Tino on his first time on radio: I failed to utter a word for a week!

Martin Kasyire, also known as MC Tino, is a jack of all trades: in the morning he is a breakfast radio show host at KFM, and later in the evening he’s either a musician, DJ, emcee or comedian. And the 27-year-old entertainer is good at most of the things he does – if not all of them. Collins Mwai caught up with the multitalented lad to find out more about how he does it…

Martin Kasyire, also known as MC Tino, is a jack of all trades: in the morning he is a breakfast radio show host at KFM, and later in the evening he’s either a musician, DJ, emcee or comedian. And the 27-year-old entertainer is good at most of the things he does – if not all of them. Collins Mwai caught up with the multitalented lad to find out more about how he does it…

How did you end up as an entertainer?


My first stab at emceeing was when I joined a talent search while I was in Senior Two in Uganda about 14 years ago. I contested in the Best Emcee category and impressed the judges. When I took the stage, I was comical. I acted as if I was introducing Michael Jackson and the judges loved it. I have never looked back.

How about radio?

As for radio, I joined the industry almost by accident. During my Senior Six vacation, I began playing music at Carwash, which was at the time owned by Louis Kamanzi, who is also the CEO of Flash Radio. One weekend, some presenters at Flash messed up live on air as the boss was listening. He was pissed off and fired them on the spot. Then he invited me to his office later on and asked if I was interested in working on radio. I said yes and I had a job on radio the following day. On my first day I was very nervous. In fact, I only played music without speaking for some days. Weeks later he asked me to speak, and guess which words could come out of my mouth? ‘Thank you listeners, I love you’! I repeated those words like ten times before he sent me a text asking me to ‘get yourself together’. I worked at the station for close to seven years before moving to KFM. Over the years Mr Kamanzi has mentored me on radio and helped me become a better presenter. Whenever I made mistakes he gave me another chance. Even tho
ugh I left his radio station we are still on good terms.

What is your profession?


I didn’t study Journalism in school; I studied Business Administration and majored in marketing at SFB (School of Business and Finance). At one point, Kamanzi sent me to India for a course in Service Development Journalism, which helped me learn a lot about the media. I also learnt a lot from the station.

How did you end up at KFM?


One day, a friend of mine called Lilian Mbabazi (a former TV presenter), called and asked me to look up a site of a new station that was due to open. When I looked it up I found out that they had advertised several jobs that I could easily qualify for. Because I love presenting I applied for a job as a presenter. I was called for the interview, which I passed and I was offered the job. I later walked up to Kamanzi and thanked him for the opportunity and mentorship he’d given me. He let me go with no ill feelings. Working with KFM is like a dream come true; it is a chance for me to do what I have always loved to do and grow in my career as a radio presenter. I am happy where I am right now even though in the future I would like to move to a regional or international platform.

You are a jack of all trades…why can’t you concentrate on one thing?

I have planned my life in a way that I should always be versatile. If one thing doesn’t work out I want to always have Plan B. That, however, doesn’t mean that I work halfheartedly.

Tell us about your group, TBB, and how you joined the music industry


I am just a member of the group. I am not even the group’s leader. It’s a group composed of three friends, who have been friends since childhood. We came together a year or so ago to launch our music career. We all have our roles in the group but most people think I am its leader probably because I am the most famous. I am only in charge of promotions; Bob is in charge of accounts while Benja is in charge of production. I began doing music in 2002, with two other friends. Back then there were very few music recording studios in Rwanda. The late Christophe Matata was our producer.

Talking of radio and music, are you ever tempted to play your own music on radio?

To be honest, I am tempted to play my music while I am on air, but I don’t because it’s unprofessional. Our music gets airplay on other shows or when listeners request for it.

As a breakfast show host, do you ever feel like you have to speak cautiously because many of your listeners look up to you?

In a way, I do. I have to be cautious of what I say because breakfast shows have a wide listenership and what I say could easily influence someone’s decision.  I also avoid airing my own opinions; listeners are knowledgeable people and at times more informed than radio show hosts. It would be wrong for me to think that I can feed people with my opinions just because I have a platform to do so. All I do is collect information and be a voice of the general public.

Tell us about your childhood


I grew up in a well-to-do family. I wouldn’t want to lie that I have gone through hustles. My mother made sure that I went to the best schools. She also gave me whatever I needed. I’ll always be grateful to her.

Are you planning to get married any time soon?


I have a fiancé and if all goes well, we will get married – officially – sometime next year.

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