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Life Behind the Scenes at Kiss FM

Daniel Johnston moved to Pattaya in October of 2015 to work on the revamp of Kiss FM prior to its official launch that month. Unlike his father Steve (the station manager) Daniel had not worked on radio before but was eager to face the challenge and felt he had sufficient skills and knowledge of the industry to be a key player.

Having worked as a professional Disc Jockey since 2008 in Dubai of all cities, Daniel’s knowledge of current chart music was his mainstay when working in bars along Sheik Zayed Road and in Hotels such the world renowned Atalantis on Palm Jumeriah.

However, his education in music didn’t begin there – from before he was even a twinkle in his Dad’s eye, his father had been a Disc Jockey himself and later became a key player within the music industry. So for Daniel, music had been the food of his life and cultural experience from a very young age indeed.

In recent years before moving to Pattaya, he had travelled along the shores of the Greek island of Corfu Djing in Kavos and the lesser known village of Agios Stefanos in the north of the island, with a brief visit back to the UAE to a city called Fujairah. In those years Dan realised that the superstar lifestyle wasn’t really is cup of coffee (should be tea but he drinks so much of the other) and felt a need to fulfill his thirst for music in other ways. So when the offer came to work on the radio station, out of the limelight, he jumped at the chance. So off to the wonderful Land of Smiles he came, with high hopes of learning new skills and building a radio station that would satisfy the masses and develop musical tastes within this beautiful country.

He isn’t one of the radio stations presenters but rather takes the back seat in the public’s eye as far as Kiss FM’s listeners are concerned but “without Dan we just couldn’t have done it” Steve Johnston also the station’s Morning Kiss DJ has been known to say. So what does Dan do that is so important I hear you cry, or maybe not – well, his role is as the scheduler/producer of the station, simply put, means that everything you hear playing through your radio, phone or computer is his responsibility. The Radio Jocks themselves have some input with the choices of music and features in their shows but all music played out, adverts and the little bits in between ‘HEY YO DJ, TURN IT UP!’ are all under his “umbrella”.

So when we asked him how it was to begin with he just laughed;

“‘Starting a radio station from scratch, with just a playout programme, a handful of songs and only one presenter is tough going to say the least – especially when you are a virgin to the software itself. It took hours to put together a structure for playout and easily a month or two tweaking to get it to the level we are at now. Some weeks the hours were relentless and I put in 36 plus hour shifts just to get the sound right -with a little help from my friend the coffee bean! Adding extra shows – which was a constant at the beginning – increased the work load which forever evolved into greater amounts. This he says pushed him on to working insane hours just to keep on top of it all.

Was it worth it?

“So worth it! The challenges faced daily are such a buzz and there is never a dull moment. It helps, though, to have the right support and the team in place here now are just great, hence the stations rapid growth in just four months’.”

When quizzed a little more on the future of the station and the achievements he is most proud of, he simply says that the crowning achievement is the station itself, the quality of the product and the hard work put in by all those who have made it happen. Although, to learn of a listenership in Bangkok already, is really exciting stuff giving high hopes for the future of the station in the months and years to come. As for further development, he said;

“‘You’ll just have to watch this space” - with a cheeky wink.

It wasn’t enough for Dan, however, just to work all those hours at the station keeping the audience entertained in their cars, homes and offices – he missed the bouncing dance floors and pumping out some of the music he has grown to love over the years to a visible audience. So, whilst continuing to maintain his responsibilities at the station he wandered down to Phuket (courtesy of the magic of technology), to entertain the folk there on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. After which he caught the bug of playing live again and decided to stay on for a while playing some beats on Surin Beach.

We asked him how he managed to do this whilst still keeping the radio station going here in Pattaya; “Simple really, the wonders of the internet nowadays means that I can pretty much do all my tasks remotely – accessing the computers from my phone, tablet or laptop anywhere I have a signal and ensure that the station is still running smoothly. There have been a few bumps in the road but it is all part of learning and there is always a solution to any problem, so that Kiss FM remains sounding as super as it does. Again though, couldn’t have done it without the support of those at this end, working around the clock to resolve any issues - we have a great team.”

Daniel finished by saying he is now off to Sweden for another challenge in his personal life but there’s no way he is dropping the ball on the station here and has high hopes for its future. “Soon enough there won’t be many people in the region who haven’t heard of us or tuned in from time to time and that is certain only to grow as we continue to raise the bar on FM and Streaming Radio in Thailand”