Behind the Mic with Carole Nicette ‒ radio producer/presenter |21 November 2022
‘You cannot allow your emotions to come out when speaking on the radio’
Having worked for 10 years with Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation’s Radyo Sesel, Carol Nicette is a catchy and well-known voice on the AM station with her popular shows. She shares her experiences and how she’s grown from when she started until now.
Seychelles NATION: How did your interest in radio start?
Carol: My interest in radio started in 2012 after I saw an advert for producers and journalists. So, I said why not try my luck. When I was younger, my mother told me that I liked to ask questions and so why not try and apply for a job at the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Before applying at SBC I worked for the judiciary as a court interpreter. So, the opportunity was there but I was not sure if I was going to get the job. I say this because at SBC there are a lot of professionals and people with a lot of experience. However, I tried my luck, I applied. When I applied in 2012 I was still working as a court interpreter, but eventually I received a letter inviting me for an interview. There were many questions during the interview done in all three languages. They asked if I was ready to take on a demanding and challenging job where there are possibilities of no weekends and no public holidays. Since I did not have kids, I thought it would be a good opportunity to prove myself. I was among the 15 who were eventually selected. I was overjoyed.
When I started, I got the chance to join the learning centre where I received training. Even though I did not have any notion about the job, I was able to learn the maximum I could during my time there. There, I studied radio, camera, sound, television, news report and short features. At the end of the day I chose to be a journalist, but after spending time at the radio during my training I enjoyed it and have stayed there until today as a producer/presenter. I also learned that many people in media started working at the radio. Radio provides the base for all media-related work, I think. Since 2012 until now 2022 I am a radio producer/presenter.
Seychelles NATION: It has been 10 years already. Tell me a bit about your work experience.
Carol: It has not been an easy road. There have been many challenges. When I started I did not have any children, but after some time I gave birth to my little boy. From there it became a bit more difficult because I had to balance work and family life as a young mother. I still have to deliver my job with professionalism. Very often you hear that people who work in the media have a lot of difficulty balancing the two. I have been able to do it thanks to the help received from my family members and for this I am grateful to them. I have to go to the inner islands, overseas, work night shifts including starting my work day at 4am; all these have not been easy at all. I can safely say that I tried my best to balance the two.
Despite the challenges in my job Icannot allow my emotions to come out when speaking on the radio. You need to know how to keep your cool and composure. You know, whatever happens in your life behind the mic should not reflect in what you say. In certain ways people look up to you, so you should continue to educate, inform and entertain them. As a presenter, at times you become a sponge and you absorb some of the concerns and situations people go through which makes you realise that as a person you have difficulties, but some people may be in a worse position than you. At times you have to change someone’s life with a smile or even with a song. What I do on the radio goes a long way in helping them.
Despite all these, I find the will to continue. After all, it is my show, with my name. So, I have to ensure that I maintain a radio that continues to inform and rest at par with what people want to hear. You have to remain engaged with the public.
Seychelles NATION: You specifically chose to work at Radyo Sesel and not Paradise FM. Why?
Carol: When I was doing my training I had the chance to work at Paradise FM as well. These are two different mediums. On FM it is different because of the DJing, the music and the entertaining. But I loved Radyo Sesel more. People used to say that the sound quality on the AM station is not that good, but it has improved drastically. This has been the best platform as I have been able to reach my audience. I work mostly with the youths and take on more of such responsibility. For example, one of the programmes I do for young people is called ‘Social Ills v Youth’. At times the youths like the fact that they have someone to be their voice and pass on their concerns. They say that even if they would voice out on social media platforms it would not that be as impactful as on the radio. In this regards, some of the groups I am involved in were very receptive in helping for such a programme.
I also do another programme called ‘Eksepsyonnelman Kapab’ which targets youth, young people and adults with a disability. The radio is another medium to make their voices heard and pass on their messages as they are a vulnerable group in society and do not know where to go to voice out their issues. This is the most difficult programme I do as I have to get myself to being me when I return to work because I have been living the situation of the person and at times I become very emotional. I even cry. It makes you want to quit as well, but I receive support from many people and it keeps me going.
Despite this, the radio has helped many people receive the help they deserve. For instance, some people called and told me they were willing to assist some people on a monthly basis. This is another aspect of what I do that keeps me going despite the difficulties. Therefore, the benefit I get is the satisfaction and knowing that I am making a difference in some people’s lives. I would say that it can be similar on FM but the subjects they touch do not necessarily push things to that level. It is more or less something that will engage someone to talk to you in the here and now, not really something long term.
