The Anatomy of Stevie B

The Anatomy of Stevie B


If I had my life over again, I’d be in entertainment.

I started my career as a stockbroker back in the 80s and thrived on being on the floor of the JSE, but as it became computerised, I got bored because much of the human interaction I loved was lost.

Related: The Anatomy of Euphonik

When I joined Kaya FM in the 90s, I was earning peanuts, but it was so much fun being on a breakfast show.

Trouble is, as I built my financial persona I realised I’d have to give it up. It was sad but for the best – you can’t talk sh*t on air all morning and then go run a business workshop and talk finance.

I like being deadly honest and controversial.

I’m not a private person and speak on air about my personal life. I’m also slightly right of the spectrum in my views – I once had a go at someone on air over labour and economics, but I won’t ever pick a fight for the sake of walking off air all gung-ho that someone threw down the phone.

My biggest downfall is pronouncing some names.

I am a lot better now, but I used to be shocking, particularly with Xhosa. I once cancelled an interview because I couldn’t say the guy’s name at all, so I swapped him for someone else.

Recovery makes or breaks a radio personality.

When I make a gaff mispronouncing for example, I apologise, laugh it off and make a joke of it. It’s a terrible, sinking feeling in your stomach knowing you’ve screwed up so badly. It’s even harder when it’s live and you introduce the wrong person, but you’ve got to recover.

I’m never late and my pet peeve is unreliable, late people. If I’m five minutes late, it means I’m not coming. Having a good sense of time also helps me maximise time slots on air without talking junk.

I’ve learnt to be better at listening, it’s all about focus and I’ll know when I’ve bombed a show.

It happened recently – I had a script and wasn’t concentrating, and when I went off script I asked the exact same question. It’s the worst when you’ve battled to get a great guest and you miss the main question, or someone says, “As I was saying…”

I know I used to be a bad listener because I’d record myself.

I could hear when I was thinking about the next question instead of listening to what the guest was actually saying. I’d have had better questions if I did. I also used to interrupt a lot – showing how much I knew – interrupting something the listeners were really enjoying for the sake of my ego. Now, even if I do know more, I bite my tongue.

I’ve heard some pretty strange things on air.

Once I had a guy who owned a combi spaza shop that had just been fireballed call in asking me to lend him money. I happened to have Adrian Gore of Discovery on the other line, and Gore gave the money to pay for it. And you’d be amazed how many listeners call in asking me to do their assignments.

Related: The Anatomy of John Vlismas

The fastest I’ve ever been is 310km on my Ducati.

I love the freedom of a bike and I love speed, it’s why I’ve owned Porsches for the last ten years.

Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.