Popular radio personality Damon Beard celebrates his 25th year anniversary at East Coast Radio.
He’s a radio presenter, voice artist, master of ceremonies, brands ambassador and the owner of Man International. This, combined with his long list of achievements and ever-evolving career make him a true veteran within the South African entertainment industry.
Prompt Side got to chat to the man himself!
Hi Damon. Thanks for chatting to us at Prompt Side, and a big congrats on your 25th year anniversary at ECR!
Tell us a little more about how it all started?
Thank you so much. I had been traveling abroad for three years and when I got back, a friend asked me if I’d talk to her students and their parents about the pros and cons of taking a gap year to travel as opposed to studying straight away.
It was at that event I was asked to audition for RPN (as it was known then) and although I turned down the invitation to audition three times as radio wasn’t something I really wanted to do, eventually my folks persuaded me… and that was 25 years ago and the start of my radio career.
What is the most exciting part about being a radio personality?
No day is ever the same …and I love the excitement of being live. You also get to meet some incredible people and attend some amazing events.
What are some of the challenges you face in the radio industry despite your extensive experience?
Anything can go wrong … and when it does, you just need to be able to talk and do so without sounding stressed…
You are known for your consistency and generosity towards giving back to the community. What has been the most memorable project you’ve undertaken over the years?
A few years back – I received a letter from a 12 year old girl who had been taking care of her two brothers who were 11 and 9. They had been abandoned by their parents at a shopping centre and all this young girl asked for was a bag of cement. There had been quite a lot of rain at the time and she was worried their mud house would collapse. With some unbelievable sponsors, we built her and her brothers a house and filled the cupboards with food. It was absolutely unbelievable.
Can you tell us a little more about the ‘Water Share Project’?
East Coast Radio wanted to make a difference in the lives of people who didn’t have water, so we asked our listeners to assist us by bringing sealed, bottled water to the radio station.
We were absolutely overwhelmed with over a million litres of water that we received and we’re now in the process of distributing it to areas in KZN that need it most.
How do you disconnect from work life?
I gym every morning and do boxing, surf whenever I get the chance or just spend some time with my dogs.
What would be one thing that would surprise people to learn about you?
Perhaps that I had the most incredible fear of flying and to overcome it, I signed up to do my pilot’s license.
Who would you say has been the biggest role model or had the most influence on your career?
Definitely my parents. I lost my Mom in 1991 and I lost my Dad just over a year ago.
While they were in my life though, they were unbelievably supportive and I couldn’t have asked for more encouragement from two people who believed in me more than anything else in the world.
New Media technologies are favouring more online time, and access to the internet is strengthening each day. Would you say that traditional radio is slowly dying?
I don’t think so… yes, there’s a lot of competition but I think listeners will always want to switch on to someone they enjoy listening to?
If there was one thing you could change about your life right now, what would it be and why?
Nothing to be honest. I’m really content with my life as it is at the moment.
What’s next for you professionally?
I have a couple of super exciting things I’m working on in media – but can’t say too much as yet. I also opened my own B and B last year and that’s going really well. Apart from that, I still have my Man International and SA Dreamgirl shows too.
Any advice for those aspiring to get into radio or the entertainment industry in general?
It’s not easy getting into radio and there’s a lot of competition – so you really need to have a passion for what you want to do and be prepared to work your way up from the bottom…
Damon has just opened his own Bed and Breakfast in Ballito. Check out: www.23elizabeth.co.za
Stay updated by following him on social media!
Ladies Night Page: