Luchi: the man behind the voice
If you are a Radio Phoenix listener then our personality of the week needs no introduction. Well, at least his voice needs no introduction. Luciano, better known as Luchi, is what you would call a regular on the radio scene. He is on air more often than not. And whether you catch him playing music, giving traffic updates or hosting live studio guests, one thing remains constant: Luchi is at home on radio.
In March this year, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Chapter rewarded his efforts by presenting him the Best Radio Presenter Award. He talks to iZambia in this exclusive interview:
iZambia: Tell us about yourself. Who is Luchi?
Luchi: I’ve never quite known how to talk about myself. I find it easier to let other people describe you and you just kinda agree with them on things that are true. I grew up learning about
being modest, so am modest about everything including my achievements, if you could call
them that. I am Tonga, first and foremost, and it shocks people when I tell them that because apparently Tonga’s have a look and mannerisms which I don’t have. I am the last born in a family of eight; my mother always wanted girls and she kept trying to have daughters and ended up with one girl and a bunch of boys...What was the question again who is Luchi? I am a radio presenter, big technology fan and a huge fan of Manchester United.
iZambia: When and how did you get into radio?
Luchi: I never wanted to be on radio when I grew up, I wanted to be a Lawyer and follow the footsteps of my uncle but I always loved music and I always had a strange taste in music. I blame it on my cousins who would play old school soul every other morning. I remember first hearing the D’angelo album Brown sugar and thinking blimey how is that song not on radio? But being
a shy, quiet guy – hard to imagine but I can be shy and quiet – I never imagined I’d ever be on
radio and do what the guys I used to listen to i.e Geshgroove and Tivo did. Then one day after my cousin Mark B.C came back from the UK, we were talking music and he was impressed with
my knowledge and how well I spoke so he asked me if I ever thought of being on radio. To cut
a long story short, I ended up at Choice FM where I originally went to meet Mark and little did I
know he had spoken to TiVo about giving me a shot and here I am today with a little help
from Gesh Groove as well. I always attribute where I am to the three of them.
iZambia: Describe a typical day
Luchi: I wake up at 5:45 am; look for my phone not to check on missed calls because no one ever calls me but to check on news feeds, the Gaurdian App is my favorite news App. I check on my twitter feed; bath and head out. I never have breakfast at home because if I’m not out of the house by 6:20 I will never make it in time for Traffic Watch at 7:50 am. Nine out of 10 times I will have interviews to conduct and programs to anchor scattered across the day. I prepare for each differently by reading a lot. I do a lot of research on the topics and it’s funny because when I started radio all I ever wanted to do was play music now it seems all I ever do is talk and interview people. I’m not a journalist though; I’m just an enthusiastic amateur, a host but not a journalist.
iZambia: What have been some of your career highlights?
Luchi: The biggest highlight for me wasn’t winning the only award I’ve ever won (MISA Award). I often joke that even if I was the only one taking part in a competition I’d never win! I think the biggest highlight was meeting and interviewing my favorite female artist, who happens to be Zambian too, Hill St Soul aka Hilary Mwelwa. She blew me away with her modesty and today I consider her as a big sister. I have had the chance to meet and interview some great people too; the truth is you are only as good as the guest you have. Wynter Kabimba was a great guest he said to me before we started “so you are the one I’m taking to” and at the end of our chat he said “not bad”. Maureen Nkandu was another good guest...thinking back to that interview, she was a really good guest. The list is quite long; Maureen Lilanda, Brenda Davis, Mumba Kapumpa and many more.
iZambia: What do you enjoy doing outside work?
Luchi: I’ve never been an outgoing nightlife type of person which surprises a lot of people. They always say radio presenters should always be out at night or at least that’s what many people expect. I prefer being home, the safest place my grandma used to say, so I read books. I love John Grisham novels; I guess somewhere deep down I always think one day I will end up in a courtroom. I do think though that Grisham’s lost a little of that edge he had with his writing now. I watch a lot of movies and I go for poetry.
iZambia: What advice would you give someone trying to get a career in radio?
Luchi: Read a lot, you need to be knowledgeable if you are going to go on radio. You also need to just be you; let your personality come through. It’s also important to listen to a lot of other presenters, I still listen to a lot of them and I still learn from them every day. I listen to Chi, Muuka, LBC, Thrill, Mitch etc. I don’t listen that much to South African radio but I listen to a lot of BBC, for me the BBC represents the best of broadcasting. I still listen to Gesh on Sundays, when I can. So listen to people in the industry and don’t ever think you have arrived; the thing with radio is you never ever arrive.