Dave Guselli’s voice and personality has been broadcast over the South African airwaves for thirty six years since he landed on our shores in 1981.
He is a warm-hearted, caring individual who loves to give back to the community.
Many people will remember him from his days at Capitol Radio, where he was on air from 1982 - 1992 until East Coast Radio (then Radio Port Natal) poached him. He stayed there for twenty two years - seven of them being in the afternoon drive time slot.
He has always had considerable crossover appeal and, over the years, built a large and loyal following in Kwazulu Natal.
We met at the Magic 828 studio in Pinelands which broadcasts to 350 000 listeners across the Western Cape where he broadcasts the afternoon drive time show from 3-7pm.
Q: What made you decide to move from Manchester to SA?
A: I arrived in Johannesburg from Manchester on a 3-month return ticket and fell in love with the country. I secured a visa to stay and work in South Africa the day before I was due to return to the United Kingdom. A few months later I called my father and asked him to collect my car from the airport as I would not be returning.
Q: Tell us about your career in radio
A: I was at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester before coming to South Africa. While on holiday in Johannesburg I happened to tune into Capitol Radio 604 and immediately knew that I wanted to work there.
Capital Radio 604 was the first independent radio station in South Africa. There was no news or music censorship. We battled with the South African government who were continually trying to shut us down or block the signal.
We ran the station out of a rambling old double story house in Port-St-Johns in the old Transkei.
I worked with guys like Trevor Shabalala, Kevin Savage, Oscar Renzi, Mohamed Surtee, Mervyn John and John Burkes.
In 1992 I was poached by Radio Port Natal and spent the next 22 years in Durban.
Six years ago we tried to re-launch Capitol Radio. It took us three years of preparation and a lot of money to apply for a broadcasting license, which ICASA turned down. That was a really bad blow for me personally as I had spent so much time and my own money in trying to bring Capitol Radio back on air.
Three years ago Tony Sanderson flew to Durban and asked me to move to Cape Town as he was launching Magic 828. It was hard moving to Cape Town after being on air in KZN for 22 years. I was a household name in Durban and Cape Town was new territory for me.
Q: People have perceptions about radio DJ’s living a glamorous party lifestyle.
A: That is not the reality. We may only be on air for a few hours a day but we have to prepare before the show. I spend time every day reading newspapers and listening to people. It’s important to be relatable to your audience and to make them laugh as well as informing them about what’s happening in the world.
When I moved to Cape Town I found that my mornings were quite lonely and isolated as my family and friends are all in Durban. I enjoy meeting new people and was chatting to one of our advertisers who owns an artificial lawn company - Perfect Grass - and he asked whether I would be interested in working for them in the mornings. I had never done anything like that before but I decided to give it a go. I don’t consider myself a sales person but I enjoy meeting people. I find it easy to chat with people and this has given me the opportunity to interact with people from all over Cape Town.
Q:You are passionate about using your position to help people. Tell us about a few of the projects that you have have been involved in over the years.
A: I am an ambassador for the Sunflower Fund which gives hope to individuals diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders who are in need of a stem cell transplant. I MC at their functions at not charge. Being an ambassador for the Sunflower Fund allows me to spend time with people who are seriously ill. One of my most heartbreaking moments was holding an eight-year old girl in my arms as her life slipped away. I had spent the last six months of her life at her side trying to fight leukemia.
When we were at Capitol Radio we raised R400 000 for a young girl to go to the United States to remove a malignant brain tumour. The operation was a success and we are still in contact.
Q: What achievement are you most proud?
A: My son Danny. He is the apple of my eye. The hardest part of relocating to Cape Town is being away from him. He is an incredibly talented handsome young man (he takes after his mom) with a huge heart. Not only is he a successful businessman - he runs his own events company, but he decided to follow in his old man’s footsteps and has a show on East Coast Radio.