Sooooooo after many mornings of torture and frustration, I have decided to write a letter to Unathi (Metro FM). Call me crazy and say I have all the time in the world but I did. And I hope some soul is kind enough to pass it on to her as I’m not sure how I can possibly reach her. Now I can sleep soundly at night….(I swear this highly bothered me)…
I trust you are well on this chilly Johannesburg morning.
After much hesitation, but with a lot of consideration, I have decided to pen you this open letter. Do not take anything written here as a personal attack on your overall character. I do not know you in a personal capacity; therefore all views expressed here onwards are solely based on you as a Metro FM morning show co-host.
I will first revert to two incidents from last week.
A metro FM listener called on Wednesday morning, to comment about a topic you guys were discussing about twerking. She directed a comment to you about how you should allow young girls to twerk as it was their form of dance equivalent to bumping and grinding back in your days (making reference to R. Kelly’s Bump ‘n Grind). She had obviously not heard your initial statement, where you had said YOU wouldn’t allow YOUR daughter to twerk. And Glen was kind enough to point out this little fact to her, in a polite manner. From what I had heard, she was about to respond and say that she obviously had misheard you [thought you had meant all girls in general]. Now you Mrs Msengana had to take the final jab at this listener and tell her that she needs to learn to listen. Your exact words were “if we are going to respect each other we have to learn to listen… Learn to listen… I said my daughter”… MEOW!! Catty much? I frankly found it so unnecessary (because Glen had already checked her and informed her of her inaccuracy…) and just downright rude. It came across like you were ganging up on her and trying to put her in her place. Exactly which part about her response made you feel disrespected? So she misheard you, big deal. Correct her and keep it moving. There is no need to exasperate the situation and make it out to be something it is not. It just made you look like a mean, old bully.
I have noticed you have a tendency of making listeners look small. In isiZulu we would say “Uyaphoxana”. I guess with time you have learned to conceal it so well, that even you miss it.
Then on Friday, the kids were calling in and saying which soccer team they supported. One kid (Khosi if I remember correctly) called in. You asked him, what he thought of Beckham’s retirement. Now obviously you caught him off guard, as initially you were just asking the other kids about which teams they supported. His mother decided to help him out with a short answer (the same way she was kind enough to correct you when you called her son a HER). You thereafter told this little boy, to tell his mother that she can call in for herself if she wants to express what she thought of Beckham’s retirement. The bloody nerve of you! You were most definitely out of line. Have you never helped your kids out when they were in a sticky situation? I know, as a mother, I have prompted my son plenty of times when I see he will battle or is battling with something. And that is how he learns. And no teacher will come and tell me how and when I should prompt my child. The same principal from Wednesday applied here: you did not like the Wednesday caller telling you how to handle your daughter. How dare you tell this mother not to prompt her son? Even though you didn’t flat out verbalize it, it is what you meant. And to top it all off you have the audacity to use her son as a messenger boy. Shame on you! Once again you felt the need to “check” this mother on her behavior.
Time and time again I have observed this as a common character of yours, which you bring with you every morning to the show. You put people in check and bring orderliness. It is like you are the disciplinarian of the show. You do it with your co-hosts and you do it with the listeners. Well it is distasteful. It makes listeners like me very uncomfortable. The platform you have is not for that. I understand if someone is being rude to you or openly disrespectful. Even then, there are ways to handle it, without you losing your cool. And don’t think because people can’t see you, they cannot feel your tone (which often drips of sarcacism, arrogance, bitchyness and impudence). You cannot run the show like you are running your household. The listeners are your bosses. Our tax money pays and maintains much of the SABC. And just because you take the call, doesn’t make you superior. You must understand you will get all types of callers and yes some will get on your last nerve but how you handle them is important on how your listeners view YOU. I don’t tune in to Metro to hear people call in- I tune in to hear you guys (Glen, Mel and the rest of the crew). It is not pleasant and very unprofessional.
My next gripe with you, if not the worst, is how you speak over people, as if your views are more profound than the next persons. I can only imagine what a nightmare a dinner party with you must be, if your interaction with your team is anything to go by. You cut people off!!! ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME. Has no one told you? Anyone? Someone? I have sat in traffic for years while listening to your show and you always do it. I’m not sure if it’s because you have a short memory span and don’t want to forget what you were about to say, or maybe you feel your point will be more valid, or you just simply like the sound of your own voice. Either way it’s aggravating and rude. On many occasions you have given inaccurate information or your knowledge on whatever topic being discussed was slightly skewed. And it took one comment (when you did finally pause) from Glen or Melanie to correct you. You are not a one man show. I understand you won’t always be right (although more times than not you think you are) but maybe if you gave others a chance to talk, you could learn something without first laying your ignorance for the world to see. Learn to breath. Pause. Talk. You are not presenting Castle Loud anymore.
I am genuinely bringing up these points because I love the show. I have tried to change radio stations and find entertainment elsewhere in the mornings. But I have found myself crawling back with my tail between my legs because I miss the morning mixes, Carmen, the smack down and some of the entertaining content. The show is amazing. It is light, funny, entertaining and very engaging. I love how it is not always work, but there is an element of play. I love Glen’s ridiculousness and boldness (laced with arrogance), I adore Melanie’s intellect, acumen and lady like demeanor and I appreciate your street savyness and fortitude. You guys do a phenomenal job of brightening up the beginning of every working day. I would never take that away from you.
I trust I have been authentic enough with my deliverance of these issues that bother me. And I am aware this is currently an isolated opinion. I hope you do not dismiss it as another black-on-black sister hate or bad case of PHD (pull her down syndrome) but rather you take it as constructive criticism.
An avid First Avenue listner