Algoa FM’s financial director Kevin Reed is retiring after 35 years in the media industry – and a job interview during which he was dressed “in lumo green shorts, a white T-shirt and white flip-flops”.
There is an explanation – having started a financial consulting business in 2000, he thought he had been invited for a studio interview.
Fortunately for all, Algoa FM is the place where “fun is a serious business” and following the February 2000 interview he was hired as the financial manager. Within three years he had been appointed financial director and deputy managing director.
It sometimes comes as a surprise to people who know the outgoing and extroverted side of Reed to find out that, once behind his computer, he has a totally different approach to life.
“Accounting is the most exact science. Debits always equal credits and don’t try to reinvent the abacus.
“The accounting team must never lose sight of the fact that accurate, timeous and meaningful financial and analytical information empowers management, the board and the group, to make informed strategic decisions that benefit all stakeholders,” he says.
Reed’s introduction to the media was with the then EP Newspapers, as financial accountant between 1985 and late 1998.
After joining Algoa FM, he gained an in-depth knowledge of radio by attending international conventions such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Dallas, Texas, and spending time at various radio stations in London, including the iconic Capital Radio and Virgin.
He has also worked with NRSmedia in Sydney, Australia, to develop new advertising packages and approaches for Algoa FM’s clients.
Radio is now firmly in his blood, and Reed believes that it is now the most powerful communication medium for companies wanting to connect with their customers in a defined broadcast area.
“In an evolving media landscape Algoa FM is best positioned to partner with clients to help them promote their brand from the Garden Route to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo,” he says.
Looking back, the professional achievements of which he is most proud are 21 years of clean audits at Algoa FM and building a strong team, which will now be headed by Desiré Killian.
“The small finance team is well equipped to take care of the financial and statutory obligations. I have to thank them for their commitment and professionalism, which allows me to retire knowing that the finances of Algoa FM are in very competent hands,” he says.
Then there is the fun aspect – through Algoa FM, Reed has met “in person” a number of superstars, including Shaggy, Belinda Carlisle, James Blunt, Will Young, Josh Groban, Celine Dion and Sting (with his family).
“In the media, we often take for granted how fortunate we are to share our working environment with champions who have diverse talents, creativity and passion. Media houses are a hotbed of human capital and intellectual property”.
The outgoing financial director is the epitome of the lifestyle of the typical Algoa FM listener – “my passions are food, travel and aircraft. Food and travel I believe are the greatest ways to appreciate and try new things and experience cultural diversity,” he says.
Thanks to Covid, travel plans are on the back-burner.
“I will be letting the corporate spring unwind and spend time with the way too many people I need to catch up with. I have worked for almost 50 years, starting as a packer at the first Pick n Pay at Lynwood in Pretoria, so it is now time to chill.
“I look forward to making awesome meals and travelling with my hubby. If that’s not physically possible, I can be found checking out planes at the airport or using an app to follow flights around the world”.
His advice to a younger Kevin: “Do not take time for granted. It goes by in the blink of an eye, especially when you are working hard and having fun at the same time.
“Start saving as soon as you can, but ensure you balance your life’s journey with treats and spoils.
“Surround yourself with the best people, for the right reason. But, mostly, ensure that your life is made up of a sequence of entertaining and engaging stories”.