Open Mic Spotlight: Tim Zunckel

NYF’s Open Mic Spotlight spends a few minutes each week with prominent Grand Jury members who judge creative entries from around the globe, each Spotlight interview shares the insights of content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

New York Festivals International Radio Awards jury of award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are actively involved in creating the innovative content on radio today, their efforts have resulted in the 2018 NYF Radio Awards Finalists.

This week’s Spotlight interview features Tim Zunckel, Programming Consultant for
Connect South Africa. Tim is an award-winning creative programmer, problem solver and lover of audio and storytelling with a variety of experience in the radio, music and audio space. He loves creative ideas and innovation and  is passionate about developing talent. Tim is actively involved in radio training, coaching and consulting in South Africa as well as Africa.

New York Festivals: How did you get your start in the radio industry?

Tim Zunckel

Tim Zunckel: The airwaves in South Africa were democratised in 1994 and there was a wealth of new listening opportunity soon thereafter. My local University was licensed to broadcast and as a school student I fell in love with the ability to listen to people my age talking about things that affected me, playing the music I loved. I was hooked. My friends were hooked. It was literally something that changed our lives, the ability to listen to our own station.

When I went to university I applied and was lucky enough to be selected to work as a student volunteer. It’s a station I spent twelve years with, it launched my career and I am proud to still be associated with them.

New York Festivals: What was the turning point in your career?

Tim Zunckel: At a point I realised I was a radio enthusiast. I enjoyed working in radio but I was treating it like a hobby. It was a full time hobby but I wasn’t taking it seriously. I changed my approach to my on-air work, production, knowledge base and contact network. I started doing my own feedback sessions and kept accurate logs of times, guests, songs and events. Within in six months my game had changed. I was a professional operating at the next level. It was that process that built my foundation to being a radio programmer.

New York Festivals: Did you have a mentor, if so how did they help you achieve your career goals?

Tim Zunckel: No. And that is why I actively try and help anyone who seeks advice, directions and knowledge. In the South African context, empowering young people to become creative professionals is essential to ensuring a new generation of content creators. I work with selected individuals for selected periods of time to help them grow and achieve their career goals. I have been lucky to work with some talented individuals and have used this as a process to learn and engage.

New York Festivals: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Tim Zunckel: Invest in your own career.

Don’t wait for people to help you or give advice. Seek what you are looking for, chase it, ask questions, consider the problem and look for an answer. Be prepared to spend money on investing in equipment, courses, travel and the creative process. Self investing is never wasted.

New York Festivals: What creative projects are next for you?

Tim Zunckel: I work with the team at the University of the Witswatersrand at the the Wits Radio Academy and am the Director of Radio Days Africa. Radio Days Africa is a platform for engagement, debate, learning and connecting. We are currently in the planning phase for our 9th edition of RDA and am excited about being able to contribute to the African radio agenda through this process.

For more information on the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Program Awards or to view the 2018 Finalists please visit HERE.  For information or tickets for the 2018 Radio Awards gala taking place on June 18th in New York City, please visit HERE.

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