#BehindtheSelfie with... Brian Oxley, radio presenter at Magic 828 Radio

This week, we go behind the selfie with Brian Oxley, entrepreneur, marketer and radio presenter at Magic 828 Radio, who was inducted into the South African Radio Awards Hall of Fame...
Brian Oxley, entrepreneur, marketer and radio presenter at Magic 828 Radio.
Brian Oxley, entrepreneur, marketer and radio presenter at Magic 828 Radio.

Oxley believes that an entrepreneurial mindset and strategic marketing are essential to surviving the global economic crisis. "During the Covid pandemic some companies have been opportunistic while others have taken a more pragmatic approach and seized the opportunity to re-evaluate and remodel their businesses and strategies, from SSMEs to corporates," he said, commenting on its affect on the economy. "If you do not change the way you operate, you could be in future trouble. An entrepreneurial vision is needed in order to survive. Strategic marketing is vital in order not to get lost in a social media maelstrom."

In terms of its impact on the industry, specifically, he said that with the demise of numerous print options, the medium is now even more important to advertisers. "Radio has always been immediate and personal... Not only does it offer fast and changeable options but it extends and reinforces the reach of your business concept via it's own social media platforms and web presence, seamlessly incorporating your brand and message, and offering value-added opportunities in both spaces."

He said the station was quick to respond to the lockdown. "Magic 828 introduced a variety of promotions under the identifier of #MagicTogether.

"Everything from live stay-at-home concerts to social media interactions, and competitions were ramped up on the station. Friday and Saturday evenings were reformatted to bring the best of Magic's music to the fore. Magic 828 has also reached out to include listeners comments on the station, which has revealed a broad listenership spectrum.

"Magic 828 has had an unprecedented rise in listenership interactive patterns, both local and international, with a 60% increase in streaming figures for the weekday 12-3pm show alone."

1. Where do you live, work and play?


When you’re in radio, mainly at the studios. I sleep in Scarborough though. I present the Lunch Box Show on Magic 828 between 12 and 3pm.

2. What’s your claim to fame?


I have a few… Depends on which hat I’m wearing.
  • Radio. Worked at radio stations Capital 604 / 5FM / SAfm / 702 / the new LM Radio / Magic 828. Spent a number of years at 5FM as the afternoon drive presenter, then lunchtime host. Got to travel a lot with the station – Australia, Paris, Mauritius. Introduced a feature entitled Commercial Break and created the Orchid & Onions Awards. Got an award from TBWA/Hunt Lascaris for Best Radio Contribution. Interviewed multiple celebrities: Shirley MaClaine, Omar Sharif, Billy Connolly, Garry Christian (Christians), Leo Sayer, Andy Mccluskey (OMD), Sol Kerzner, Al Jarreau, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jonathan Butler, Mike Rutherford (Mike and the Mechanics), Jon Secada, Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), Cindy Alter, Bee Gees, Louis Gossett Junior, Celine Dion, Jan-Michael Vincent, Duran Duran, Foreigner, Randy Crawford, George Benson, Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Basil D'Oliveira (cricketer) and many more…


  • Just been inducted into the SA Radio Hall of Fame.

  • Advertising and marketing. Ran my own successful agency with my partner. Launched multiple shopping centres and major developments. Organised an international auction of Nelson Mandela Memorabilia with World Press.

  • Publishing. Started TeenZone magazine and brought Barbie magazine into South Africa.

  • Wine marketing. Promoting wine estates, tasting rooms and sales.

  • Art. Developing a clothing and merchandise brand called Rinki Art from original South African artwork.

3. Describe your career so far.


Varied and interesting and if it’s not a passion, I don’t want to do it.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


I’m having a Maria moment … I love technology, motoring, music, art, travel and twirling around whilst singing on top of mountains.

5. What do you love about your industry?


Always exciting and changing. People, concepts and hardware, records, tapes, CDs, computers, digital broadcasting, egos, on-air promotions and concepts, social media...

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


6am office work in the morning at my home office. Leave for the studio at 10, arrive at 11 to compile show. Present lunch show from 12 to 3pm. Music, quizzes, features, traffic, WhatsApp chats, social media, breaking news and whatever blows into my brain on that day, etc. Leave studios ±3:30pm, arrive back at my home office at ±4:30, edit features for the following day's show till about 6:30pm. Then catch up on emails, social media, etc. Dinner (in or out)… Bed – more research – sleep about midnight.

7. What are the tools of your trade?


Voice, microphone, studio and a transmitter normally covers it. I do use an iPad a lot as well as an iMac, which I couldn’t live without. A fast-thinking brain is always handy.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


Primedia and Kagiso seem to be doing a pretty decent job, and Magic 828 of course!

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


In programming, predictable, safe, controlled broadcasting makes for boring radio. In advertising, the industry has lost a lot of originality and excitement; we settle for mediocrity.
On a technical radio aspect, the playing fields need to be levelled so that all stations can be heard by everyone. We still have the signal distribution inherited from the Apartheid years, where large SABC stations control multiple FM transmitter networks that were originally constructed to control the State airwaves by the Nationalist government. These need to be split up and re-allocated. Digital broadcast trials need to be replaced by digital broadcasting and it needs to be implemented immediately. Together with an awareness push by the electronics industry and car manufacturers in SA to promote its use, we are way behind the rest of the world.

10. What are you working on right now?


In the Covid-19 era, surviving! And looking for new opportunities. Also carrying on at Magic Radio and launching a new business, as well as designing websites in my spare time. There’s an outline for an autobiography lurking somewhere on my hard drive.


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


I’m not a fan of buzzwords; they are almost exclusionary. Most modern turns of phrase are just reworked terminology for the boardroom (Zoom meeting). Things like vertical integration, maximise returns, ROI, clickbait, ad infinitum. As long as buzzwords are self-explanatory, I just grin and bear them. Catchphrases, however, are the stuff DJs are made of…

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


The shower works well and a beach walk. I have a 50-minute drive into the studio each day so that gives me ideas (to get a helicopter!), also REM sleep, but you gotta scribble quick when you wake up!

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


My wife reckons I can read peoples auras and know if they are a decent human being from the get-go. Party trick... I had that thing with cutlery and seeing numbers but too many people know about it now.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


I am definitely a ‘phile’. I have always been an Apple fan (I still have the original desktop iMac they first brought out) although I did recently move to Android on my cellphone… I embrace technology.

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


A nude shot of my dog and an eclectic app mix from banking to TikTok and world radio stations.

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


Always look for that crack. Keep your antenna up to watch for the opportunity and when you get it, don’t disappoint, don’t be predictable, don’t be a corporate clone, do be the nice person.

Follow Oxley on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn.

*Interviewed by Jessica Tennant.

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com. She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram

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