MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG
Mark_Pilgrim_hot919_aug2017

The Mark Pilgrim Show in a new timelsot

If you're over 35 and you haven't started listening to the radio station Hot919 yet, you're missing out! We play all your favs from the 70s to the 90s and the jocks are all veterans in the industry, most of us with the legacy of working together at the old 5FM back in the 90s.

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Even if you're not in Johannesburg North, (the footprint of the station on 91.9FM), we're on streaming audio (TuneIn app on your phone) and also channel 922 on DStv (if you still have satellite TV!).

Since the station opened at the end of 2014, my show has been Saturdays 12-3pm, but just to let you know it moved earlier 9am - 12pm as of last weekend! The legendary Kevin Savage (with his Classic Countdown) and I have swopped time slots to better accommodate the generous sponsors that make our respective shows possible!

This is now what happens on The Mark Pilgrim Show 9am - 12pm (besides all the great 80s and 90s hits!):

9am - 10am: This hour is brought to you by Kia Fourways

Kia Fourways are the proud vehicle sponsor of the show.

9.30am: Anagram Game

This is a word game I have been doing for years on my shows, from 5FM to Highveld, and now on Hot91.9fm. I give you a word and you have to find the other word in it using all the same letters, based on a clue I give you.  It's a fun and challenging few minutes on air!

10.10am: Movie Moment with Black Sheep Films

Black Sheep Films are one of South Africa's big movie distributors to Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro.  When they have a blockbuster release, we feature the movie and give away great prizes!

10.30am : Unofficial Holidays brought to you by Vespa

Vespa, the unofficial mode of transport for mavericks bring you the list of all the days we celebrate and commemorate over the following 7 day period. This includes serious days such as World Tuberculosis Day and also more humorous ones like World Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day. 

11.10am Kia Hot Hit brought to you by Kia Motors SA

This is a feature where we play a Hot Hit themed around a campaign or event that Kia SA is promoting, with one lucky listener getting R1500 in cash!

So there you have it. Hope you get to lock on this Saturday! 
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The radio awards were HOT!

About a year ago I was so disillusioned with radio I decided to quit the industry. And then I was told  about a new station opening up in Johannesburg called Hot 919 FM. It wasn't a station run by these big corporates. It was a small independent station, a station starting with virtually no big backing. When I heard who was joining the team though I felt something inside me which I hadn't felt in a long time... excitement and passion.

The jocks joining the station were the people I both worked with years before and also admired to much as deejays I listened to as a youngster. This station was small, but what a powerful team. And with that, I dusted off my headphones (well actually my retirement was so short they never had time to gather dust) and got back on air.

It's always great to be recognised as a serious player at the 2015 Radio Awards, but we all knew the cards were stacked against us as we only went on air at the end of November and entries for the Radio Awards were closed at the end of December.

So what a great night this past Saturday when just 5 months in, this small independent radio station walked away with 5 Radio Awards, including Best Breakfast Show, Best Breakfast Presenter, Best News Reader, Best Sports presenter and my award, Best Weekend Radio Show!

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It was also a night to relive the magical memories of the old 5FM with Alex Jay and Cleone Cassidy:

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And one of my favourite ever Afternoon Drive presenters from the old 5fm days, Tony Murrell:

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My good friend Barney Simon on Jacaranda FM knocked it out the park winning so many awards, including the same as me with Best Weekend Radio Show (he won in the Commercial category and I won in the Community category). Here we are backstage:

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The team at Hot919FM have all been around the block. We've all had immense success and all fallen in our careers. Having been in the trenches there are no egos at play and we celebrated not only our victories, but that of our fellow radio jocks at other stations too. When Jacaranda FM won Radio Station of the Year, I think the Hot team got up and applauded almost as quickly as the Jacaranda team themselves.

What a great night. And thank you to all the "hotties" who support Hot 919fm!








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Peace at home!

There is peace in the valley!

For a solid year my girls have been fighting. Nicole and I sometimes feared coming home because we knew we would be entering a war zone. But the tides have shifted in recent weeks and it seems we all successfully weathered the storm!

I'm not saying theres no squabbles, but things have improved to the point where Tayla-Jean (the chief instigator in the battles), even wants to sleep in her sister's bed at night...

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The downside is, when one of them wakes up at 5.30am...they both wake up now! It's a small price to pay for harmony.

Speaking of harmonies, Jacaranda FM will be broadcasting live from outside my SMOOCH store this Saturday! If you're in the area, pop on past Forest Hill City Mall. It's going to be lots of fun!

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Time to say goodbye

This is it. I'm about to do my final radio show tomorrow. After 19 years of being on air, I'm saying goodbye. I wrote a blog a few months ago about why I'm leaving, you can read it here if you missed it. This blog is really a simple thank you.

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Thank you to the wonderful team at 94.5KFM who have always treated me as one of their own, even though I was the jock that did the show from a thousand kilometres away. There is such talent in the building.
  • To Ryan O Connor, much respect for how you believe in team work and make each of your fellow jocks really feel like they belong. A lot of others could learn from your ethos. 
  • To Steven Werner, the Programme Manager, who has always looked after me every time I fly down to Cape Town for a show. I love you like a brother "my sister".
  • Ian Bredenkamp, thanks for the many laughs over the years, I think you and Elana Afrika ROCK as a couple. 
  • To Stefan le Roux who sits in the Cape Town studio every time I do the show in Johannesburg to make sure the ads and news go out to air without a hitch, thank you for being my silent right arm!
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To my Highveld family, who I've been with for 10 years, what a ride it has been!
  • To the station manager Ravi Naidoo who has always given me the freedom to do what I wanted on air, and allowed me to go off playlist and spin some great classics over the years (okay, except when I played Live - Selling the Drama... we clashed over that one!). Ravs, thanks for believing in my ability not to trash my shows!
  • To my fellow jocks who are taking over the reigns as the station moves forward, may you guys continue rocking (or hip-hopping) the airwaves for many years to come!
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To my old 5FM colleagues who I still chat to like Cleone Cassidy, Derek the Bandit, Barney Simon, Alex Jay & Steve Kirker. I will always think back to the 90s and smile. It was an honour to be part of radio history with you.  I know this is probably just an old guy waffling, but there is something to be said for the old school way of doing radio, where deejays really connected with listeners one-on-one. It was a generation where most of us didn't start our names with "DJ".

