By Puseletso Matenche, Zikhona Masala & Sam Raboroko
Activate chats to one of 5fm’s new up and coming DJs and former Rhodent Robin Stuart Vember.
Born and bred in Cape Town, most people know him as Rob and will attest to his charismatic personality. His friends refer to him as “dedicated, focused and light-hearted, but cannot suffer fools.” Vember, a former Smuts boy, has always aspired to be in the world of radio. After ample time spent doing research and finding out about what Rhodes had to offer, Vember’s future was all mapped out. Rhodes Music Radio (RMR) grabbed Vember’s attention and under former programming manager, Mike Smurthwaite, Vember grew to love radio and challenge himself. Vember attempted to break the record for the longest radio broadcast recorded worldwide in 2006. Although this was not confirmed by the Guinness World book of Records, as he never submitted the material, Vember still holds the longest broadcast in Southern Africa with 126 hours 15 minutes overall.
Vember has, however, moved on to even bigger and better things. Towards the end of 2006, during the third year of his BJourn (TV) degree, he got an offer from one of Cape Town’s well-known radio stations, Heart FM. Rob took up the offer and graduated with a BA degree majoring in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics. “My biggest regret has, by far, been not completing my BJourn degree and leaving Rhodes as suddenly and unexpectedly as I did. However, it is bittsersweet because I am doing what I want to do career-wise,” said Vember. He jokes that perhaps one day when he has achieved all that he has set out to do, the Rhodes Journalism department will award him with an ‘Honourary BJourn’ degree as opposed to the customary Honourary Doctorate degree.
Vember’s biggest break yet has come more recently when he received an offer from 5fm where he is currently doing weekend shows on Saturday and Sunday 2pm to 5pm. “I’ve only been on 5fm for three weeks and it’s super cool, professional, lots of fun and awesome,” he said.
Only 23 years old Vember has had a very short but very successful career on radio. This is not the limit for him, rather it is the start of a new adventurous experience as he makes a life in Johannesburg. Vember is currently focusing on his radio career but would love to also venture into TV production in the near future. “Radio is all about hard work, dedication and of course loads of fun but if you are in it simply for the fame then there is no hope for you in this industry,” he said.
Vember believes his honesty is what makes him unique. This is also the main reason why there is no distinction between the DJ and the Rhodes graduate in his case. “When I am on-air I speak as if I’m talking to one audience member because radio is very personal,” said Vember.
“Sometimes you can miss the social life but looking back I can acknowledge RMR as a stepping stone for my career,” said Vember, reminiscing about being a Rhodent.