Award-winning radio journalist Anne Njogu speaks to William Osoro on motherhood, why she keeps her family off social media, her lowest moment and what makes a radio presenter tick.
What are some of your fondest childhood memories?
Born in Thika and raised in Nakuru, I was a responsible firstborn and a church girl.
At the end of the month when my dad received his salary, we’d accompany him to Nakuru town. We’d take him to the bank before going shopping. After getting back home, he’d lock up the shopping in the cupboard. Whenever any commodity ran low, we had to ask for the key from him.
There’s very little about you on the internet, meaning you’re a very private person. Is there a downside to sharing one’s life on social media?
I keep my family off social media. I don’t see why I should share my children on social media. But you can find my work on social media.
You have two children, right? What do you wish you knew before becoming a mother?
I wish I knew how to manage time. The first year I got the baby ilikuwa tricky sana.
Because when you get children, you don’t sleep well most of the time while at the same time you’re a career woman.
Kenyan radio presenters have come under criticism for being ‘experts’ in all matters, offering Kenyans advice…
I see no issue if you can be able to give your voice to people and help them. My only problem would be if you know nothing about what you are speaking of hence, misadvising listeners.
My advice to such radio presenters is, go to a counseling school and learn do you can offer constructive advice. Radio is a very powerful tool and some listeners take our word as the gospel truth.
What’s the most shocking call you’ve received when on air?
There’s a guy who called, ilikuwa debate motomoto. I found it weird because while we were addressing serious issues in society, he was like ‘Anne Njogu wewe ni mrembo sana. Am sure mdosi wako ameshawahi kukatia…’
I had to disconnect the call but not before telling him ‘hiyo story ya kukatiwa na mdosi it’s really bad.’ I’ve never forgotten that incident.
What are some of the changes the internet and in extension social media has made on how you prepare shows for your audiences, and how they consume it?
Beautiful. I’m more visible. A listener in Karachonyo can actually get to see me because I’ll go live on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Plus, it has positively impacted on the interactivity. Maswala yanakuwa tu freshi.
Everyone has their low days. How do you psyche yourself up such days?
I talk to myself. Najiambia ‘Anne, whatever you have, put it behind. You are the voice of hope to the people outside there.’ Sababu kuna mtu akikuskia tu hivi, anachagamka.
The brain is a very powerful organ, whatever you tell it, it does. The body will just adjust.
What are some of the traits that make a good radio presenter?
First, you have to be knowledgeable, especially on current affairs. You also have to be fast in operating the machines; in our studio, we have a mixer, four computers. You have to check messages, the level of your voice and moderate guests.
Also, you need to have good PR because you are dealing with people and of course, a good voice.
What's the lowest moment in your radio career?
I wouldn’t call it the lowest moment but a challenge. After joining Radio Maisha, I remember there’s a guy who said, ‘wewe mwanamke kutoka Central Kenya unaongea Kiswahili? Inafaa uende sokoni uuze nyanya.’
How is it like working with Babu Wakasiaka and Gathoni on Radio Maisha’s ‘Staarabika’ show?
Amazing. They come in during the first hour of the two-hour show in a segment called ‘Udaku Salon.’ We dissect most issues in society. Babu is this elderly man who gives you a deeper insight into issues.
Gathoni is very bubbly with a youthful look into issues. They are great souls.
You can catch the trio from Monday to Friday, 10am-12pm on Radio Maisha.