The 34-year-old, who joined Kaya from youth trends agency Instant Grass, had spent a significant part of his media career (nine years) at YFM. That was until he was fired, “because I disobeyed a direct order”.
He is not keen to discuss the details of the dispute that led to his dismissal: “I’ve made it a point to keep good relations with my ex-employers, because radio is a very small industry that needs to grow. It’s actually more beneficial when people have issues and move past them.”
Maloka says he had a “fantastic time” at YFM Ã¢Â€Â“ where he occupied various positions, including that of manager.
“If you look at the radio landscape now, it’s littered with YFM talent. There is a lot we have contributed as YFM.” He believes this contribution could, in part, be ascribed to the change in the political landscape at the time. “The freedom of the airwaves inspired a lot of talent and creativity.
“It was at a time when no-one would dare touch anything raw and untested Ã¢Â€Â“ and we thrived on it; because we were young, raw and untested ourselves.
“I was turning 23 when we started YFM. It (was unusual) for a black boy to get to make big decisions then (11 years ago)… There’s a beautiful and yet dangerous thing about being young. And it’s that you don’t see the challenges for what they are. Because you’re just so full of energy and sometimes you don’t understand the consequences of certain things.
“It’s awesome because you always have the drive to try new things. But you have to have the right kind of support Ã¢Â€Â“ which we had.”
How much of that energy is left more than 10 years later?
“I still have that energy. Now it’s a little bit more structured and properly channelled. Back in the day, one would just freely spread it all out.”
On what don’t you waste time?
“About eight years ago, my father (Godfrey Maloka), got me this desk item that said, Ã¢Â€Â˜The 24-hour rule Ã¢Â€Â“ do it now’. Essentially it says: Ã¢Â€Â˜Don’t procrastinate’. I took that idea and applied it in one sphere of my life where, if something bothers me, I need to have a five-minute rule. You can kick, scream, jump, but you have five minutes to do what you need to do and after that think clearly about how you’ll sort it out.”
How do you spend free time?
“With my kids.” (Maloka has a daughter, Koketso (16), and two sons, Malik (6) and Kgosi-Tariq (3).) “As clichÃƒÂ©d as it may sound Ã¢Â€Â“ there is certain Ã¢Â€Â˜charity work’ that I think is important. For instance, I’m passionate about the idea of profiling policemen (on air) Ã¢Â€Â“ finding good, honest policemen working hard and giving them a platform.
“The idea is still at a very developmental stage, though.”
How would you describe Kaya’s market?
“There are two kinds: What I call Ã¢Â€Â˜the establishment’ and Ã¢Â€Â˜the newies’. By age I fall in the newies. But because I’m an old soul, I’m also well-represented in the establishment.
“Kaya’s market is urban, fresh, sophisticated and welloff. It’s probably the most-desired market now.”
What are the growth targets for the station?
“We want to grow rapidly Ã¢Â€Â“ the trick with Kaya is to find the right listeners: Everybody who is part of the lifestyle and in the life stage.
“It’s about understanding what the new adult is about. I’m in the target market, so I need to attract myself to the brand and those like myself. “We’re currently on 1.5-million (listeners) and we’re looking to at least grow by another 150,000 in the next book (quarter). We want to grow revenue by 25 percent. I really think on the revenue side there’s a lot more to achieve.
“A brand like Kaya is probably still largely misunderstood by the commercial world.”
This article first appeared in The Media magazine (August 2008).