Isaac Katende, alia Kasuku, is a radio and TV host, at Dembe FM and Spark TV. He is perhaps one of the most controversial radio presenters in the country. Nicolas Akasula shares the good, and the bad about him.
How do you describe yourself?
I am a straight foward person.
Why do people call you Kasuku?
Kasuku is a Luganda name for a parrot. It’s a unique type of bird that repeats what it hears. At the time I was starting out as a radio presenter, I reported stories the way I observed them. This is where the name Kasuku was derived. When I adopted it, it sounded unique.
Some people find you controversial. Is it true?
This confirms that I am doing my job. When you do something that attracts debate, it means you are no ordinary person. I actually appreciate people’s feedback about my work. It keeps me going stronger.
What about those who think you are arrogant?
I don’t really care. Those who say so, do not understand what this industry looked like 12 years ago. Entertainers, celebrities and socialites used to do work which was never subjected to public scrutiny. There was so much unprofessionalism back in the day. So when I sought to change the status quo, people branded me arrogant. Journalists who were not ‘arrogant’ like they claim, were stepped on and beaten.
What would you have been if you were not a journalist?
I actually wanted to become a priest. But when I joined high school, I was too argumentative and I thought I would make a very good lawyer. At university, I pursued Mass Communication. That is how I ended up in media.
Are you married?
I live with someone
What does your partner make of your job?
With radio and television, there must be a character sold to the viewers. I respect women a lot. I told her there is a huge difference between my personality and the character I am on air. She understood this.
What is your worst moment?
The time when some people wanted me off air, last year. My disappointment was not the petition they drafted to have me sacked, but the betrayal therein. People I considered to be friends wanted to use my error to end my career. Friends are supposed to correct and guide in case of a mistake, not to backstab their own.
How did you overcome the challenge?
Those are challenges we face as journalists. That too came to pass. The beauty about it is that those who trolled me were masqueraders in the music industry.
Are there artistes that like you?
The people we are dealing with are users. However, there are people I have mutual conversations with, who I think are somewhat sober such as David Lutalo, Bebe Cool, Chameleone, Jacobs Nsaali, Chris Evans, Ssenga Justine Nantume, Kato Lubwama, John Ssegawa and others.
Who are you favourite media personalities?
I like Tamale Mirundi, Drake Ssekeba, Mark Ssali and Joseph Kabuleta. All of them are not pretentious. They tell facts even when it hurts.
Any message to journalists?
Remain professional. Don’t compromise the trade. Lifestyle and society reports can perhaps be exceptional. But people, who cover news, politics and business, should report facts. I know people who sacrifice their careers and professional ethics, to cover stories of politicians and dubious people. Please keep this job alive, like our predecessors did. I see journalists at press conferences shying away from asking the tough questions because they don’t want to miss out on or facilitation. This is a very dishonourable act.
People think I have five houses. Others think I have bundles of money tucked away in the safe, where we keep picking. Everyday, outside Spark TV studios, I find a person waiting for me, to give them money to solve their problems.
When I won the first radio and television academy award in 2013. That is the moment my career took off. I felt like I had reached a mountain top. Another moment is when I celebrated five years of the Talk and talk show’.
What are your hobbies?
These days I prefer staying home and sleeping, listening to music, or going out watch a match.
What’s your favourite dish?
Rice and meat.
What’s the best thing about being Kasuku?
If I want to get somewhere, I easily reach there.
And the challenges?
People perceive you of something you’re not, and you have to live up to that.
There are people who think I have like 5 houses, others think we have bundles of money, and in fact every day outside the Spark TV studios, I literally find a person waiting every day for me with their problems to talk to me about every day
Can you cook?
I won’t delve.
What are your core values?
I won’t delve.
When was the last time you happened to be nice to someone?
I won’t delve