260410 Debra Patta during the interview at her office in Hyde Park.004 Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

Debora Patta is synonymous with investigative journalism. She’s opinionated and takes no nonsense from interviewees. But does she have what it takes to lead a three-hour radio talk show?

Talk radio 567 Cape Talk and 702 listeners will find out on Friday, when Patta becomes the first Friday Stand-In for Redi Tlabi, who is on maternity leave.

Patta says she’s looking forward to going back to her roots and standing in for her good friend Tlabi, who usually fills the 9am-12pm slot.

Patta cut her journalism teeth at Radio 702 in the 1990s.

“Radio is my first love… and you never forget your first love,” she says. One of the many things she loves about the medium is the immediacy.

Patta went from being a senior correspondent at e-news to becoming executive producer and anchor on investigative television programme 3rd Degree until earlier this year.

Patta assures listeners the show will be fun and conversational, and they needn’t be scared to call in.

“People shouldn’t expect what they see on 3rd Degree. I’m not going to interrogate the listeners… unless they talk drivel, or are crooks with something to hide,” she jokes.

For the duration of Tlabi’s maternity leave, the Friday slot will be hosted by a wide range of media personalities, artists, businessmen and thought leaders.

Cape Talk station manager Colleen Louw says this is an opportunity to create engaging radio, and the station will do everything in its power to give the stand-ins the best chance to make a great show.

While the station is tight-lipped about the line-up, it has revealed that several prominent Capetonians have been confirmed. They come with a variety of experience ranging from hosting television shows and having a lifetime of experience in the print media to running multibillion-rand businesses.

Does this mean they can handle the hot seat?

Cape Talk says the mystery guests will be coached, supported and guided by the station’s teams.

But ultimately, they will have to fend for themselves as they handle listeners, guests and a broad variety of questions and topics.

When it comes to live radio, there will be no re-takes or time to edit.

“As talk stations in a young democracy like the one we live in, we see a role for ourselves to be disruptive and to challenge our listeners,” said Talk Radio 702 station manager, Pheladi Gwangwa.

“We believe this is a great opportunity to shake things up on our own format, and know that the prominent personalities we have in mind as hosts will bring a fresh perspective to the show.”

Every Thursday, the mystery Friday Stand-In will be announced during the breakfast show on Cape Talk. The Friday edition of the Redi Tlhabi show has a number of regular features that will remain the same, including the Naked Scientist, The Week That Wasn’t with comedian Nik Rabinowitz, Technobyte with Aki Anastasiou and Talking Sex with Dr Eve, as well as the open line.

“Handling these diverse and sometimes controversial topics requires a special touch – it’s certainly not as easy as Redi makes it sound,” said Louw.

The guest host will be supported on air by Udo Carelse, who is filling in for Redi from Monday to Thursday. - Cape Argus