Veteran actor Jack Devnarain has made his foray into radio. The former “Isidingo” actor has joined community radio station, 919FM, formerly known as Star 91.9FM, to host “Reality Radio” on Friday evenings.
It is also live-streamed to YouTube, with the aims to share stories from influential individuals in various sectors of the industry.
The award-winning actor said the opportunity came about after speaking to media personality, Kanthan Pillay.
“I had this idea and was doing some workshops about wellness and how to use the stories from your own life and to be able to use them to unpack and understand more about yourself.
“It was quite successful because people started to look at their own lives in terms of interesting stories.
“I kept it in the back of my mind and when I spoke to Kanthan, I mentioned the idea and that I thought it would be so much of fun to explore on radio. His response was encouraging. And here we are.
Devnarain hosted his first show on February 2. His first guest was veteran actor, producer and activist, Zane Meas, who was an instant hit.
“I think it confirmed that the theme about people’s stories from their lives is actually a very powerful one. And it translated very well into radio.
“Zane has the most incredible story of growing up, working as an actor in the Apartheid years and his life’s adventure in the world of performance.
“People really took to that, they found it captivating because they were seeing a different side to him and ultimately that’s what my radio show is all about.
“We work with iconic south Africans and we show you as the listener the sides to a person that you didn’t think existed.”
He said they were able to make the hour long slot entertaining, informative and absorbing radio.
On switching sides from interviewee to interviewer, he said it came with a lot of responsibility.
“There's a lot of prep that goes into it. I also think having been on the receiving end has equipped me for this moment. Normally I am telling these stories on TV.
“It reminded me that actually a story is a story. It can be told in any way.”
Devnarain shared that he would be interviewing a broad range of South Africans including activists, politicians, sports people, entertainers, authors and academics.
“I’m looking for people who have earned their accolades and, in a sense, have earned a certain level of trust with the South African public because then people would know and recognise them, and believe the things they have to say.
As for his TV career?
Devnarain, who has acted in TV shows like “Isidingo”, “Isono”, “Imbewu” and the feature film, “31 Million Reasons”, admits that he hasn't forgotten about acting but, with roles far and few in-between, he will be focusing a lot more on his new radio show.
“I’m not working on anything at the moment. I have some projects in discussions but no contracts have been signed, so it’s looking like I’ll be placing more emphasis on my radio show.
“It feels like the nature of the film and TV industry has changed from the time I came into it 23 years ago.
“The way in which we tell stories and watch stories is completely different now with on demand streaming.
“It feels like I may be a dinosaur in that space and in a lovely sense, it seems that radio has stood the test of time.
“Radio is my focus this year and I can think of so many things to do with the show, and I want to be able to execute these ideas knowing that I have the full support of the station, so I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have.”