They call him ‘Rev’ Erskine, but he’s not really a reverend. That’s just a nickname, but this young man treats his radio career like a religion. He is super disciplined and passionate about his work, and you can immediately feel this every time he does his Y Campus Express Show on Y107.9FM. The best thing about Erskine is he continues to grow, and get better as a presenter. It’s obvious that this dude has a huge future in the media, and he’s just getting started. I caught up with him to find out more.
How did you begin your career on radio?
Erskine: Well, it all began four years ago in Legon when I was in level 100. Back then, it was my dream to just join the Radio Univers team. I applied and went for the interview together with three of my friends. After a long day with them, I wasn’t shortlisted for the next stage but my friends did. Fortunately for me, Joel Orleans who was the host of the Y Campus Express on YFM back then, and was one of my referees when I was applying for the spot at Radio Univers invited me over to the YFM studio three days after to have a feel of how a radio show is done. The experience shot up my interest in becoming a radio presenter. Joel made me a representative of the YCE fan club a month later, after which I started reporting to the show on what went on in Legon. Three months later, I was promoted to a panelist for the show. My duties then included reporting on events, editing scripts for the show, getting soundbites for the show, and handling content that went out on the show. A year later, I was given a five minutes spot on the show to read campus news. Through this, the student populace gradually became familiar with my voice on the YCE Show, so it wasn’t a surprise when the station appointed and employed me in October 2015 to officially host the Y Campus Express Radio Show after its host, Joel Orleans, had been promoted to host the drive time show (Dryve Of Your Life), becoming the youngest radio presenter at the youth-oriented urban radio station.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced getting to this point?
Erskine: I studied Economics at the University of Ghana. The first challenge I faced had to do with the idea people around me had with regards to my pursuing a career in entertainment/media and studying economics. The two they said didn’t really go hand-in-hand. Many a time, I wasn’t picked after interviews because I was studying Economics. Also, combining my studies and the radio work hasn’t been easy!
What do you love the most about what you do?
Erskine: The talking!! Anyone who knows Erskine very well knows how big a talkative I am. Now, it finally feels good to know that I’m actually expected to talk because people want to hear me talk, and I get paid to do it as well. (laughs)
What don’t you like about it?
Erskine: The fame it comes with it! Now I can’t do some of the things I used to do back then before this career. The thing is, in Ghana, people naturally expect people in the limelight to live a certain life, and so not being able to live that free life I used to live by far has been one of the demerits of my work.
People think being on radio is easy. Are there any hard parts to it?
Erskine: It’s not easy! Point blank! There’s a misconception that being on radio is easy because you don’t get to see your listeners and vice-versa like television, so there’s not much stress in delivering! But the thing is, on it’s the same! One hard part about it is sounding very interesting so as to be able to keep a listener tuned in to the station, unlike television where a viewer can even keep watching whether or not you are interesting due to your looks.
What would you say is the secret to being a good radio presenter?
Erskine: Personally, I think being natural with regards to how you sound, your tone of voice and diction, feeling comfortable, confident, and being on top of what you know about what you say makes a good radio presenter! It’s also about doing your research, and not talking about what you don’t know about.
What advice would you give to young people reading this, hoping for a career in the media?
Erskine: First and foremost, this dream you have won’t become reality until you wake up! Media and entertainment is a very competitive industry, to get in is one thing but to be seen and known is a different ballgame all together! So plan out what you specifically want to do, seek advice from someone who has made it in there, take advantage of the least chance you get, and work hard at it till, and after it pays off!
With so much competition out there, how do you manage to stay ahead?
Erskine: My tool so far has been the type of content I bring on board. I read, watch and listen wide and deliver content that my listeners aren’t familiar with, but love! I stay away from clichés and make sure every day is a new and record breaking experience for my listeners!!
What does the future hold for you?
Erskine: Three years from now, Rev Erskine will be the link between the young and old when it comes to entertainment and radio in particular, and an established brand that will give hope to many young people who would want to get into the media industry. I look forward to connecting Ghana to the world with regards to radio! Now for the record, you are looking at the first Ghanaian who will host the BET Hip Hop Awards and the MTV Awards in the next three years! (laughs)
A message to your fans and listeners?
Erskine: Be productive in what we you do in life, make sure you add what’s available to you today to create more for yourself and many tomorrow! Be progressive; make sure you beat your own records in whatever you do! If today was good, tomorrow must be better!! On top of it all, be positive in life. Be like a ship’s captain, until you touch the bottom of the deep blue sea, your ship hasn’t sunk!