Chief Operations Officer at MTN’s Commercial Radio Station for 2013 Kaya FM; Linda Reddy shares with us her wisdom as we sat down to talk about her and her career.
Kaya FM’s Linda Reddy – About LindaLinda started her working career as a packer at a Reggies toy outlet in her birth province of Kwazulu Natal. During those humble days Linda worked hard and when a colleague in the finance department was to go on maternity leave, Linda was approached by her seniors to be a stand-in. Linda worked consistently and smart, this caught the eye of her manager and she was offered the position permanently and her colleague redeployed to another division within the business.
Raised by a single mother Linda was determined to make a success of her life, although she could not afford to go study after she matriculated like all her peers, Linda was fortunate that she received support from the company she was working for and was able to enrol for distance learning. Based on her experience in the finance department she opted to study a BCom Finance Degree.
Linda moved to Blue Chip companies where she held various finance positions. A career in Radio was the furthest thing from Linda’s mind when one of the companies she was working for as a Financial Accountant was experiencing difficulties. Instead of jumping ship which would have been the easiest thing to do, Linda remained loyal to her Financial Director, and the result of the work stress forced her to take a time out and she was admitted into hospital due to a stress attack.
The much needed December break in 2006 required Linda to reflect and put into perspective what she wanted from life.
In February 2007 Linda went to see a recruitment agency and made it very clear that she was interested in either travel or media industry based positions. A day later the recruiter called Linda telling her there was a position for a Financial Director at Kaya FM.
Interviewed by then MD and exiting Financial Manager, Linda had no idea that Kaya FM would be her home for the next six years. Linda had her reservations about the success of her interview and had doubts questioning whether she was not senior enough for the role. Needless to say with all her self-doubt a few days later Human resources contacted her to make the offer, she was successful the candidate. It’s like radio chose her shares Linda and on the 7th May 2007 Linda started her first day at Kaya FM.
The Kaya FM we know today is a far cry from what Kaya FM used to be, with minimal systems in place for the small business it was then, with the support from the finance team and a clear strategy from the Station Kaya FM became the successful viable commercial radio station it is today. Operating for ten years prior Kaya FM hit the 1 million listener mark in a month of Linda joining, which only meant that Kaya FM was to grow from strength to super nova.
Linda outlines that there are not as many women in the business of radio today and that it certainly still is very male dominated in the boardrooms. As the COO these days she is the right hand of Managing Director Greg Maloka, and she ensures that Kaya FM is a well -oiled machine in that every operational aspect of the business runs smoothly.
The two leaders at Kaya FM are serious about nurturing young females into business savvy radio professionals, in all areas of the business.
Away from the station Linda is a wife and mother to a 21 year old daughter and a son currently in matric. Close to Linda’s heart are the words her mother often shared with her, that if you are able to make a difference in just one person’s life then you have lived a life worth living.
Linda- a born philanthropist has taken the words of her mothers and applied it to her life. She supports two youths with their daily needs in Kwazulu Natal through an orphanage and in Johannesburg she provides for the psychology treatments of a little girl that was raped by a family member.
It certainly reflects in the Corporate Social Investment projects that are implemented at Kaya FM that Linda is sincere about making an impact in the lives of those vulnerable in our communities, the Station changes lives daily through the programming content and events, and keeps Linda close to what she values most in life- making a difference.
A seasoned traveller, Linda enjoys what the world has to offer and has travelled to the East and West, and as a true city girl her favourite is New York City but that may soon change if what she has heard about the splendour of Hong Kong to be true as she has made plans to travel there in the near future.
On her recent trip to India Linda found treasure in a book form -The Memoirs of Ghandi and on her kindle Linda is reading the autobiographies of leaders from different eras like Steve Biko, Thabo Mbeki and Martin Luther King. She enjoys reading books on leaders that have contributed positively to the world.
Although the medium of Radio is instant generation X as the young people are called, look for instant gratification they need to take time to study. Linda cautions young people interested in getting into the business of Radio, to learn as much they can and to be prepared to start at the bottom, but above all she advises that respect for self and others is important for any industry one is looking to get into.