Smallzy calls for networks to back ‘radio lifers’ over TV and social media stars

We have seen a number of reality TV and social media personalities enter the radio space in recent times, and while they prove popular, host of Nova Entertainment’s ‘Smallzy Surgery’, Kent ‘Smallzy’ Small argued its more important to nurture young up-and-comers, and celebrate “radio lifers”, than it is to champion the hosts who have found recent fame.

He argued that hosts who aren’t “radio people” will burn out quicker, will miss out on key learnings and will struggle in comparison to people he described as “radio lifers”.

“I’m a radio guy, I started here 20 years ago and built it from here,” he told Mumbrella. “There are a lot of people who are long-term radio lifers, look at Kyle and Jackie O, Tim Blackwell who is in the drive show, we’re all radio people. And we learnt a lot on the way up.

“You don’t learn the same if you just sort of parachute in because you’re switching over from TV or social media,” he said.

“Radio is exhausting, no matter if you’re in a good mood, bad mood, if you’re sick, if you’re happy, sad, going through a breakup, you’ve got to be in the chair, and you’ve got to be there for your listeners. People who didn’t grow up around radio, or haven’t spent their careers in radio, just struggle to understand that.”

He expressed that being a radio host, and being successful, is a hard skill to learn, and hosts often make it look easier than it actually is.

“That’s what we’re here to do, make it look easy. But listeners don’t see the hours of work behind the scenes, they don’t see the intricacies of radio,” he said.

“My whole life, 24/7, is prep. I’m always seeing things that I can use… Like I’ll open Instagram and I’ll see another one of Khloe Kardashian’s controversies, and to most people, they will see it, shake their head and keep scrolling, but for me, that’s all anyone that listens to Smallzy’s Surgery will want to talk about so that’ll be on my show that night, you know?”


He argued that the key to finding strong radio talent, is to nurture the up-and-comers.

“You show me a young person who’s excited and wants a career in radio, I can show you a list of people, including me, who will go ‘what do you want? How can we help you?’ Let us nurture them,” he said.

“Mentorship is so important in an industry like this that is so exhausting, and it excites me to see people who are excited to get their foot in the door. And I want to help them.”

Keep an eye on Mumbrella for the full feature with Small this week.


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