DREAM TEAM: Malaika Nnyanzi and Brian Mulondo made one year on radio on Tuesday. And it is unbelievable the chemistry the duo have struck on the D’Mighty Breakfast show, which has grown into a friendship.
Radio is about chemistry, first between presenters, and ultimately between them and the audience. One year down the road, Brian Mulondo and Malaika Nnyanzi, have perfected what started as the most impromptu gig.
Before they were paired to become presenters of D’Mighty Breakfast show, the two only met twice in half a decade. On the two occasions, there was nothing cosy or platforms that let them get upclose.
To Malaika’s recollection, Brian was the uptight and serious emcee who was there to work and nothing more. As the two went about their career journeys, Brian on NTV and several gigs in media and events, Malaika as a television presenter at Urban TV, Joseph Beyanga was following their career trail. He was searching for a duo to fill KFM’s breakfast show.
Beyanga, the head of radio at Monitor Publications Limited, which includes KFM and Dembe FM, paired the two and when he was ready to engage them, he did not give them time to go through rehearsals.
“We met here (at KFM) for voice tests. Joseph asked us to ‘just talk’,” Brian recounts. Malaika adds, “We talked and I just started laughing and he was laughing too, so much that one would think we had worked together for a long time. Before coming for the voice test, my mother asked me to work with Brian because she had seen him more than I had.”
Malaika’s mother had seen him at work as an emcee. Coincidentally, he had also worked with Malaika’s cousin, Becky, at Power FM, a Christian radio station. Much more, was she got to know Brian’s wife before she got to know him. She is into events management business and had given Malaika some emceeing gigs.
Getting into radio meant a whole new ball game for her — she was debuting — and comparing television to radio, she says radio listeners are stricter, which calls for more than having a good voice. The duo’s welcome was smoother. The outgoing lead presenter, Ben Mwine, was in studio to give them a heads-up and handover. And it did not take even baby steps for Brian and Malaika to fly with the show because, to their admission, they were both ‘on fire’ and looking for a new challenge in their careers.
“We both know what our strengths are and we know how to support each other,” he adds. Also, the presenters capitalised on the fact that they were given a lot of creative freedom that lets them tap into their television backgrounds to synergise.
At the time they joined KFM, the two were told of the radio station’s vision, which was to become the number one breakfast show. Within six months, the polls rated them number one and one would say they are only capping on getting better, the best being their ultimate.
The chemistry aside, much goes into the success of the radio show. For instance, the presenters take an hour off after the show, to review their delivery.
Their producer, Beyanga, is in the habit of taking the duo for breakfast, to lunch or dinner to simply chat as a way to let their hair down. Surprisingly, good ideas are discussed at such informal get-togethers.
And for the while the interview runs, Brian and Malaika say things so honestly to one another that some of the hard truths that come out could be a little too honest to relay here.
I would let you into some of it; Brian enjoys rolex so much that Malaika jokes that he only misses having it for breakfast when the guy who makes it for him does not show up at his stall.
“Malaika likes eating. She loves shoes and has refused to let us know when she will meet Mr Right,” he shoots back. “I really like to eat. I like eating cake and I love matooke and binyebwa (groundnut sauce). I make it for myself at home as I watch series,” she adds.
She enjoyed Game of Thrones so much that she is repeating the seven seasons. As for Mr Right, a God-fearing, ambitious and handsome man is on her wish list, although she adds that there is someone who likes her and… the feeling is mutual.
Brian is married with two children, something Malaika applauds because it leaves her in a comfortable zone where people do not have to imagine if the chemistry on air leads into a private affair.
“Working together has drawn us close. I remember when Malaika lost her sister, I was on holiday with my family but I had to cut it short to be there for her,” he recounts.
This is a relationship that tends into family ties because clearly both families are conjoined. And it is one that comes as natural as any other as Malaika spells out times when the two will ‘fight’ or deal with challenges outside but make sure the radio listener does not hear or feel it.
A year on, Brian and Malaika continue to draw listenership, and rule in an era of fleeting loyalty, perhaps trying to live up to the name of their show — D’Might Breakfast.
About the 1st year…
Winning the Unconventional Radio Show in the Media Challenge Initiative Awards.
Malaika: Hahahaha…once a guy called and complained about the use of vernacular on the show……it was ridiculous, seeing as we are not in England…we are African and at that a country with so much diversity, we can’t help it.
Brian: A gentleman once called in and tried to spell Brrrrrr. He started with “Capital B” oh and a guy who called asking if we were the BBC because we sounded like BBC presenters. lol
Malaika: I think because we make fun of ourselves so much, it is hard to get embarassed.
Brian: I was once corrected by a caller that Robert Odongkara wasn’t a rugby player but a goal keeper. I felt so “dense” but I acted like it was a mistake. hehe
Malaika: They have all been so amazing. But I have to say that the second time we hosted Irene Ntale was soooo much fun. She was, for lack of a better word, Unchained! Also when Bobi Wine came through. That was ballistic.
Brian: We once hosted an artiste who could not sing their song. She did not even remember the words of her song…I was embarrassed on her behalf.
Malaika: Every Super Star Friday. Hahaha but honestly I think it is when Bobi Wine came. It was my 1st time to meet him and he was such an awesome person.
Brian: I was not starstruck per se because I had interviewed him several times and we go to the same gym but it was very refreshing to talk to Bobi Wine beyond music and appreciate the politician he has become.
Most elusive guest
Brian: Someone should tell President Museveni to stop dodging our calls.
Malaika: Still is…. waking up by 4am everyday. I have never been a morning person. But thank God I love my job.
Brian: We came with an audience that was used to experiencing us on TV but very soon we will have something for them too.
Malaika: Once in a while we hang out, but our schedules are hectic. Plus Brian is a family man, I have to respect that.
Brian: Not alot but every time we decide to have a meal or drink together, it’s a mutually beneficial and amazing time.