Who are you? I am Dan Corder. At 24, Corder is the youngest breakfast show radio host in South Africa, recently taking the helm at Good Hope FM in Cape Town.
But he’s no Johnny-come-lately, having made his mark on campus radio, particularly with a current affairs show during the #RhodesMustFall protests.
Why did you choose a career in radio?
Initially, although I love learning, radio seemed like way more fun than university essays, and more likely to make me money. I never intended to become a radio presenter, but the more I created shows and experimented with styles on campus radio, the more I became enthralled by the potential I see in radio to be an art form. Radio has immense emotional and creative power, and pure audio is beautiful. The best radio is extraordinary. My career is driven by a desire to create extraordinary, artful, thrilling radio. I’m lucky to have that opportunity at Good Hope FM now.
What have been the highlights so far?
I hosted a current affairs and issues show on campus radio at the University of Cape Town that became the centre of student community discussion during Rhodes Must Fall. Some of the biggest global media houses were using my podcasts to create their stories. This work culminated in me co-hosting one radio show on the BBC World Service. I created all the content, and the show was broadcast for half an hour to hundreds of countries and millions upon millions of people. That was a wild highlight. I have also been in award-winning radio teams, and made a campaign named Finding The Hype that opened up the radio industry to unknown, talented musicians. This campaign has led to over one hundred South African musicians getting deserved radio debuts of their songs on commercial radio. I am really proud of all of this.
What are the biggest challenges and thrills of being the youngest breakfast DJ in commercial radio in South Africa?
One thrill is that I get all the tools that a breakfast show provides. The prestige of the time slot affords you the best contributors, the best interviews, the best producers, and the most invested and interactive listeners. This is a dream circumstance for me and my desire to create and experiment. Another thrill is that I get to express the experience that my generation feels in this moment in South Africa. Often, breakfast shows are run by much older DJs, who naturally speak more easily to their generation. I am happy to give young and youthful people a show that reflects them more than usual in radio. The challenge of a breakfast show is simple. You need to be excellent all the time. Fifteen hours a week of performance in a crucial time slot makes daily consistency a challenge.
Three things you can’t live without?
Music, soccer, and pasta.
Who is your superhero and why?
My parents. They’re both incredible academics. They are deeply smart, funny and interested in the world. Crucially though, they are selfless, just, generous and kind, beyond measure. It is inspiring to witness how good it is possible to be, and I am lucky to have been raised by them, and have their example to try and emulate.
In five years time I will be…
The only thing I can think of that feels close to certain is I will be working in performance. Most likely radio, probably more. Hopefully it will all be some form of art.
This story was first published in the June 2018 issue of The Media.