Archives For Kasie FM

Castles and Foundations

April 6, 2014 — 1 Comment

After the chances for Mtuseni doing a radio internship in time to graduate in July were looking mighty grim, he got a surprise callback from a station manager after an interview that didn’t sound promising. Last week he started interning at Kasie FM, a community radio station south of Johannesburg. It’s a long haul from his home — requiring three minibus taxis and two hours each way. He spends more time commuting than he does at the station. Working the afternoon drive-time shift, he barely makes it back to catch the last taxi home, which means I’ll be worried every Monday through Friday for the next six weeks. It’s autumn in South Africa, it’s already dark by six o’clock, and the area is not very safe.

But Mtuseni is in a radio station! He’s still doing typical intern errand tasks but is asking lots of questions and soaking up knowledge. And thankfully he’s out of the house! After three years of school in bustling Sandton, he was going bonkers in the settlement. He gets so bored and cranky on breaks from school that I think he actually changes the local weather patterns! And with coursework all completed, this was a permanent break.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy rewriting the proposal for the Long-Distance Dad book. It’s torturous and invigorating and stressful and fun all at the same time: the usual twisted experience for a writer. I do know the book is gonna be good; this blog has only captured a small portion of our adventure.

Venice+spires+quoteMtuseni and I have long talked about our hopes and dreams for the future: Him working in a major radio station and inspiring listeners to improve the world — and me sharing our story in books and media and inspiring others to somehow connect with kids who need a little love and support. While these goals aren’t impossible to achieve, they are somewhat lofty and a bit daunting. In situations like these, I always return to this Thoreau quote that resonated with me way back in college.

Individually and together Mtuseni and I have built our castles in the air. And as he grinds through a tough commute to his internship and I churn through endless revisions of my book proposal — we’re laying the foundations for them.

If you don’t aim high, you’ll never know how far you can go. Just be prepared to do the work to get there.

Follow and share updates about the Long-Distance Dad book project on Facebook!


Fingers Crossed

March 18, 2014 — 5 Comments

So Mtuseni has his first interview for an internship tomorrow. It’s at Kasie FM — a community radio station south of Johannesburg. They do a lot of informational programming, so he’s excited about possibly doing research for topics and assisting a producer. Mtuseni loves music, but he also wants to make a difference in people’s lives through radio.

According to Google Maps, the station is a 53-kilometer trip from his house in Lanseria, north of Joburg. Knowing how difficult transportation is for him, I told Mtuseni to try and get a mid- to late-morning appointment, but the station manager told him 9 AM. This means Mtuseni will need to take four minibus taxis… and will leave his house at 5 AM. He’s never done this route before, so he needs to figure out which taxis to take where: there are no published schedules or routes. I’m hoping he gets there on time; Johannesburg rush-hour traffic is pretty bad.

Then there’s the challenge of making it there if he does get an internship. He only needs 100 hours to graduate, so if he could do a 10-to-2 or 10-to-3 shift five days a week, he’d be done in four or five weeks… and could avoid traffic. They’d still be hellish weeks (and he’ll be tired and crabby — at least with me) but it’s doable. He says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get an internship. And given that the YFM Academy he applied to last week announced their selections two days later, that’s another intern opportunity missed.

Boston+Media+House+radio+studioSo today he went back to school to polish up his demo in the studio for the interview. I think back to the end of 2012, when Mtuseni told me he was changing his major to journalism because he was intimidated by the radio software and thought he’d never learn it. I told him to reconsider — radio has been his dream since we first met — and to never make a life decision based on fear and avoidance, to always move toward something and not away from something. Luckily, he stuck with radio and is so damn happy (and confident!). Today he was “just chilling in the studio” working on the demo. Wow… how far we’ve come.

But this is only the beginning of a new phase. Hopefully he’ll get the gig tomorrow — but the South African economy is tight and super competitive. Send good vibes to Mtuseni today…. he’ll be interviewing at 3 AM east coast time tomorrow. He’s flashing a victory sign here, but I’ve got my fingers crossed…

Follow and share updates about the Long-Distance Dad book project on Facebook!