“It’s more than a radio station, it’s a movement,” says K-Radio team

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“It’s more than a radio station, it’s a movement,” says K-Radio team Empty “It’s more than a radio station, it’s a movement,” says K-Radio team

Post  Sirop14 on Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:30 am

Tuesday 23 January 2018
“It’s more than a radio station, it’s a movement,” says K-Radio team
In this candid interview with TODAY, Aubrey Philoe and Travis Julienne from K-Radio speak of the reality of starting a business and its difficulties, and the controversy on social media about possible Arab and Russian financing, stating that they would be “rolling in a BMW and using jet planes if it was the case.”
by S. Marivel
You launched officially yesterday but people have been waiting since last year’s announcement concert you hosted in Victoria for the radio station to be on air. What has happened all this time?
Travis Julienne (T): We have managed to stay relevant during that time when we were preparing ourselves, which not a lot of companies can say they’ve achieved. It was like our relevance campaign, we stayed relevant for one whole year while we were setting up. Then when we finally got on air everyone was like, “Yes! Finally!” But we still wanted to take our time to get it right. We were not there yet.
K-Radio has been on air, so what is the difference between that and your official launch now?
T: We have been playing 24/7, the shows that we have been advertising are rolling in as planned… now the new step is that we are going commercial and we can play adverts. But then there are other things coming.
Care to reveal some of those things to come?
T: Of course! I think the time for hiding stuff is over! (laughs) One – our sound is going to get a lot better in the coming months. We are upgrading our current system to get the Radio Display System running. For now you only get it in Victoria, not Praslin or La Digue. But we want to get it everywhere.
Tell us more about the journey in setting up, and how that plays into the image of this ‘ease of doing business’ we think we have in Seychelles? Because it’s obviously not as easy as it looks…
Aubrey Philoe (A): It was a lot tougher than I thought. Being in radio was about pressing buttons and everything was there. It was easy. This, however, is running something from scratch, and we’ve learnt a lot. I think I can open up two more stations with how much I’ve learnt! (laughs)
Please do…
A: Well, it’s been tough but it’s great knowledge for me. I enjoy it. It feels good to be back on radio because it’s been nine months plus since we wanted to launch so it’s like a baby really, from its inception to taking nine months to be born. It’s been tough as hell, but it’s made us tough as nails!
T: It’s not easy opening up a business here. There are no guidelines on how to go ahead. They tell you how to set up the business but they don’t tell you day to day how to run it, how to not lose money, how to retain money for later, or how to get working capital. They teach you how to do your cash flow forecast but they can’t teach you how the market will affect it. That’s why it’s hard. The market itself in Seychelles is hard; you’ve got a lot of reluctant people who don’t want to learn or get involved so they make it hard but then again it makes you tough as nails. If we knew what we know now, it would have started sooner and would have been easier. We’ve made a lot of mistakes, massive financial mistakes. Now all is sorted.
Did you have to seek help from other stakeholders, partners, companies, or even other radio stations? How did that process go?
T: Honestly we went for help everywhere. We asked help from the business community, radio people, businessmen who have experience, but also people who have no experience in business but have the cash and were willing to help out when they saw us struggling. A lot of crowdfunding went into this and they know who they are and they’ve been a massive help. We don’t need to publicise everything. We also have a massive team here. Our Human Resources is amazing. She is a Godsend and if it was not for her we would not be here now. Aubrey is a good boss, he keeps the kids in line, and I guess my 20% of human resources have paid off because they respect me and things are getting done.
Many people are excited for K-Radio because it’s new and fresh; what to you is the most exciting thing about launching this radio station?
A: I think the hardship of this and actually getting there is the exciting thing. We have been waiting for nine months so going on air now is the greatest thing. Now that figures are falling in, this is even better. Even if it’s only SCR1, it’s still something.
T: I’d say it’s the market that excites me. Some big figureheads are calling us now, yet months ago they were wondering how we would pull this off. The partners want us to stay here, no matter the cost, we also want to stay for the long term. Many have come forward to support our movement. We have something to prove because we are a young team and a lot of people said that this was impossible. The biggest question was how we were going to make money. They even tried to sway the market to tell them not to support us. “If you want to support them, you’re supporting a dying cause,” they would say. But then the market learned for themselves. They’ve known us for years; Aubrey on the Breakfast Show for years, and when I came in, they felt they could trust me.
