#BehindtheSelfie with... Simon Hill

This #YouthMonth, we go behind the selfie with Simon Hill, presenter on Mansfield in the Morning, head of creative at Hot 91.9FM, and Liberty Radio Awards 2019 Bright Star, awarded to those with an intrinsic understanding and love for the medium, respects its past, but who also has great ideas about its future.
Hill, behind the mic.

1. Where do you live, work and play?

I live in Bryanston, work in Northriding and play wherever I think there might be a good time!

2. What’s your claim to fame?

I do a pretty good Hugh Bladen impersonation, which has stood me in good stead over the years. It’s also scored me a lot of free drinks (See: Party Trick).

3. Describe your career so far.

I’ve certainly had an interesting career thus far! I started on radio after Rhodes University doing sport on the weekend. This then morphed into being part of a breakfast show in Cape Town.

At the end of 2010, I moved to Johannesburg where I worked at Jacaranda FM. In 2012, I helped start South Africa’s first sport-only internet radio station - Ballz Visual Radio.

In 2014, I was part of the founding group of presenters at Hot 91.9FM, where I have been ever since.

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The most exciting bit? I feel the best is yet to come!

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

I love golf and have been playing since I was 12. I also love chocolate (especially dark Toblerone. Mmmmmm). I also love to travel.

I should probably also mention that I love my fiancée, Meg. We’re getting married in August. She’d be super bleak to read this and see she’s not mentioned. And you do not want to see her angry...

5. What do you love about your industry?

I love the informality of it all. It’s a cliche, but no two days are ever the same. The people are also really cool – well, most of them, anyway! Not having to wear a suit and tie to work is also a huge plus.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

4am - Wake up.
5am - Get to the studio.
5.05 am - COFFEE!
6am - Go on air for Mansfield in the Morning (COFFEE!)
9am - Trudge upstairs to start my day as Head of Creative (COFFEE!)
3.30/4pm - Go to gym/pilates (Yes, I do pilates. Stop laughing.)
7pm - have dinner.
9pm - Collapse. Repeat.

7. What are the tools of your trade?

A quick mind, a sharp wit, a bit of lateral thinking, a good attitude and a reliable PC.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

You mean apart from me? I think there are people who have been getting it right for years. Just on the Mansfield in the Morning team we have the legend that is Jeremy Mansfield, John Walland and Sam Cowen, all of whom I grew up listening to.

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Then there are the likes of Anele, Greg and Lucky, Robbie Kruse who I worked with at Jacaranda FM – he’s doing really well with Roger on 5FM. And Elma Smit; she’s managed to transition from radio to TV and now does both – she’s flying.

That’s on the presenter side of things.

I think from a station perspective, Hot 91.9FM is getting it right. We know what we stand for and what we are mandated to do. And I would argue that we do a damn fine job in ensuring that we get it right.

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9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.

Talent development. Hot 91.9FM is the only station I know of that actually has a proper radio training academy. I was fortunate to learn (and continue to learn) from some of the best radio people this country has ever seen. Not everyone will get that opportunity.
The next generation of presenter needs to be trained and mentored. I get that times are changing but you still need to know the fundamentals. And you need to learn those fundamentals somewhere.
That’s the point of the training academy. It’s not just about how many followers you have on social media.

10. What are you working on right now?

This questionnaire!

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

'Social media’ ‘Viral’ ‘Cume builder’ (a mechanism designed to grow audience), ‘Latest numbers’ (usually referring to audience figures) and, my personal favourite, ‘added value’ (what clients usually expect when they book a campaign!)

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

I’m not an ideas-on-the-loo kind of person. I work best when I sit in front of my computer and write. The quieter the better – not always possible when you work at a radio station like Hot 91.9FM!

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?

I do a fairly good Hugh Bladen impersonation, which has stood me in good stead over the years. It’s also scored me a lot of free drinks (See: Claim to Fame).

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?

I’m definitely not a technophobe, but I wouldn’t say I’m a technophile either. I’m somewhere in between. Call me a techno-tolerator.

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

A sh*tload of photos of our dogs, Bazil and Bon Bon, courtesy of my fiancée.

Then there are the thousands of memes and stupid videos, which I annoy my friends with and eat up most of my data. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

Be prepared to learn and work hard. Like any job, you have to do the time. It’s not going to fall into your lap.

Simple as that. Hear Hill in action on Hot 91.9, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow the Hot 91.9FM press office, as well as their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds for the latest updates.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, and can be reached at ...