Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Why did you decide to go into the radio broadcasting field?
There’s an interesting story behind the decision. I was working for Samho-Nike Korea as a developer during the time. I was hoping to go into marketing and business, and Samho gave me that opportunity. While I was working there, my initial impression of being cold and assertive gradually peeled off, and my coworkers started to notice my true colors, the colors that my friends refer to as “queer” and “bizarre.” So, one day, a senior co-worker asked me to apply for a position at the radio station because he believed that my character would fit perfectly in the entertainment field. So, basically that’s why I applied.
Did you have previous experience?
Not at all. I never imagined myself working as a radio DJ, but I did picture myself becoming a singer!
How did you get picked for this job?
My producer was looking for a female who was a native English speaker, yet had some knowledge of the Korean language. I guess I fit that profile.
There is an air of glamor with show business work. Is having a radio show what you expected it to be?
Not at all. I must clarify that fame was not, and will never be, the reason that I chose this position. It’s a lot of work, and many times, one must expect that the audience will never see the effort that one puts into this field of work. They only get what they “hear.”
Who is the primary demographic that listens to your program?
Foreigners and non-foreigners that listen to the radio on their way to work. Also, many Koreans that are interested in learning English.
It is ironic you are doing a radio show in English with a vast majority of listeners who use English as a second language. How does that shape your show’s format?
I must cater to both groups, and I have to say, it’s difficult to do so. I receive complaints when I use too much Korean, but then again, knowing that so many Koreans are listening to the program, I must use the language. Many of our text messages are in Korean, believe it or not, so it’s hard to translate ALL those text messages for our foreigners because some of the expressions just doesn’t convey what the sender was implying.
Does Busan eFM have monitors who listen and approve of content? If so, what are some subjects you avoid on the show?
Yes, we do. I must avoid stating opinions. I ALWAYS need to be neutral, and that itself is a challenge.
Who would be your dream guest?
Hmm…I don’t know. Maybe Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, or India Arie? They are my favorite singers.
Do guests ever contact you to be on the show?
Yes, they do. But most of the time, we ask our guests to be on the show.
What was your best show?
There is never a best show. I always make mistakes and keep telling myself that I need to improve. It’s a never-ending roller coaster.
How about your worst?
Maybe my first week? I was very nervous.
Do guests get nervous before being on your show? If so, how do you calm their nerves?
Yes, they do…all the time. I just try being silly with them, you know, start cracking jokes here and there.
What kind of guests do you like to have on your show?
Someone that can take a joke. You can’t be too serious. I’m far from being serious —only when it’s necessary.
What percentage of your show is scripted?
It’s different every single day. Maybe about 65 percent? Believe it or not, there are many times when I just stop looking at the script.
What are people’s reactions when you tell them that you are a radio DJ?
I actually haven’t told too many people about my job. Many people know me from visiting the web site and sometimes by my voice. My friends seem to be supportive of my career, but thankfully, they don’t let it get to my head.
What is your future objective with this job? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I haven’t thought about it much. I’m just trying to get through one day at a time since each and every day is a challenge to me. Currently, there’s still a lot of improvements that need to be made, but eventually, I’d like to reach out to as many foreigners as possible.
How much time do you spend, on average, preparing for your show? Would it be easier if this show was purely for English listeners?
About 3-4 hours a day. There are a few minor areas that would be changed, but the difference wouldn’t be significant.
On your web site, do you read all of the posts? Are you allowed to reply?
Yes, I try to, at least. There might be one or two that I may have missed, but I try to read the posts almost every day. Yes, I am allowed. We save a lot of the messages to be replied back to on air.
What is the difference with your program compared to the other ones on your station?
We are an informative program. In other words, we try to provide news, tips, living guides, concerts, musicals and performances being held in Busan to our listeners.
Who decides what material will be on the program?
Overall, the producer decides what will be on the program and what won’t. I do have some say in the decisions that she makes, but she pretty much confirms everything.
What would you like to tell the listeners?
I’d simply like to say thank you to all of our listeners out there. The only reason why we’re so motivated to continuously find areas of improvement and to work harder is because we know we have at least one listener out there supporting our show and that one listener is all we need.
You can hear Petra in the mornings on 90.5 Busan eFM from 7 to 9.
*Update: Petra is now the Director of Public Relations for Busan Haps Magazine (9/2/2010)