My partner Bel on the breakfast show, which is from 6 am to 10 am weekdays on CapitalFm, and I were sorting out our holidays, we have to schedule them so at least one of us is anchoring the show with whomever that fills in. Bel's going before me as she's got "stuff" to do overseas, so after another intense show also due to the fact that we're still under sweeps, (sweeps are the surveys done to the radio stations to see how they are performing in all categories including against each other) we trundle down to HR to fill out our leave application. We bump into our Station Manager who's beginning to look like a Mexican jumping bean with all the meetings she's been hopping in and out of.
"Hey Ladies" she says, "we've got an emergency meeting this afternoon, please make sure you are there, no excuses". Bel and I look at each other and groan, we were hoping to bugger off home right quick to decompress, both of us at the end of our tethers and ready to burn out from the grueling and intense schedule . "Ok bawse, " I retort, " I hope it's good news". She gives us a sheepish look and says " it's about the finances", I give her a sharp "I hope they arent' thinking of reducing the salaries, coz it's going to be mutiny on the bounty " . She says " well you guys will find out at the meeting".
Forward to the meeting, we're all seated around the conference table, throwing remarks at each other, taking the mickey , it's a women's station, we can get down and dirty and no one takes offence, we're essentially sisters in the hood . Our COO walks in and without much preamble says, "the board of directors had an emergency meeting last night and have decided to shut down the station, so as of 30th Sept, the station will run on automation"... clang goes my jaw on the table, Bel's lost it, everyone is stunned and the tears are glistening on a lot of the faces around me. Well now, that just about gives us two weeks to pack up and go... charming.
We had worked public holidays, worked ourselves to the bone to push the station forward to make it even more successful, worked without producers, proper budgets and publicity and now this.. whoaaa. For those who didn't smoke or drink, this was one day when all that went out the window.
Our COO invited us all out that evening, all the announcers drifted in eventually. Though it was a sombre night, we still managed to have a few laughs. My COO or should I say former COO, looks at me and says "Thanks Daph, for coming on board, and I truly appreciate all that you have done to turn the station around" I said " I did it for you Kudsia, you inspired me to come back, you wanted to make it for women, by women and that was the hook, and I'm glad I took the time out to do so, it was quite the roller coaster ride!" She looks at me and says "lets talk some more later ok" sure, everyone wanted a bit of her time, she was making herself available to all the announcers to discuss what was on their mind.
For the next two and a half weeks, Bel and I had to pretend to our audience on air all was ok, we had to ensure the show was still on point, to not slip up, it was hard, we couldn't tell our regular contributors why we were not having them on the show, we couldn't accept any more invitations to interview, we were not really answering our company e mails, so when the final day came and we were given the green light to say farewell on air, it was a lump in your throat, eyes glazed with tears, trembly and wobbly lower lip emotional moment. We had established so many regular callers, contributors, NGO's , amazing people who were pushing boundaries for women, enriching our lives as women. Bel was leaving on the same day, and we clung to each other, "gonna miss you mate" we both said at the same time. We had created such a strong bond, I feel we'll always have that special connection.
I kept waking up at 5 am in the morning for the next few days after our final day on air, freaking out I was late for work, only to realise I didn't have to wake up! I sat around watching my kids, reading facebook posts, scrolling through twitter and prepping for my trip to Hong Kong. I had previously booked and sorted my vacation to my hometown of Hong Kong for my school reunion, on one hand I was really looking forward to it, and on the other obviously I was concerned as I was now out of a job. I spoke to my mother that evening and she said "Go Daph, enjoy yourself, relax, be with those who know you and I'm sure you'll figure out what you're gong to do next" I also spoke to my school chum Annie as we're still close and she said the same, my other bestie said "go bonkers in Honkers!"
As the days got closer to the big reunion date in Hong Kong, everyone started to post frantically on our reunion wall on Facebook, I forgot about the sting of being made redundant, .... well I told myself here's to the next adventure, Hong Kong here I come! (you'll have to read the next blog for that little nugget!)