Veteran radio presenter Tshepo Ntshole was at the right place at the right when the Bostwanian government liberalised the country’s airwaves and allowed for private radio stations for the first time in 1999. Two private radio stations were being set up at the time and she was asked to come in for voice trials for both the stations.
Tshepo says, “I got callbacks and offers from of them but ended up going for the adult contemporary station as I felt I was mature enough to handle the audience. A year and a half later, I got fired and got picked up by the other. It is quite the story if you think about it but I guess it was all in the plan. I’d always had a profound love for music and storytelling, and this was a perfect environment to nurture both.”
Now boasting of a 17-year-old stellar career Tshepo left a degree in marketing to pursue her passion. At a time when female presenters have always been in the background in Botswana, she broke the glass ceiling through sheer assertiveness and confidence. Soon enough, her loyal followership that could not be ignored by the powers that be.
“You have to be thick-skinned, don’t take things personally and know your audience and relate to them on their level. Be authentic, be believable and be interested. That’s how you break the glass ceiling.”
“I went from weekend radio, mid-morning radio, to breakfast and ended my radio career hosting and anchoring a drive time slot, which even now is quite an achievement for a female radio presenter. You have to be thick-skinned, don’t take things personally and know your audience and relate to them on their level. Be authentic, be believable and be interested. That’s how you break the glass ceiling,” she adds.
After being a radio host for several years, curiosity enabled Tshepo to seek newer horizons. She quit radio in 2004 to establish Sixpence Management, an events company. She then ended up producing and managing a few of the country’s big events until she was called back to her first radio station in 2006. She continued with the events company on the side and only last year did she quit radio once and for all to really focus on setting it up to be a concrete and tangible company.
She informs, “I am currently also building another startup around Media – TV & Publishing and this is truly where my heart lies! The art of storytelling is such a big thing for me. I had an epiphany a little while ago – I have been telling stories through radio for the longest time and then told stories through events, now I get to tell stories through a visual medium. Storytelling is in my blood and I think the light bulb switched only recently.The dots connected in such an amazing way.”
“The more you grow, the greater the responsibility and it can be daunting.”
Entrepreneurship has allowed her the time and freedom to make the right decisions. Time and freedom to be as creative as she possibly can in building her brand and identity. The ability to motivate others is also very empowering. All this is combined together with a great responsibility to not take any of it for granted. She says, “The more you grow, the greater the responsibility and it can be daunting.”
Entrepreneurship has allowed her the time and freedom to make the right decisions.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, she says, “If it excites you and makes your soul dance, pursue it with all you have. Be very patient and do it over and over and over again until you get it right because there is no way you won’t get it right if you keep at it.”