Rian van Heerden, host of the award-winning The Complimentary Breakfast on Jacaranda FM, was due to leave the station at the end of March but his listeners persuaded him to stay a while.
On 30 March, Jacaranda FM’s programme manager, Gavin Meiring interrupted the show explaining that there had been numerous requests from listeners for Van Heerden to stay, and read some of these messages on air. Surprised and somewhat reluctant, Van Heerden eventually decided to open the lines to his listeners so that they could make their voices heard.
“I decided to stay because radio is still a huge passion of mine, and a lot of work still needs to be done,” explains Van Heerden. “I need to achieve a few more of my bucket list items; I believe that there’s still such a huge need for social upliftment activities. Naturally, also to bring you loads more fun. And… I offer apologies in advance for ticking those off in power!”
Meiring comments on Van Heerden’s decision to stay: “Rian is a class act broadcaster and we at Jacaranda FM are really happy that he has decided to stay. His brand of controversial, funny and emotive content, mixed with more of the music you love, is what makes him the most popular morning show host in Gauteng.”
Here, an interview with Van Heerden on his journey along the airwaves…
Your journey as a broadcaster.
I started with radio in 1992 after joining Tuks FM. This led me to Punt Geselsradio, 702, OFM and eventually Jacaranda FM. I produced the breakfast show for a few months in 2007, then did the evening show (“That Show”) for the second half of 2011 and started on The Complimentary Breakfast in January 2012.
How long do you plan to stay, for now?
I plan to stay until the end of June 2017.
So soon! What are you most looking forward to, in your extended time at the station?
Doing more of all the stuff you’ve come to love about the show, but amplified, kicked into a higher gear, along with bringing you more music you love. Tune in to the show weekdays between 6 and 9am to find out what I’ll be getting up to!
What do you love most about broadcasting as a career, and hosting a breakfast show in particular?
I love the ability to make you laugh, get you nostalgic, get you singing along to your favourite song or arguing with the radio. A breakfast show has many challenges but remains the biggest platform and influencer on any radio station. It’s a privilege to be behind the helm of such a massive vessel.
What has been your most noteworthy learning in the space so far?
The power of words. Not only to entertain or upset but to empower, unite and uplift.
What has been your greatest challenge to date?
Our #ProjectWaterDrop. We wanted to assist in delivering water to the drought-stricken North West at the beginning of 2016 and ended up being a collector and distributor of over 1.3m litres of water! It was a massive project but so absolutely worth getting involved with.
What trends do you predict for your industry in 2017?
Definitely more of a move towards pre-packaged content, i.e.: content on demand. People will eventually want to listen to what they want, when they are ready to listen to it.
What are your goals for the year?
Finishing writing my book, finishing my masters in social psychology and once again (for the seventh time) bringing a one-man show to the stage. Also, of course, to leave The Complimentary Breakfast with a bang!
What are some of the things you’d still like to tick off your bucket list?
Except for more life-changing shows, specifically those involving Jacaranda FM Good Morning Angels, I still want to broadcast from an exotic location! Come on, management!
What are you currently reading/listening to for work?
I read most news webpages for work purposes.
Tell us something about yourself not generally known.
I am a trained LifeLine counsellor!
Although Van Heerden is staying put for now, there have been a couple of exciting changes to the Jacaranda FM lineup: Kriya Gangiah is on air every Monday to Friday between 7 and 10pm and Mmasea Petjie presents the Breakfast Extra show between 4am and 6am.