It was so bizarre that I thought it was April 1 when I heard popular Yfm DJ Chilli-M breaking down on air over a faux pas with a married couple that won some competition.
The conversation went on more or less as follows …
“Anyway, it’s fine, it’s easy for you guys to speak, but I will be the one going through a hearing,” says Chilli’s crackling voice.
He takes another female caller.
Female caller: “You know what, Chilli, I think you were wrong because you went on too long … but it was good radio anyway.”
Chilli-M (now on the verge of a breakdown): “You know, it’s fine, I will be the one without a job for months … I will be the one going through the hearing … I mean the sponsors … I have to be accountable … [totally crying now] … Anyway, I quit.”
This is followed by the long, irritating sound of a slammed-down phone and what those in radio call “dead air” that feels like an eternity before an advert is played.
This happened during yesterday’s Yfm drive-time show. It turns out Chilli had been told about a married couple that had won an overseas trip, and he wanted to surprise the lovebirds on air about their prize. So he decided to call both of them at the same time to congratulate them. As it turns out, the man happened to have other plans about the trip with his young mistress from some Jo’burg university and — unaware of the fact that his wife was also on the line — he uttered this out loud. He practically told the whole of Jo’burg — and his wife — that he would be taking his mistress on this wonderful trip. Oops!
Now there is confusion because the wife was absolutely horrified and apparently used that popular “P”-word that women often use to refer to men. Her husband on the other end was totally busted, and Chilli was flabbergasted because the surprise did not yield the expected results!
It is not clear whether Chilli was already warned behind-the-scenes that he would be facing the full wrath of Yfm’s management, but he certainly seemed to believe so.
Personally my two cents’ worth on the matter is that Chilli’s intentions were pure and, if anything, he was just doing his job and trying to deliver scintillating radio. I believe that it would be unfair of Yfm management to accept his resignation as he could not have foreseen the outcome of his actions. Chilli should not have to bear the burden of some hypocritical person who swore loyalty to his wife in front of family and friends, only to turn around and break that vow! I am not big on moral judgements, but I do believe in karma.
So I urge Yfm’s management to think seriously before accepting the man’s resignation. I do not know Chilli-M, personally but I do remember how the tabloids had a field day when he lost his gig at Metro FM. Quite understandably he would remember what that experience did to his self-esteem, and I believe that is why he behaved they way he did.
I do urge the decision-makers at Yfm to not sacrifice Chilli at the altar of commercialism.
Otherwise, as my northern ceremonial grandmother always says: “I am writing a letter.” Failing that, I will do that South African thing and start a petition. Failing that, I will stage a march or something. Come on, let us give the guy a break, hey!