'We are also artistes and use our voices': Mediacorp radio DJs on being recognised at Star Awards 2024

Back in the day, Star Awards was an event to celebrate performances by actors and hosts in local dramas and variety shows and for audiences to vote for their favourite local celebrities.

While behind the airwaves, Mediacorp’s radio DJs continued to captivate and accompanied listeners with their voices on air daily, with no involvement in the awards.

For their efforts contributed on air, radio DJs are now eligible to be nominated in Star Awards, in categories such as Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes.

Speaking to AsiaOne during Star Awards Gala Night on Monday (April 15), radio DJs from Love 972 and Yes 933 shared their thoughts on this.

“A lot of DJs nowadays are multi-talented, both in audio and filming, and it is rare for them not to appear on television. For them to be nominated in Star Awards, it makes it merrier and all-rounded, because radio stations are also under Mediacorp, so they should be able to compete equally,” said veteran DJ-host Marcus Chin, 70.

Actor-DJ Mark Lee also supports it.

The 55-year-old expressed: “I think that it’s a good move… DJs these days also have to do many other things, such as social media posts, going on variety shows and acting in dramas.

“Now they don’t just appear in the radio station behind the mics, but they also stand on stage and appear in front of the cameras. So it goes without saying that they should be able to join.”

Actor-DJ Dennis Chew, 50, added: “I feel that the whole atmosphere is different now and I feel that it should be this way… Whether it would be more television artistes or more radio artistes winning, I think this is something that the audience would be very interested to know.”

Dennis, together with Mark, Marcus, Chen Biyu and Joe Tsoi, host the The Breakfast Quintet morning show on Love 972, which won Best Radio Programme on Monday night. This marks their victory in the same category for the fourth consecutive year.

‘Times are different now’

Despite gaining recognition by Mediacorp, there was some controversy over the overwhelming number of radio DJs being nominated in popularity category, with some netizens questioning their eligibility to participate.

Some netizens commented on several Facebook posts by Mediacorp’s The Celebrity Agency, that with the number of radio DJs participating in the category, it has become a “DJ awards”.

“Why are radio DJs nominated for Top 10? This is supposed to be a category where drama fans vote for their favourite actors and not for radio DJs. Why are they putting radio DJs and actors together? The radio stations should conduct their own Top 10 Most Popular Radio DJs,” a netizen wrote.

Dennis expressed: “For DJs to appear on television to host, it is actually more difficult for us, because we have to complete our own DJ duties first before we can go fulfil our duties for television.

“We are actually doing two jobs at the same time, so for us to have a chance to participate in the Top 10, I think it is rightfully so.”

Marcus added: “Why not? We are also artistes and use our voices… Times are different now. We should keep up with it and have new thinking and not maintain old thinking. For DJs to be nominated in the Top 10 categories is a new way of doing things.”

‘Since I am part of the game already, why not just play along?’

During Star Awards 2023, Marcus won his third Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes award and said that he wished to get his 10th by 77 years old.

When asked about his probability of winning this year, he shared that he is actively encouraging votes on radio with self-composed songs and livestreams.

He added: “If I didn’t get the award, I wouldn’t let myself down, because I have tried my best. Perhaps it’s a change in times indicating the younger ones should get it. For those of us who are older, we should give it to them.”

Mark and Dennis had won their 10th award in this category in 2009 and 2021 respectively, and received their All-Time Favourite Artiste award in the following years.

Yes 933 DJ Kenneth Chung hopes to get his first Top 10 award this year.

The 38-year-old, who was first nominated in the category last year, told AsiaOne backstage: “Last year I was very chill. Jeff Goh won and I was so happy and hugged him. But this year, I thought, since I am part of the game already, why not just play along? So I really hope that I have the chance to be on stage this year to thank all my supporters and listeners.”

Hazelle Teo, his partner for The Shuang and Kunz Show, expressed differently.

The 29-year-old shared: “I am going to be very honest with this one. Last year when I was nominated for the Most Popular Rising Star, I felt like I put a lot of hope and effort into it. I rallied my entire ‘village’ and my mum rallied her entire company to vote for me.

“I got my hopes super high up. But in the end, I didn’t win and that really took a hit on my emotions. I felt so upset.

“So this year, I am telling myself to just take it easy. No matter whether I get the award or not, I just want to focus on my task at hand and enjoy the night basically, so I don’t have any hopes for this one.”

Despite that, both Kenneth and Hazelle said they have voted for each other.

‘If I win, we win’

This year’s Star Awards also marked the launch of a new category, Best Audio Personality, which will be presented on the Live Show on April 21.

When asked about their feelings about this new award, which both Kenneth and Hazelle are nominated for, they expressed positively.

“I think this new category is so great. When I heard that there is this new category, I felt like all my hardwork and efforts are recognised by the company. It’s not just our radio shows, Kenneth also got nominated for his own podcast Kunzversations, which I think is really fantastic,” said Hazelle.

Kenneth felt the same too, sharing that the award “shines light on their hard work” and is an encouragement to all DJs.

He added: “I hope people can continue to support radio DJs and besides that, we also have other sides to see.”

As for their chances at winning the award, Kenneth shared that besides being the presenter, he is also the producer, scriptwriter and editor for Kunversations.

“For the other programmes [that were nominated], they worked in teams. Maybe the judges may feel that it’s harder for me; I put in more effort and they would give me the award,” he expressed.


Hazelle is nominated for hosting The Shuang and Kunz Show.

“Maybe my strong suit is sounding happy on air, and I think listeners love a happy and bright voice on air because it feels like happiness is right around you and I want to be that for my listeners,” she said.

“I want to be that little sun for them and be there in times of need and emotional moments. If anything, I feel like this would be one of my strongest suits and something I want to keep in my radio career.

As Kenneth is also a part of the team, he is supportive of Hazelle’s win.

“I would be very happy if Hazelle won the award because we are in the same show. If she wins, I am the supporting role that makes her shine, so I contributed,” he said.

Hazelle agreed: “If I win, we win.”

Selected segments of the Gala Night will be made available on mewatch, Mediacorp’s Entertainment’s YouTube channel, Mediacorp’s social media platforms and the official Star Awards website.

On April 21, the Backstage Live Show will be telecast from 3.30pm to 10.30pm, the Walk of Fame from 5pm to 6.30pm and the awards show from 7pm to 10pm.

The awards show and Walk of Fame will air on Channel 8 and U with simulcast on mewatch and Mediacorp Entertainment’s YouTube channel, while Backstage Live will air exclusively on the latter two platforms.

ALSO READ: 4 years straight: The Breakfast Quintet, with Mark Lee, Dennis Chew and Marcus Chin, wins Star Awards 2024 Best Radio Programme


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