Unathi Nkayi returns to being a 'radio girl' after three-year break

Unathi Nkayi says her new slot will be authentically her. / Nick Boulton
Unathi Nkayi says her new slot will be authentically her. / Nick Boulton

Unathi Nkayi is going back to her first love - radio - after a three-year hiatus.

The self-proclaimed "radio girl" is set to make her comeback on Kaya FM on March 2.

She will take over Bridget Masinga's old time slot between 12 noon and 3pm, Mondays to Thursdays.

It took some convincing from Kaya FM managing director Greg Maloka in December to bring her out of her sabbatical. Maloka gave Nkayi her first radio job on youth radio station YFM 19 years ago.

Nkayi, an Idols SA judge, said Kaya FM is the perfect radio home for her as it was in tune with her digital ethos.

"The reason I stayed away from radio for so long is I felt that radio in SA had not caught up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution," she said.

"Then when I was less hateful towards radio and started consuming it again, I loved that Kaya, visually and digitally, it was on par with what it was giving us on radio.

"That was so sexy and seductive to me because I'm a radio girl - that's my first love. I watch the Howard Sterns of this world and so forth. I wanted that for SA and Kaya is giving us exactly that."

Maloka said he went with Nkayi for the job because she wasn't merely "flavour of the month".

"We are very excited to have the right woman for the job, who has ticked so many boxes for us with ease," Maloka said.

"We love long-term relationships at Kaya. it's always very difficult to do those 'flavour of the month' things - a person just popular and with influence for a period. What we always look at is what's going to work for the next three years."

Nkayi said: "Three hours into a strategy session two weeks ago Greg said to me - because we met 19 years ago when I was young I was wearing dirty All-Stars and stuff with holes - 'you can't always arrive like you did on your radio show on YFM'.

"But both of us agreed there is no such thing as a bad day on radio. We are of service, this is our purpose . I can't arrive in my onesie because of the digital era."

Nkayi was last on the airwaves on Metro FM breakfast in 2017 with Glen Lewis.

Nkayi said listeners can expect a lot of inspirational content, travel and music on the show that aims to provide a bridge between the younger and older generation.

"The show is authentically me; I have spent 19 years in front of South Africans, so it starts there. The energy I'm bringing is that we are inspired and we are inspiring others, pushing black excellence and being unapologetically African," Nkayi said.

"Expect music from across the continent. I'm obsessed with 'firsts'... what we can learn from the experienced, the extraordinary, what are we pushing as Africans and digitally."

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