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Mashel out and proud and pulling in listeners on hit midday show

Rising DJ at YOU FM Mashel Mokale. Pictured supplied.

Rising DJ at YOU FM Mashel Mokale. Pictured supplied.

Published Feb 1, 2022

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Rising DJ at YOU FM Mashel Mokale. Pictured supplied.

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BEING passionate about your job is not just a prerequisite for being an outstanding employee – it is also what drives radio presenter Mashél Mokale to be the popular and unapologetic star he is becoming.

“It’s so important for me to get it right with my listeners for the show. I feel that the listeners should have a pleasant experience listening to me or any other show, and so far I’d say we’re doing pretty well,” Makole said.

A jovial spirit with an infectious smile, Mashél Mokale is one of You FM’s freshest faces on the North West Province-based radio station’s schedule. And in the two months since he became the new host of the early afternoon show Midday Boost, Mokale has shown how and what it takes to make a good impression on listeners.

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He joined the world of commercial radio after a start on campus radio station UJFM while completing his studies in Johannesburg.

“I actually almost gave up working in radio because I had been on campus radio for such a long time. I was losing my drive for it when the opportunity to host a show on a commercial radio station came up,” Mokale explained.

“Then there is also the fact that I myself am from the North West, was raised in the North West, so it was not hard for me to decide to seize the opportunity.”

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Mokale added that, while his first commercial radio job was different from what he had expected, he grabbed the opportunity nonetheless and created a show for the midday slot that has grown in popularity on the 89.8FM frequency.

“I definitely feel that our show is quite different from the standard format of shows on You FM,” Mokale began. “The midday show is almost a show that bends the rules, making sure that we are entertaining and, most importantly, pulling in more listeners,” he laughs.

For Mokale, in a country where members of the LGBTQ+ community still face major discrimination and to some extent violence over their sexuality, it was not only the warm welcome of his new radio home that made joining the show easier, but also the fact that he was part of an industry that already welcomed individuals who were proud to be LGBTQ+.

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Mokale points out that high-profile people (such as Somizi, Lasizwe Dambuza, Sade Gilliberti and Yaya Mavundla) have already made massive changes to the industry’s attitude towards gay personalities, to the point where some of them have become its innovators.

”I mean, in a sense we do run the industry, given all the big names who have become popular among South Africans and haven’t had to change themselves or anything. I personally haven’t had many horrible experiences while being part of the industry for seven years, and I’m quite grateful for that,” he said.

“Even the station managers were very welcoming. They gave me a rundown of the expectations they had for the show, but still gave me the freedom, along with my content producer, to mould it into an experience I would enjoy giving to the listeners,” he added.

He goes on to say that, while the industry has been supportive, there are still prejudices and stereotypes that many people haven’t erased or unlearned.

“We’re in a country where an openly gay man can get a role playing a gay man on our screens, but you will hardly see him playing a straight man. But a straight actor will have the chance to play both, and it just feels like South Africa still needs to get rid of this box they’ve put gay actors in and allow them to play roles that would suit them because of their talent,” he lamented.

Despite this, Makole still sees his involvement in the show as a positive reflection of the industry’s openness towards the LGBT+ community. He says that giving airtime to people like him allows them to be original and creative, in a bid to win over their listeners.

“It’s basically about the listenership at the end of the day and the extent to which we connect in the three hours I host the show.

“Our show is almost essentially run by our listeners, because that’s just how often we interact with them.

“It’s so much fun to try something different and new, to bend the rules slightly so that you have enough creative freedom to create the atmosphere you want for the show,” Makole said.

“I have to say that I am okay. The community in Rustenburg have been so welcoming and supportive towards me and my work,” Mokale said.

Mokale laughs before proceeding to explain some of his show’s most popular (and his favourite) segments, which he calls the “midday therapy” and the “midday sonic boost” – one for community upliftment and the other for pure unadulterated joy when the music plays.

“These segments are some of my favourites because we essentially put the listeners in charge,” he said.

“They are the ones who pick the music or the topics we talk about in midday therapy, which connects us more as a community on the radio and in the city as well. When the listeners are happy, I am happy, because I’ve done my job at the end of the day.”

Sunday Independent

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