It’s safe to say K-Radio has some influence already within the community. How do you feel you can influence youths and older people who think that nothing can be done so they just sit back and accept things as they are?
A: I’ve got one hashtag for you; it’s #KGeneration. That’s my hashtag.
T: The #KGeneration is the hashtag we are using to show that we can create a movement and to show that everybody can attach themselves to this. If you check social media, you will see a lot of people saying they are #KGeneration. This radio station is not about Aubrey and myself, it’s about showing the country that we can do something people may think is impossible. Especially in a time like right now when everyone is trying to make money and we are here trying to help others show that something can be done even when there is no money. So now imagine when there is money.
Speaking of money, following MNA Flory Larue’s question on Facebook about who the financiers and people behind K-Radio are, people got very upset and a controversy ensued. Questions about political affiliations and even Arab or Russian ownership and financing came up. What do you have to say on this issue?
T: Aubrey, I want to hear your side of this story…
Before you dive in, are you willing to state on record who is financing this project and who are the people behind it? You say you have a great team…
T: Of course, the thing is there is nothing to hide! If you go to the Registrar, you will see two names on Kreol Entertainment – Aubrey Philoe and Travis Julienne. We are the owners. Financing – we’ve been to meetings and had help from the banks…
A: One bank to be more specific. And it’s not even a bank, it’s a financial institution.
T: He (Aubrey) put his own property as collateral for this project. So people who say we have Al Qaida financing us – I mean, what? Even Russians, are you serious? If we had Russians backing us I’d be rolling in a BMW! We are 100% Seychellois. I have Kreol Ad; I have Development Bank of Seychelles knocking on my door every day because my other company has been injecting money into this company. You get me? I’ve sent them letters explaining we’re in a new venture, that I’m trying to prove something… they have been super helpful in this process. For people on Facebook to be linking us to Russians or the Sheikh… they say we are linked to him because of the K in K-Radio – K for Khalifa you see, but if that was the case I would have a private jet by now!
A: People adhere too much to the binary. Just because some people did it this way, does not mean we did it that way. We did not go into this with a pot of gold, we worked hard. If we don’t work, no money! This is our sweat, tears, blood, properties, unpaid loans, and properties, everything to make this happen. We believe in this.
T: The financial institution that helped us went into this knowing that these are two guys who have a future in this. That’s why it was worth the risk. You can even go to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) and see - we have one of the biggest and most precise business plans, according to them, to hit their table in 2017. It was like a booklet, it had to be printed at Printhouse in four copies, and it cost us a lot of money. and when it hit their table they (SIB) couldn’t believe it. Our manual was the answer, to government questions and bank questions.
A: I will address the political side of it - people have said there are political figures backing this but according to the law, you can’t own a radio station. We do not adhere to that and we will always remain neutral. People with political tendencies will try to see if we try to crushing government, or try crushing the other side… we don’t do that. We are all professionals and we are qualified for this to be fair and balanced. But our aim is to entertain and then the rest will come.
Under its movement of #KGeneration, will culture and arts be part of the things you promote on your platform?
A: KGeneration itself is a movement and anyone can be a part of it. It’s about doing the impossible, so long as you have a talent. We want to show the good side of things. We’re tired of people saying the youths are like this or like that, and we are tired of people saying Seychelles is so on and so forth. Before radio we were involved in a lot of things: sports teams, prize-giving ceremonies, the Sustainable Energy Fair which we participated in… we want to be in the community and tell them that you can do it. Don’t even let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. A lot of people out there want you to fail. So it’s a culture of its own, because in Seychelles when we think of culture we only think of moutya and putting on fires since Seychelles has a culture that was made. We can make the culture ourselves then, it’s more than a radio station – it’s a movement.
