NICOLE KAMWENDO’S BROADCAST TO THE MASSES
Being female in male dominated industries can be one of the biggest challenges in women’s careers. You tend to not get the respect you deserve regardless of how hardworking you might be. But this narrative is slowly disintegrating as there are more women of all ages banding together to break glass ceilings across industries that once excluded the involvement of women based on their gender rather than on their capabilities and qualifications.
In the world of broadcasting, radio is one of the most powerful and engaging mediums that offers new ways of reaching and interacting with a vast number of people. It has the power to influence, inform and educate the masses, impacting how people view and understand the world around them. Yet it remains an industry that is yet to strike a balance where gender equality is concerned, not just here in Malawi but in other parts of the world.
Nicole Kamwendo is a bubbly and energetic 23-year-old radio presenter at Capital FM and a freelance marketer. With 2 shows; the Traffic Jam which airs Mondays to Fridays from 4pm till 6pm and Let’s Talk Life which airs Saturday mornings 10 am till 1:30 pm, she is a young woman on a mission to use the power of radio to transform the working landscape in the Malawian broadcasting industry.
From a young age, she noticed the influence radio had in people’s lives. Tuning in whenever she could, Nicole finally got an opportunity to be on air. In 2015, she came across a vacancy for the position of radio presenter at Capital FM, she sent in her demo and application and got called in for an interview a week later. Unsure of how the interview went, she initially gave up on hearing from them until about 3 months later when she got a call from the radio station on the success of her application.
Armed with a CIM diploma and an AHLEI diploma in Hospitality Supervision, she is charting her own path one radio program at a time through meaningful content. Especially in the current pool where it is tempting for radio presenters and stations to adopt an approach that leans more to trend-setting as a way of gaining more listenership.
Her Traffic Jam show covers trending news, sports and human-interest stories, and on her Let’s Talk Life radio show she focuses on regular day to day life hacks, health, fitness and skin care routines. She also hosts a talk show for an hour, which has a panel that discusses emotional issues, finances and politics. All her programs air on 102.5 FM and can be streamed live on capitalradiomalawi.com.
As a woman, I push myself to work harder than the men in my field of work, Nicole says. Not necessarily to prove a point but simply to rise to the challenge of defining her own path and work ethic. The whole experience has taught her the importance of being focused and determined enough to succeed against all odds, for the sake of her personal growth and professional development. As a way of constantly upgrading her skills, she always leaves room to learn from other people in her field of work, both locally and internationally.
She prides herself in treating the people she encounters with professionalism, a trait that she attributes to her growth as a radio presenter. At the same time, she carefully chooses which criticisms she pays attention to, whilst learning how to turn it into active change.
With her openness to exploring as much as she can professionally and not simply being limited to one thing, she envisions herself advancing her career in radio globally and growing her freelance marketing business. Effectively communicating messages to a whole nation is not an easy feat that you can master overnight that’s why she is currently studying for a Hotel Accounting diploma, with her focus being on learning more about marketing and hospitality.
Her goal is to use the skills and knowledge from the course to improve her people management and communication skills, which she values as the heart of radio – the ability to handle people well. The fact that she loves making people happy, making new friends and acquaintances and introducing people to new experiences, makes radio the perfect medium for Nicole to share her energy.
On improving the current state of the radio industry in Malawi, Nicole believes there is need to have proper training centers for broadcasting. She considers those centers as the first step towards creating a more professional and effective industry. Her ideal working environment is one that embodies a music hub that works with radio stations to legally share local music and content to the advantage of the creatives. Having a board that helps broadcasting stations to achieve transparency with state institutions and enough radio towers to reach wider audiences would help in creating a flourishing environment for the Malawian broadcasting industry.
Nicole’s message to fellow women and young people interested in getting into broadcasting is to have faith in one’s voice and ability to influence people. You also have to invest in developing yourself by getting into the habit of reading newspapers out loud, reading in front of a mirror and listening to radio presenters you admire as ways of improving your basic radio skills. Getting your foot in the door of any career is not easy, you have to keep your spirits up regardless of how many time you get rejected. The most important thing being to never stop trying.