Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Return of The Robster

Robin Chivazve (aka Robbie Rob) is known for many things ÔÇô his undeniable ability to rock the party when he’s behind the decks, his caustic, no nonsense take on issues when he’s on air, and his unmistakable love for cars, especially BMWs.

Such is the man’s love for beemers that it seems out of the question to imagine that he’s ever driven any other model.

His first ever car was a fourth hand BMW gusheshe (325i), which he affectionately refers to as The Brown Hornet. Over the years he has risen through the ranks, driving the BMW 318, 320, 330i, 330 convertible, and the 545i until most recently, when he got the ultimate beast: the BMW X5.

“I love cars, and, yes, I especially love BMW. I’m always thinking of buying a new car. But I don’t have money. Eish!” says Robin.

And the man does work hard. His typical day kicks off at 5am, and he is behind the mic at Duma FM studios from 6 to 9 am, where he hosts the Big Kahuna Breakfast. He then handles his Duma FM consultancy obligations until lunch time, after which he attends to his events management company, Ventura.

But Robin goes way further than that. Rewind to 1999, when Robin’s voice started dominating morning radio in Botswana.

At the time, Robin was the host of the Big Kahuna Breakfast at Yarona FM. Those were the days when radio was still in its infancy. Together with the likes of Luzboy Seboni, Tumie Ramsden, and Big Duke, Robbie Rob played a major role in establishing Yarona FM as a household name.

After seven years behind the mic, Robin finally stepped away and took on a more mature role as Yarona FM’s Sales and Marketing Manager.

“It was very challenging and I had to adjust very fast. I now had people working under me. I had sales targets to reach, clients to service, budgets to handle. It was not easy, but I made it happen,” says Robin.

It was then that Robster started paying much more attention to honing his skills and knowledge of the business aspects of radio. His two-year stint as Sales and Marketing Manager allowed him to develop into one of the rarest, most mature radio talents in Botswana, both on the mic and in business. That experience would prove invaluable in later years.

In 2009, after 10 years at Yarona FM, Robin bade farewell to the radio station. He wanted to concentrate on his fast growing business, Ventura, which he co-owns with his wife.

But that was not the end of Robin’s roller coaster love affair with radio. He had hardly settled at Ventura when a consulting opportunity emerged at Duma FM. He never looked back.

“It’s almost 2 years since I joined Duma FM as a consultant, and I have to say I am pleased with the results. I watched Duma FM going through subtle changes. With a bit of innovation and patience, we have transformed Duma FM into a credible, highly respected source of news, interviews and entertainment. Hence the catch-phrase “more talk, more music”, says Robin.

The greatest challenge for Robin was to position Duma FM in a space where they could compete with more established radio stations like Yarona FM, Gabz FM and RB2. Robin likens his responsibilities with those of a football manager, whose job is to strike the intricate balance between playing a brand of soccer that is appealing and acceptable to the fans, the players, and the shareholders.

“Managing everybody’s expectations can be a nightmare. But I do consulting the same way I handle my duties as a club DJ. I give people a unique blend of what they want. Nobody likes to be force fed, but sometimes it has to be done. Ultimately, no one is bigger than the brand. While we are sad to have lost some big names at Duma FM, we maintain that our business model is less dependent on individuals, but rather emphasizes on the overall strength of the brand,” says Robin.

Surprisingly, Robin hates waking up in the morning. But somehow the negative energy evaporates as soon as he enters the studio. Nobody can deny the fact that Robin was born to be behind the mic. The man just loves radio.

Things are looking up on the Ventura side as well. The company has coordinated major events in Botswana’s entertainment calendar, including the annual Mascom National Derby in Maun, as well as the Big Brother welcome home parties for Zeus and Ms P.

Robin believes you have to love what you do to be successful.

“Business in general is tough, and the entertainment industry is no exception. Many people falsely believe there’s easy money in entertainment. The trick is not to aim for money alone. Rather focus on success. That way you create a culture of excellence that forces you to be meticulous in your duties. Aim to please. Aim for beauty. The money will come eventually,” says Robin.

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