Can you present yourself? where are you from? what did you studied and what’s your work background?
I’m half Egyptian half German. I was born in Egypt and I was raised in Herne, a city in West Germany. I did her Master’ degree in Media Management & Media Production in Cologne then I wrote my final Master piece in radio in NZ. After this I started working in media in NZ and discovered Base FM. I was working as an intern for the bigger sister station called George FM. At the time, they wanted to close Base down because it wasn’t profitable, and I end up putting an offer for Base. At the time the station was 3 years old and I was 23. I took it over in 2008 and then, few months later, George FM have been sold to Media Works. NZ’s media is basically run by 2 major Networks, TRN & Media Works and then we have few independent ones that are trying to survive, and Base FM is part of those, it’s the biggest independent station in NZ! I am a DJ myself, I’m also an artist manager and I’m part of the music industry in general in NZ, I do a lot of mentoring, part of judging panel for certain things like NZ Air … lots of things.
What’s the business model of the station?
When I first bought the station they were nothing in place… No one was working for the station, every DJs were coming and go but they were no staff. It’s run by artist for artist and it’s 100% DJ choice, which is the big difference with any other radio station in NZ. It’s not a rotation of a top 40 tracks or whatever playlist but It’s all live, mixed So, we have 88 DJ’s on Base on a weekly rotation. Every two hours is a DJ presenting their musical selections and complete freedom of what they are playing.
Why did you choose to move to NZ to work in the music industry?
I came to NZ for the first time when I was 18 yo. Interesting and English-speaking country, not UK or States where I have been to many times and I just relay liked the country and I started working in media here I realised how creative and different it is to Europe where everything is quite regulated. Base FM especially is a very free platform. Is the artist that are running the station, not business people.
What would be your advice to someone who want to start his own radio (world wild)?
Find your niche! That’s the biggest advice. NZ is the biggest market for radio in the world, so there’s more radio station in Auckland than in NYC or London for example… We have the most situated market here and I get really frustrated because it’s all the same. You know, because they are all part of the 2 major Networks (TRN & Media Works) … This is a bad thing for the public as all information and music gets chosen by those 2 networks and then spread across the country as they see fit (or get paid for the most). Very controlling & dangerous! One song that supposed to be pushed is pushed on 10 stations at the time… this instead of being a voice for people or individuality and all that kind of stuff is not there! It’s part of the success for media because they do what is popular but it’s different with what we do… We don’t look at what gonna be successful in term of what gonna brings us money but the priority of what we are passionate about and I think that it’s really important if you start a radio station to find this point of difference! And to be prepare to not make much money and work really hard!
What’s your next project?
There’s so many projects that continuously need to be worked on ! It’s always a lot happening. Recently, we created an App and it’s works well cause we have more listeners but we always have to update. For example some players are not working right now because of Chrome … like constantly this kind of things and you have to deal with it. Then, obviously there’s this line-up of 80 dj’s that I have to manage because it’s constantly changing (who is no here, who can replace… etc) . At the same time I want to take the station back to the community. For example we are working on few workshop in different part of Auckland during the winter in collaboration with the Council. Otherwise, now I’m working on a fashion, music and dance show called Mosaic. It’s gonna be a free event open to everyone to celebrate collaboration and diversity !
*The Stoop is Oaariki and Golden Mane. For more than a decade the duo have been involved with music both in creation, live performance and behind the scenes providing them with great insights into local and international scenes. These two cats invited me to jump behind the decks with them for one of their weekly session on Base FM and it was blast !