I also do other programmes related to the environment. I like the environment, I like going on trails. I feel that mentally my job has an impact on me, but when I am in the nature I am able to take time and use it as a therapy and it allows me to clear my head. It also helps me to organise my topics for the week. I like to do this with my son. At times people think I am crazy when they see me talking to myself. I always walk around with a pen and a note book in my bag to jot down ideas whenever they arise in case I forget. I have learned that everything that happens around you can become a topic for the radio.
Seychelles NATIION: What are the qualities you think someone needs to become a radio producer/presenter?
Carol: There are many qualities. For me, it becomes easy as I am someone who has a lot of patience. You need to be patient in this line of work. For example, you may have a person who may cancel an interview at the last minute, especially during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic this happened a lot. Therefore, I had to be innovative and also be more creative. I needed to know how to pass on the intended message and I had to find access to these people.
Most importantly you need to love this job. This is because there is a time when you say you have had enough of this. But when you take a step back you realise that you are making a difference in people’s lives. So, you keep on going. You must also be able to work as a team. No man is an island. You cannot expect to simply come on the radio and talk. You need to learn and work with others. Also, you need to be ready to listen, be constructive and listen to the public. They will have their opinion of course. Perhaps the person may not be receptive to what you are saying, but you have to be professional in whatever you say or do. You must always be constructive, be courteous, tolerant and respectful towards the audience at all times. This will allow you to do better.
Another aspect which you develop as a radio producer/presenter is understanding the characters of different people. You need to realise that you have to understand the people you interview. You learn something new every day. At the end of it you look at things differently. Thus, you need to read every day in order to increase your knowledge through interaction research and develop with the fast paced world. The question is how do you remain relevant in this world where people have a lot of interests? How do my team and I get people to keep listening to us every day?
Seychelles NATION: How popular is the AM station?
Carol: I would say it is very popular. Lots of people listen to the AM station. We are currently second in the ratings and I can proudly say that we have evolved quite drastically from where we were. You will be surprised how many people listen to the AM station today. People at the taxi stand, in shops, in ‘pirate taxis’, everywhere people are listening to the AM station. So, we need to present different shows for the different groups that listen to us. Today people have choices. I do ‘Un Nouveau Jour’ from 6am to 10am. But I stay in the office until 11.30am. There are days that I do the ‘Sey Lunch’ programme from 10am until 2pm and sometimes from 2pm to 6pm I do the ‘LanbyansTropikal’ and also do ‘Sware’ from 6pm to 10pm. Different shows have different audiences, so you need to adapt. We also have production.
Seychelles NATION: Talk about your relationship with your audience throughout the 10 years.
Carol: When I started I was new, I could say that people welcome all new presenters very well. After some time, I enjoyed myself and many people commented that my radio voice is the same as my voice off mic. My parents listen to me a lot and people compliment me through them all the time. For me the more people do not know who I am, my face that is, the better it is for me because at times you do not know how and when to draw the line. When you are in public with your family, you need the boundary. But I am always ready to talk to the radio listeners. I get a lot of praise; people comment that “this girl talks a lot”. And this in a good way. This gives me the encouragement to continue to do better.
Seychelles NATION: What have you enjoyed the most during your time as a radio producer/presenter?
Carol: For me when we do live broadcast and roadshows. This is when you have the opportunity to go out of the office. The roadshows show to people that this is not an easy job. They see what we have to go through and it shows the synergy between the team. When they see you live they have more respect for you.
At times you may have to work on something but you don’t have the inspiration to put things on paper. Nowadays, when I leave the office, I leave work behind.
Seychelles NATION: Any last comments.
Carol: I have a message for the youth. Do not only think of the popularity and the advantages that come with the job, you have to be ready to take on the responsibilities and work hard. You need to know what you are talking about. Everyone has talents, but you need to have the vocation. When you do well people will like you. There are also other opportunities, like being MCs, doing consultancy work and even becoming moderators. There are opportunities.
Moving forward, something I have realised is that if you say you do not have work life balance, you will not. You will have to find the balance. Despite willingly wanting to give all in my work I need to keep in mind that I have a family. I need to be present for my family. I have missed important events with them. I felt sad but these are things we go through. These are some of the sacrifices we make for the job. At the end of the day, you feel happy knowing you have made a difference in people’s lives.