Five things Damon has taught me about radio and life

Five things Damon has taught me about radio and life

Rory says having worked closely with Damon for over two years has definitely had a positive effect on him.

damon and rory

East Coast Drive with Damon will come to an end today, the 12th of August 2016.

I arrived at East Coast Radio (and Durban) on 1 April 2014, and have been producing Damon's show and working closely with him ever since.

In that time, I have learned a helluva lot from Damon, and I'd like to list a few of the things Damon has (inadvertently) taught me. 

1. There is never any need to panic

I'm naturally highly strung, and when things go pear-shaped, I tend to sometimes lose the plot, break into a sweat and run around in circles, effectively achieving very little! Whenever this has happened during my time working with Damon, he has immediately taken control with a cool and calm head, told me to relax, and worked around whatever it was that went wrong. Live radio is super, super fun, but when something goes wrong, or a caller is dropped seven seconds before you're supposed to go on air (especially on a fast-paced drive show), it's very easy to hit a speedwobble and make a mess of things. If I told you this has happened at least 200 times during the past two years, you wouldn't believe me because you've never even noticed it. And this is because Damon is a seasoned, talented professional and has just taken it in his stride. 

2. The ability to make people feel at ease

We recorded The Big Favour once a week every week with people who have, in most cases, never even been in a studio, let alone spoken on a microphone. I've watched how these people have arrived and entered the studio (a completely foreign environment) almost quivering and stuttering with fear, and how effortlessly Damon has them calm and collected within minutes. I can't really explain how he does it, but it's possibly just the energy he gives off that makes people feel at home. 

3. Mistakes happen, move on

Sometimes, if something goes wrong on air, it's the end of the world for me and I'll unpack and obsess over it for days and days and days. Damon will always say something like, "It's done. It happened. Nobody died. Breathe. We learn from it and make sure it never happens again." This has been something I've used not just on radio, but also in life itself. And once again, when things have gone wrong on our show, I bet you haven't even noticed it! (Refer to number 1)

4. There is never any need to panic

Yes, I'm using this one again because I feel more needs to be said about Damon's temperament on and off air. There have been times when people have arrived in the building for a scheduled interview during our show, that we had completely forgotten about. Often the interview was due to begin five minutes after the person had arrived, so there was no prep ready for it. Many radio presenters would struggle through the interview and it would be obvious s/he knew absolutely nothing about the person being interviewed. This has happened at least 10 times during the past two years, but you've never noticed it. (Refer to number 1)

5. How to party, Durban style

Due to an important non-disclosure agreement signed by both Damon Beard and Rory Petzer, I cannot say much more here, other than the fact that when I first moved to Durban, I spent many a wild night / weekend in Ballito. There were tequilas, there were lifts home on the back of random bakkies, and there were 4-day hangovers. 

So, as our show comes to an end, and a new challenge awaits us both, I know without a doubt the friendship will continue and I'll continue to learn from one of the most talented radio professionals with whom I've ever worked.

- Rory Petzer

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