Like most members of Generation Y, 30-year-old Kelvin Leung Kai-ning is good with computers. With an entrepreneurial mindset and a passion for what he does, Leung has transformed himself into a trend expert – on sports shoes, gadgets, music and games – and landed the job of disc jockey on Metro Radio. He is currently the host of three programmes – Guo Yu Li, All-Star Flag Store and Three Mouths, a programme on cutting-edge gadgets and trends.
What were your interests while growing up? Did they contribute to your choice of a career? I loved sneakers. I opened my own shoe store with friends when we were studying in a university in Toronto. We began trading online on eBay but as the business grew, we got our own shop. The key to success is selling items that are rare. We sold only special edition and limited edition sneakers. I also loved computers and surfing the internet. I spent one summer playing the online game Shadowbane and made cash out of it by selling the coins and treasures that I collected. These experiences exposed me to youth trends and equipped me with knowledge of different topics which came in handy when I hosted radio programmes.
How did you get started as a radio programme host? I participated in a talent show [in Canada] hosted by my university and a radio station. I lost but I later got an offer from a Cantonese radio station in Toronto. I began with reporting transport updates. It was a no-pay task and nobody enjoyed it but I didn’t care. All I wanted was more exposure so I gobbled up all the transport updates that I could get. I picked up what others didn’t want. My hard work soon paid off. Soon I was given my own programme, then I got programmes in the morning, afternoon and at night. And I had to sleep at the radio station.
What was the turning point in your career? I returned to Hong Kong during the summer of 2008 for a holiday and was given the chance to interview for a copywriter’s post at Metro Radio. I considered it a huge step in my career as I got to work for a huge Chinese market like Hong Kong. Although the job meant staying away from the microphone, I still embraced it dearly. The best thing that happened in my career was that I waited only four months before I was given a break. To make full use of the chance, I worked real hard. I get to meet new people everyday and I have a lot to learn. I am alert 24 hours a day looking for the latest bits of interesting information to entertain my audience. Who inspired you to aim higher? Every person I interview or work with brings me inspiration. Their words have a huge effect on me. I always think about what they say and what I could do better. For example, when my boss asks me why I am working so slowly, I may think that I am already hard at work but if he thinks I need to do more, I will spend less time sleeping to get the job done. I have my own standard to maintain. I give only my best to the audience.
What do you love about hosting a radio programme? I really enjoy answering phone calls from listeners. It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing they are listening and I am not just talking to a microphone. I also find it rewarding that I can amuse them by sharing with them interesting facts and stories.
What is your motto in life? Don’t hesitate to take the extra mile when it comes to work. If you love your job, you will have no problem doing more. Some people work for money and others work because they love their jobs. I am lucky to belong to the second group.
What are your goals? I think I can be a live radio programme host but, at the same time, I am open to trying other things. Television and opening sneaker stores are two possibilities.
How do you balance work and family life? I am always looking for ideas and information to share with my listeners. For me work is not only done in the office. I work when I read a book or talk to a person. Because of my heavy workload, I carry a lunch box everyday, but for dinner I insist on cooking or going to a proper restaurant. I have to reward myself. Even if I am busy, I still find time to catch up with friends and stroll on the beach.
What is your advice for people who want to be a radio host? Expect a difficult start. It requires tremendous interest if you want to make it. The income is not steady and this puts off a lot of people, so it really depends on how interested you are. A radio host needs to have a distinct point of view and be assertive. Many people think they have what it takes to be a host because they like music or they love to talk, but it is much more than that. Content is crucial. Before I play a song, I do an in-depth research on it and try to add value to what I tell my listeners. It’s the same thing with news reporting. Always give your audience something extra.