberty Radio Awards for Best Drive Time Presenter and Best Drive Time Show, did you ever see that coming?

DJ Keyez: Honestly speaking I didn’t. I was actually nominated three times. Best Drive Time Show, Best Drive Time Presenter & Best Weekend Music Show (All for the Campus category). I have no idea how the other presenters and shows sound like, so I couldn’t really say if I was gonna win or not. We are all on air around the same time so it’s really hard to listen to each other. What I though I stood a chance of winning was the Best Weekend Music Show Award because I genuinely felt the show was unique you know… I mean a lot of people consider Kwaito to be dead so we were proving that the genre is alive and kicking and a lot… And I mean a lot of artists are still making this kind of music. Sadly, the show didn’t win but I’m still proud of what I’ve managed to do with it and what it actually means for all the guys I’ve featured on the show.

Ended up winning two of the biggest Awards (in the afternoon drive category) and I shed a tear nyana… I couldn’t believe it when David Kau said I’ve won… Especially the presenter award. I’ve been grinding for this.

IceKream: What sets your show apart from all the other Drive Time shows in Mzansi?

DJ Keyez: It’s very simple. CONTENT!!! I’m still a firm believer in ‘content is king’ so that’s what I focus on a lot. I was taught to give the listener value for choosing to drive home with us on The Lift Club and that has stuck with me since. Celebrity Interviews, Competitions and all the other things people consider as “cool” is just a cherry on top to be honest. It’s not really the core of the show… I mean the audio I submitted for the awards didn’t have a single interview. It was just hardcore content.

IceKream: Off all the people / artists you’ve had on your show on VoW FM, who would you say was your ultimate favourite to host and why?

DJ Keyez: Sheesh… Really guys? Lol Can I not answer this? Anyway, I recently had B3nchmarq in studio, that was fun. That was real. My celebrity co host on the day was Nolo Matlaila (Mokgadi on Skeem Sam) that also added to that. Besides that, Trevor Gumbi was hella funny… the coolest guy ever. So I would say he’s also one of my favourites… Sheesh guys, I’ve had so many fun interviews… Entlek let’s skip this question

IceKream: What advice would you give to someone trying to get in the same industry? Where do you stand on the #OpenTheIndustry saga?

DJ Keyez: I suck at giving advice but here we go… I’ll tell you about what worked for me… That will be advice right???

Anyway, Get into it for the right reasons firstly. Yes, might sound like something EVERYBODY says but it’s really important to know why you getting into it, what’s your plan and where you’d like to see yourself. That will help you channel your energy in the right direction. That will help you ignore the noise (so to speak)… Be true to yourself and don’t be scared to try out things… More importantly, always keep in mind that IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!!! NEVER!!! Be patient, put in the work and keep your eye on that goal I spoke about earlier (i.e. Where you’d like to see yourself.)

#OpenTheIndustry – tricky situation this. Like seriously. I think the problem here is the phrase “it’s a numbers game”… A lot of decision makers live by that. And to be honest in some instances it makes sense. Others NOT SO MUCH. With that said, it would be great for us upcoming entertainers to be given opportunities as well based on the talents we have. If you feel so strongly about numbers then pair us with the celebs you think will pull in the crowds. That could be a win win situation right? Or maybe, I’m just being simplistic here… *shrugs*

IceKream: What’s next? What is the ultimate goal for DJ Keyez?

DJ Keyez: Well I’m praying, hoping, doing it all nje for an opportunity on commercial radio. I wish I could tell you where I would ideally like to go but that would be shooting myself in the foot. So yeah, here’s to 2017 becoming bigger and better. As for the ultimate goal? National Radio is the goal. Using that platform to change people’s lives is the ultimate goal.

The sky is the limit you know. I do acknowledge that I have a lot to learn though so it might take a while before some of these things happen.

5-scoops-of-facts you didn’t know about DJ Keyez:

#Scoop 1: If you could have dinner with anyone — dead or alive — who would they be and where would you take them?

It would definitely be DJ Fresh, Bob Mabena and Oskido. I would make sure this dinner happens in a remote area with NO CELLPHONE reception. I have a lot to ask these gentlemen and I wouldn’t want to be disturbed.

DJ Fresh

#Scoop 2: Which TV character have you always resonated with?

Tough one. I’ve always seen myself in a lot of the characters that come from nothing and make it big… yes, sometimes they mess it up at the end (Scarface) but such storylines inspire me… So let’s go with Will Smith’s character in ‘The pursuit of Happyness’ – Chris Gardner

#Scoop 3: Name 3 songs on your playlist right now

The Vinyl Kid ft Nasty C – NDA

The Chainsmokers ft Coldplay – Something just like this

AKA & Anatii – 10 fingers … I paid the price to be the main man… SKRRRRR

#Scoop 4: Bungee jumping, sky diving or getting inked?

Both Bungee jumping AND Sky diving!

#Scoop 5:  Gin, vodka, Jäger or tequila?

Monstar or Becks blue… Don’t do alcohol

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