Mad about radio

Mad about radio
Kiss92 FM DJ Maddy Barber.

Headphones on, hands on the console, eyes scanning four screens of music tracks and audio controls, Maddy Barber belts out the chorus of Cruise by Florida George. She is ready to wrap up another morning show for radio station Kiss92 FM.

"I got my windows down and the radio up," she sings along with the track on air, segueing smoothly into her final patter and cueing in co-hosts Jason Johnson and Arnold Gay.

After 19 years in radio and media, the 40-year-old DJ has good reason to be loud and proud of it.

She is assistant programme director of Kiss92, which means her stamp is on its playlist. Her girl-next-door charm and relatable on-air persona are among the reasons why the SPH UnionWorks station has listeners tuning in longer than other English-language stations here.

According to the latest Nielsen Radio Diary Survey, listeners have Kiss92 on for nine hours 39 minutes in total every week, 90 minutes more than Gold90.5FM, the second-ranked English-language station.

Kiss92, which targets women aged 30 to 50, has also more than doubled its outreach since it launched in September 2012, pulling in 485,000 listeners a week. This is the third highest outreach for English-language stations in Singapore, below 621,000 for Class95 and 539,000 for Gold90.5FM.

Something about Barber's assertive, talkative nature strikes a chord, even if she does bully shy callers on air, urging them to speak up, while her co-hosts squirm at her self-proclaimed "not-so- encouraging tone".

She has come a long way from the greenhorn 20something who landed a job at MediaCorp's 98.7FM in the mid-1990s and it has not been easy.

Married since 2005 to IT consultant Wez Barber, 36, with whom she has an eight-year-old daughter, Alicia, she juggled career with being a single mother for 10 years. She declines to talk about the father of her 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth.

A former colleague remembers that Barber never let the pressure at home or work get to her, even as she waddled around the office, several months pregnant and wearing a batik print muu-muu.

Ms Corinne Ng, 40, who founded online Asian designer boutique Shopthemag.com, started out as a copywriter at MediaCorp and often worked with Barber.

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