Radio presenter Ahmad El-Esseily breaks the mold
CAIRO: In Egypt, radio presenters are usually nice romantic guys, talking about love and romance in their smooth voices. One announcer, however, has a lot more to offer.
Ahmad El-Esseily is famous for his straight talk. Though, he didn t initially set out to follow a career where he could speak his mind.
The 30-year-old presenter was born in Dubai where he lived for 10 years. He graduated from the faculty of Al-Alson, German department. Before he found his way into radio, worked in the tourism field for six years, followed by another six as a freelance editor in many studios. Finally, just three years ago, he started his media boom by hosting his first show, FM TV, a live show on both Nogoom FM radio station and Mazzika satellite channel.
The only link between my study and my work is my cell phone menu, it’s in German and is the only German thing in my life now, El-Esseily told The Daily Star Egypt. I don t plan for my life but apparently I change a job every six years. So God only knows what I’ll be doing next, he laughed.
Anyone listening to El-Esseily for the first time is in for a couple of surprises.
The first is his voice. He has a voice that is not traditionally heard on radio, it is strange and funny. It makes audiences love to listen to him because of the smile you can inherently feel in his voice, even without seeing him in person. While some people comment that his voice is unusual, few dislike it.
The second shock is his heavy criticism of some everyday Egyptian scenes. I don’t really want to spend my life criticizing everything around me, what I really want to do is to really talk to people, says El-Esseily. But again, there are things that provoke me enough and force me to talk about them, and of course people always love it when I do, he adds.
El-Esseily’s criticism is especially shocking when it is directed at the government in a radio station that supposedly avoid the three taboos: politics, sex and religion.
“I don’t do politics, I like neither politics nor politicians and I will never play this game. I support neither the NDP [National Democratic Party] nor the Muslim Brotherhood. When I criticize someone in the government it’s never personal. I always mean what he [the politician] represents. I criticize his work that affects me as a citizen, and that’s not politics, that’s minimal expression of oneself, El-Esseily tells The Daily Star Egypt.
Because of his continuous talk about changing habits and trying to develop people, many consider him a reformist. Ok, here’s the situation, I happen to think in a different way than most [people]. And I believe the first thing we should learn is how to think differently, because when we do, that contrast in our thoughts will create a conflict that hopefully will result in a change towards the better and eventually towards the best, El-Esseily explains.
“I don’t blame people for being what they are; they were made so by our media, our education system and living circumstances, he adds. I want to try and help in the development of my country by trying to alter the ways my fellow citizens see things and act towards them, and I only hope I’m doing the right thing.
El-Esseily has his own opinion about Egyptian society. We are not a productive community. We are a bunch of consumers. I believe that to develop Egypt everyone should do his work in a good way, and most importantly the government should lead people to their development, El-Esseily said.
Media figures are mainly entertainers but what do they do when they want to be entertained? My favorite thing, when I had the time, used to be watching a good movie, but now this has taken second place to playing with my daughter, Alia, El-Esseily said.
Answering a question about who he likes to watch on TV, El-Esseily said, It depends on what mood I’m in, but generally I like watching Haykal, Ibrahim Eissa and Hamdy Kandil. And anyone that I feel is talking to people not at them, I also like what is funny and different, both are not easy to find though.
El-Esseily did two seasons with FM TV and has just started the first season of his new show. I end a show when I feel that I have nothing new to say, or when I feel that I repeat myself, El-Esseily said.
I wait for God to bring me the best. But during that I prepare myself. So I start a show when God gives me the chance to do so, when I feel that I have something to say.
El-Esseily’s new show is called El-Khamees El-Sa a Tamanya (Thursday at 8 p.m.), leaving no questions about when it is transmitted, on Nogoon FM radio station FM 100.6, with reruns on Sunday 1 p.m.