To KIA Motors, Ray Levine and David Sieff who believe so much in the brand of Take40 that they are going into their 5th year of show sponsorship, thank you for wanting me to continue to be their ambassador even though I'm going off radio. When Ravi and I created the chart show 9 years ago, we had no idea that it would become the definitive chart show in South Africa. A chart show that South African musicians listened to in order to see where their songs landed up. It has been my child that I've nurtured for so long!

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The biggest mention of all though, goes to you the listener. I have no convoluted thing to say. Just two words: Thank you.

I know me. It's not goodbye forever. At some stage I'll come back somewhere and do a show. Maybe playing some good 90s rock like Collective Soul, Gin Blossoms, Better than Ezra and Live... and, yes Ravs, especially Selling the Drama :)

Thank you South Africa for the memories.
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The final countdown...

The clock is ticking for 2 events next week...

I only have 2 shows left on radio. People are still asking what I have planned for the final show next week Saturday. I'm not a razzmatazz kind of guy and like doing things low key, so it will be a "normal" show. I want my last one to be what I usually do on air...with hopefully you listening!

Also, we're counting down the days until opening my first SMOOCH store in Centurion. We're now hoping to open for business on Wednesday next week! If you are in the Centurion area it would be great to have your support at Forest Hill City (the new mega-mall open at N14 & R55). I've been pretty quiet on my blog and twitter because I've been on site almost all the time as the store starts taking shape!

Even though I've been focussed on yoghurt, the other work still continues. For the last 10 years I've been hosting live corporate television to Standard Bank staff and this week we did the show live from Stark Studios where they also shoot the soapie Binnelanders and other shows. I still get excited when the red light goes on! I love sharing behind the scenes photos and here's one where the camera was on during rehearsal. If you look carefully on the TV screen behind the camera, you can see me taking the pic!

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I know the blog is short, but I have to dash to Centurion now... ! Don't worry, I'm not going to start ending my blogs by saying "Smooches".
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My goodbye song...

I just got reprimanded on twitter for being slack with my blog. Thanks Pat! Admittedly, my blogs are no longer daily as I have so many projects on the go, I simply don't always have the time. Sorry! But I really do appreciate everyone popping on to read my blurbs!

In fact, as I write this blog, the only reason why I've found 5 minutes to type is because both my girls are glued to their iPads!


I'll confiscate them in a few minutes so that they do what kids did in years gone by...play.

So the countdown clock is definitely ticking. I wrap up my radio career at the end of June. People have been asking what special surprises I have in store during the final show. Here's the thing. I've always been the quiet type. Even my birthdays are always low key. So I'm not going to go out with a bang, having bands and celebrations in studio. The show must go on, so to speak, and I still need to do a countdown on my final day. If there is too much razzmatazz in the studio I lose the ability to share the last few moments with listeners who have been with me for so long. Having said that, I will probably have a few close friends popping in towards the end when I say goodbye. I will say this though, the number 1 song will be played a few minutes earlier to make time for me to play one FINAL song of my choosing.

I'm still deciding which one though (maybe you can help and let me know by adding a comment at the bottom of the blog). I'm choosing between:

1) SEMISONIC - CLOSING TIME
I played this song as my final tune when I stopped doing the Drive Show 2 years ago. It was always the song we wrapped up the night with when I still owned Nitefever (a club in Fourways):

Tomorrow is my baby girl's 3rd birthday. She's growing up so fast. Tomorrow's blog is dedicated to Tayla-Jean. Daddy loves you.

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Goodbye to a legendary 5FM DJ

If you're old school, you'll remember the name Phil Wright from Capital 604 and 5FM. For many years he was also one of the main voices on Top Billing.

Phil was always a contradiction. He looked liked someone you wouldn't want to bump into in a bright alley let alone a dark one. He was a die hard metal head, balding on top with long hair down the sides, always wearing old Metallica t-shirts. Yet in our time together at 5FM I got to know a gentle giant. A soft spoken deejay with the best velvet voice to ever grace our airwaves.

He always ended his shows with his signature sign off "Taa raa".


I remember doing a radio course back in 1992 desperately trying to get onto radio, and Phil walked past on his way to the 5FM studio to host the Top 40, carrying his big silver box (probably full of snakes.. his other passion).  I was in awe.

This veteran jock was booted from 5FM back in 2002, and it was the start of most of us leaving over the next year or two as the station embarked in a different direction.

Today, along with my other ex-5FM jocks, we mourn the loss of a radio legend. I might not have spoken to Phil in many years, but it's like yesterday we were working together. Tributes are pouring in on twitter from the likes of Darren Scott, Derek the Bandit, Barney Simon, Janine Purkiss, Sasha Martinengo, Ian F and Steve Smith. For all that we are now scattered around the country and globe, we are all united by a brotherhood that was the old 5fm.

Steve Smith dug up this old video that we all featured in, including Phil, back in the 90s: