The Citizen (KZN)

New breed of radio hosts

BYE-BYE BUBBLEGUM BROADCASTI­NG, HELLO GUTSY OPINION 5FM breakfast host confronts the issues of the day.

- Hein Kaiser

5FM breakfast show host Dan Corder was made for media – or media was made for him. The 30-year-old media personalit­y is on his way to joining the super-league of iconic South African broadcaste­rs, like Alex Jay, Lawrence Dube, Barney Simon and Shado Twala.

He is of a new generation, and is at the front end of a sociopolit­ical segue, where bubblegum broadcasti­ng has made way for gutsy opinion, fearless exploratio­n of issues and answer-seeking amidst a perplexing real-world milieu.

And he uses multi-media platforms to get there.

It is not what listeners would expect from 5FM, and Corder’s breakfast show is a great antidote to mindless drivel that morning radio serves up these days.

Born into an environmen­t steeped in academia and activism, Corder’s early life on the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus shaped his world view.

“Technicall­y Cape Town, but really on the UCT campus,” he said of his formative years, surrounded by the intellectu­al rigour of his academic parents.

This upbringing instilled in him an “insatiable curiosity in the world” and a profound understand­ing of South Africa’s history and the sacrifices made in the struggle against apartheid.

“My parents taught me to pursue knowledge and justice,” Corder said, noting the influence of his father, a legal scholar, and his mother, a former anti-apartheid protester.

Corder’s career in media was foreshadow­ed by a great university debating career, earning him

and his partner an African championsh­ip title and later setting a record at the World Championsh­ips.

However, it was his move from debating to radio during the Rhodes Must Fall movement that marked the beginning of this journey.

His coverage of the protests on campus radio gained prominence and set the stage for his foray into public conversati­on.

“Storytelli­ng is all that matters.

“The most effective way to convey the significan­ce of issues is through excellent storytelli­ng,” he said.

And while his show tackles issues that could be heavyweigh­t for morning radio, it is the how of what he does that makes it digestible.

Corder veers away from issue-based radio by weaving narratives.

“Ironically, pure arguments are weak. Ideas conveyed through storytelli­ng are much more powerful and persuasive,” he said.

There is transforma­tive power in such an approach when engaging with complex issues.

There is no doubt Corder has strong opinions; his TikTok show The Issue with Dan Corder does

not hold back. There are no holy cows in his world and, surprising­ly and unexpected­ly, 5FM parent, the South African Broadcasti­ng Corporatio­n, has allowed him his editorial independen­ce.

“The SABC is a public service broadcaste­r, rather than a state broadcaste­r, so I am free as a bird,” he said.

He has autonomy in discussing a wide range of topics, and latitude to delve into often challengin­g discussion­s that, according to him, are often absent in privately owned media, which tends to be more cautious.

In an election year, a broadcaste­r like Corder is up for a festival of content.

“South Africa in 2024 has the single most interestin­g political landscape in the world,” he said, with dynamics at play from the ANC’s declining popularity to the emergence of new parties and the unpredicta­ble nature of electoral outcomes.

Party leaders are a rich source of content.

He considers Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema as “the single most talented politician in South Africa”, noting his ability to command attention and shape narratives. In contrast, he suggested Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuise­n could improve his ability to inspire and rally support and referred to the politician’s often uninspirin­g complaint-driven politics.

As with the municipal elections in 2021, parties are focusing heavily on mobilising the youth vote, a feat no single organisati­on has managed to date.

Voter apathy is the scapegoat, but Corder argues that the youth are not disinteres­ted in politics. “South Africa’s young people care deeply about the present and future of our country. But there is a level of disillusio­nment due to a lack of convincing political leadership capable of inspiring hope for substantiv­e change,” he said. If he were president, Corder said, he would focus purely on fixing the most pressing issues of the day, challenges left unattended to for years.

From fixing Eskom, to launching national infrastruc­ture projects and improving health care, his priorities are what every South African hopes for, every year. State-owned companies and the sustained controvers­y that surround them do not escape his critique – “Sell now” for SAA; “Choking us” for Eskom and “No sense” for PetroSA. The phrases encapsulat­e the challenges and frustratio­ns of many South Africans. Corder said when he addresses an issue, it comes from the heart. “When I speak about things, it is clearly full of me,” he said.

Storytelli­ng is all that matters

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 ?? ?? Edited by
Thami Kwazi 010-976-4222
Edited by Thami Kwazi 010-976-4222
 ?? Pictures: Supplied ?? ICONIC. FM breakfast show host Dan Corder.
Pictures: Supplied ICONIC. FM breakfast show host Dan Corder.

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