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James Peterson: 20 years on radio

KFM’s James Peterson (R) shared his story with fan Jest Boniface, a student at Kyambogo University.
PHOTO BY Isaac Ssejjombwe

STILL COUNTING: James Peterson has been on radio for 20 years but did you know that he studied things he may never practice? The KFM K-Drive presenter shares this and more with his fan Jest Boniface.

Hi Peterson. Why is your radio show at 3pm and not in the morning?
Throughout my radio journey, there isn’t any time of the day that I haven’t presented at. I have done evening shows, morning shows, mid-morning shows. Name it all.
So doing a 3pm show is not hard for me. I am that flexible.

So how do you spend your morning time?
I run my businesses in the morning and if I have some free time, I spend it with my family.

What are some of those businesses?
I have an events company; I do radio consultancy and media training.

When did you join KFM?
I joined KFM in 2010.

What was the first programme you did at KFM?
It was Hitsville but later I did the Breakfast Bonanza with Precious TM. My first years on air, I used to do a lot of fill-ins for example on D’Mighty Breakfast, Da Hook, late night shows and others.

When did you start your own show then?
In 2013. I replaced Dave on the Drive show.

What do you prefer? Presenting or production?
I would say production. I have been on radio for 20 years but most of it I have been behind the scene. I’m more experienced in production, creating good audio and playing with good sound.

Do you have an immediate family?
Yes I do, but I am not married yet. We are just cohabiting.

Is it the mother of your children you are dating?
No. This is someone else.

What would you want your children to be when they grow up?
All that I want is for them to be out of the media. I want my children to enhance their talents the way they want. I don’t want my children to be in a situation where they go to school for 16 years; seven in primary, six in secondary and three at university. I will study them and help them exhibit their talents.

What have you learnt from the 20 years you have been on radio?
With radio, you never stop learning. You can’t say you have it all. However, in those years I have been able to up my game in the delivery. I am at a level where I am able to manage, train and express myself on air.

What challenges have you faced on Ugandan radio?
I have faced many challenges but the biggest is that I am so confined or locked on to working on only English speaking stations. I can never work on stations that speak other languages.

What are your two biggest weaknesses?
It is very difficult for me to say no to people when they ask me to do something for them or need assistance. The other weakness that I have is that I tend to easily trust people.

Peterson’s journey and inspiration

I went to Pioneer Primary School, the best in Soroti and after that I went to the US at the John Adams for what you would call secondary level. I then did a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist course at Koening Institute in India, then Journalism and Media studies at the University of South Africa. Those are some of the courses I did and many more.
I, however, regret having done all those courses. I wish I did journalism instantly because it is what I am doing now. I don’t believe I will ever participate in any of the courses I did.

My journey started if memory serves me correct, in 1998 at Voice of Teso. We used to broadcast on an OB van which had a studio setting inside. I then had a stint at Kiss FM in Tanzania. Then Alpha FM which I left in 2009. But midway, I was also doing production, sound engineering, audio inspirations, which I still do up to now.

Wow. I think many are good but Alex Ndawula is the best. He is himself, not afraid to say anything at any time. Then in my current generation, you can’t skip the name Fat Boy. He is very intellectual and philosophical . Then Hakim Saga. We sometimes compare notes.

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