February 24, 2016
Soraya Kee: A Breath of Fresh Air for Music
by S. Indra Sathiabalan
A FEW years ago, Soraya Sunitra Kee worked in the Sun as an intern, cutting her teeth on the print media world.
Now, at age 27, she is making waves as the youngest presenter on the radio station LiteFM. She comes on between 4pm and 8pm on the Smooth Drive show. During an interview session held at Astro recently, Kee reveals that she officially joined LiteFM in October 2015.
“Before that, I was on a rotation programme in Astro as a management associate.”
During that time, Kee experienced stints in various departments in Astro to get a feel of how the station operates before deciding that radio was something that appealed to her.
Off hand, one would think that LiteFM is a little ‘too old’ for her as it targets listeners aged 35 to 49.
“I hear that a lot. Many of my friends would ask me whether I even listen to Lite,” she says.
“I listened to the station when I was younger and then I stopped. Having come back to it, I have rediscovered the station and a catalogue of music that I’ve forgotten.”
Considering that the rest of the presenters on LiteFM are a teeny bit older [than her], she admits: “You can call me the baby of the team.”
On February 10, LiteFM unveiled a new tagline – Relaxing Favourites – which essentially means featuring relaxing hits from the 1980s to today.
Songs range from artistes such as Wham! to The Corrs, right up to more contemporary stars like Sam Smith and Adele.Before she joined LiteFM, Kee and a friend actually pitched a show to Aaron Pinto, the network content manager for Astro Radio.
Kee says: “We wanted to bring this fresh new perspective that would give new life to the station – not saying that it was old or stodgy or old fashioned! We just wanted to bring a new youthful element to it and maybe attract a younger group of listeners.”
The concept she and her friend worked on was meant to be a weekend show but it is put on hold for now as Kee is too busy with her show. The Smooth Drive is actually one of the station’s most popular segments, as many people listen to it while driving home.
“Since I have started working with Lite, I have asked a lot of people if they listen to [the show] and many who are in their 20s say yes, and that they actually love it!I try to find content that makes you sit up and go – whoa! I also have a few features on the show. One of them is Travel Tales which I source from my friends and people”.
“I have been bowled over by just how many hilarious, memorable and unique travel experiences that people have had, to share on the air.Every day, I also have one feature called Power Women [where] I feature unique and inspiring women.
“Be it a young girl who won a prize for inventing smart cutlery that detects bacteria in your food or a group of nuns cycling from Nepal to India … I’m really fond of that segment.”
Kee does not conduct interviews all that often, but she has interviewed 90s R&B band All-4-One. “It took me all the way back when I was six years old listening to I Swear,” she says.
Mostly, Kee is on air by herself. “I am still working on that. Aaron [Pinto] gave me some very good advice about envisioning that I am talking to a person. You can sometimes forget that there is this audience out there because it is just you and this microphone in the studio.”
Kee says that she always has had a fondness for radio. “When I was a kid, I have a fake radio show that I record on cassettes.
“I’d enjoyed radio throughout my schooldays but I never thought of a career on radio until I went to the US and interned in a radio station there.Suddenly, my eyes were opened to the possibilities of working in a radio station and I’d developed a great love and appreciation for it.”