T: Seychelles is a very young nation. When we were being discovered, others had ships and we had nothing because we needed to be discovered. We still can build things and evolve in our culture. There are not a lot of places around the world that can build something in these times, but we can show the world that we have moutya, we speak English, French and Creole perfectly. We don’t only have bouillon blanc, we have a fusion of cultures too and we want to give this its proper place in media. Like the music we play – lanmizik timen. We choose the best of the best and we play it abroad. You will hear it in Australia too. So the music is getting there. But if we keep it closed in a box like we did for years, it’s not going to work.
Can you give us some insight on which programmes and themes you will cover?
A: It’s very hip and relevant and we want to remain relevant. We will not change our mandate. No matter how many people listen to us, we will stay the same and these are our true people. We play new music all the time and we have some throwbacks to add some depth to the playlist. We have main shows too.
T: We have moved away of the era of more music and less talk. Now radio is about entertainment, about being youthful. In the US you see them apply satire to politics but there we want to use that kind of idea but base it on entertainment, kind of like Virgin Entertainment.
You have been in radio before so this has prepared you for this journey…
We started this at Pure FM but it did not work out. We had that little book since 2013. When Pure FM started we wanted to revamp it. He was tasked in 2012 to revamp Paradise FM and the first thing he did was bring me in. By January 2013, we were given the concept “Senpleman Sesel”. We ran with it! It was everywhere, even when there was traffic on the road people would take pictures and say “Senpleman Sesel” as caption. Everything in Seychelles became “Senpleman Sesel”. After a while we decided to do our own thing.
A: To quote myself, I said something like “If we had our own radio station we would not put up with this,” and Travis said “Why don’t we?” And the first thing I said is “Are you crazy?” But then the very next day Travis came with a piece of paper and asked, “How much is an advert?” (laughs) We were crazy about it but we took it step by step; from licence to other paper work and it went on like this for one year, getting one piece of paper at a time, one procedure after another.
Your story is not just hard work but also originality and hard work….
A: And love and passion also! This is passion. If I was setting up a hospital and went through what I went through, I would have quit a long time ago. I love radio and I can’t explain it. I’m a total radio freak! I’m so happy that today we are starting this – it’s live, people are responding and we are taking the positive and constructive comments. But when we see unnecessary comments and know what we’ve been through, it’s discouraging.
As the wise words say, haters gonna hate…
T: And players gonna play!
What message do you have for those who see this and feel inspired by your story but they don’t know where to get started in their own projects? There are also many people who don’t necessarily have passions and if they do, they are not sure how to turn it into something; what message do you have for them?
A: It’s a lot to explain, but to cut it short we need to build a culture of self sufficiency. We have a culture of being employed. Of course we need employees otherwise we wouldn’t have people to help things run but there are people who possess these powers but just don’t know it yet. Like myself, I may not be a perfect example, but I was just moving up a ladder and I was fine with it.
T: Yeah, he was institutionalised (laughs).
A: But once you go into it, it may not be fun at first because money doesn’t always start coming right away, but you have to find out what you love and do it. It’s all about perseverance. If you doing what you love you will find a way. You have to add passion to it. If you are going for the money, you will have a problem. I am saying this by experience. Sometimes we got lost in the figures and had to remind ourselves of why we are doing this. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve learned something and you can take that on to the next level and the next thing.
T: My final word is simple. We’ve been through an educational system where it shows you that you should learn one thing, there are no alternatives. If this mindset does not change, we won’t have evolution in business. We will always have monopoly, no competition. Then the market will suffer, and will be unhealthy and government will suffer too. We need a market that’s willing to let the youth, to let the new blood in. Let them bring something, innovate something, create something! This needs to start in school and the ministry of Education is starting to change that. It’s not too late. Now it’s up to the community and the businessman to understand that their legacy is not only in the businesses they’ve started but in the businesses they’ve helped or the things they’ve financed. Overseas they have things like “Shark Tanks” where businesses finance ventures. Money makes money so you need businesses to help each other out.
We also need to stop this unbelief in our nation. Believe in Seychellois. We need to believe in our own. The only way we are going to take this country back as our own in terms of business is by recognising our own talents. Pay talents are talents, they are not employees. Pay them well.
A: I also want to say a big thank you to everyone; from family and friends to some business people.


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