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Five Minutes With: Victoria Uwonkunda

Meet Victoria Uwonkunda. A well-known news personality for BBC News. Despite making a name for herself around Europe, Victoria and the BBC have officially launched BBC Minute in South Africa on popular radio station YFM. BBC Minute is a 60-second broadcast aimed at younger audiences and will broadcast twice an hour, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. This is a fresh, unique approach to everything happening in the world of social media and in international headlines. I caught up with presenter Victoria Uwonkunda on the new project.

Victoria, where did the concept of BBC Minute come about?

The concept has been in the making for a while now. We wanted to create short news round-ups that our younger audiences can access from the platforms they are already on – like FM music stations and music sharing sites. So from that we thought about the quickest, best and most efficient way to generate and relay the news and BBC Minute was born.

Why launch on YFM? What is it about the station that attracted you to it?

Simply because YFM is the biggest platform for the 16-34 age group in the Gauteng province and greater Johannesburg area. It’s also the biggest source of news for this audience. Adding the BBC Minute to their schedule gives YFM, and their audience, access to a global product produced directly from the BBC newsroom. What we are doing with the BBC Minute is to complement YFM’s local news coverage with our global offer.

What kind of news will BBC Minute pay attention to?

All types of news. We will cover the latest headlines, entertainment, sport, tech, health, science, and what’s hot and trending on social media.

Many stations have news at the top of the hour. What makes BBC Minute unique?

That’s right, but we think the BBC Minute style will set us apart. We are punchy, fun and conversational. With our half an hour BBC Minute round-up, we are aiming to have a conversation with the listener, in the sense that we are telling the news in the manner you’d tell and share that piece of news with your friends. To complement our partner stations, who are music-based, we are using music beds underneath our news stories. In the BBC Minute, we will have a range of stories where anyone can find their “news”.

Where did your passion for broadcasting come from?

As with most people in Africa, I grew up with radio. Even as a child in Rwanda, I never missed the news programmes (both in Kinyarwanda and French). I was always the one telling everyone to keep quiet when the news came on, wondering where the “talking people” came from, how they found their news, and – being curious – I set on to become a journalist.

Any advice for up and coming media moguls?

Tough one there, but having observed and followed many greats like Tumi Makgabo from her CNN days to now, Oprah Winfrey and our late Komla Dumor, I’ve learned that hard work, curiosity about life and others, commitment to your work and a bit of luck are some of the things that will help a great deal (whether in this industry, or elsewhere in life).

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