As Hot 102.7FM celebrates Women’s Month, Ursula ‘Brown Sugar’ Chikane, Bunny Majaja, Zinhle Nako and Juliet Newell are examples of the strong women who bind Johannesburg’s newest commercial radio station together – a station with the majority of its staff female.
Kicking off the on-air line-up in the morning, as a member of Joburg’s Hottest Breakfast Show, Majaja doubles as the team’s newsreader and ‘voice of reason’, along with playing an account executive role in the Hot 102.7FM sales department. But, did you know she studied interior design, reached the last five at Idols SA 2013, and is a successful singer, MC and voice artist?
“I think singing is a basic human right and the perfect form of self-expression,” she says. “I’ve been singing all my life and it was singing that ultimately led me to Hot, funnily enough, starting with Idols and a resulting career in radio. I can’t imagine my life without it!”
Chikane has been an award-winning radio and TV presenter since the mid-1990s and balances her Afternoons with Ursula Chikane show between 12pm and 3pm with plenty of work as a sought-after MC, event host and conference facilitator.
“Everything I do is related, and the work I do beyond broadcasting allows me to exercise the other sides of myself,” she says. “So, in studio, I’m the bubbly, cheeky rascal keeping it light, but there’s also a serious side to me, and I have the ability to transition seamlessly and walk out the studio to facilitate a conference, bringing a different energy to whatever the platform or event might be.”
Chikane’s sidekick is newsreader and journalist Newell, who’s unique take on life and sense of humour brings another element to the show, when she’s not running a successful sideline in interior decorating and lending her voice to a range of clients in the corporate space.
“I love being creative and I love building a relationship with a client, understanding their personality, and interpreting that personality and vision in the physical space,” says Newell. “It just allows me to explore a different side of myself to what you hear on air.”
Newell’s fellow newsreader, Zinhle Nako, brings a similar element to The Big Joburg Drive between 3pm and 6pm in the afternoon, along with a heavy dose of ‘sass’ and a broader world view, as the owner of a revamped bed and breakfast in Melville.
“It’s given me an opportunity to tap into my natural entrepreneurial spirit and, of course, make some extra bank!” she says. “It’s also opened my eyes to the property space and I just love meeting new and interesting people, which is what this business allows me to do. I’ve found it very rewarding.”
Hot 102.7FM’s powerhouses – taking it to the next level and celebrating Women’s Month with their success, both on and off air.