Meet Star FM’s soaring gospel music presenter
Acting Entertainment Editor
The relationship between the music industry and radio has been changing drastically ever since iTunes came along and showed people another way they could consume their music.
This was apparent when the iPod became the number one selling music device on the planet.
The way people consumed music and radio was without a doubt going through a seismic shift.
Talk radio has gone through a similar transformation.
Now, if someone wants to take one of his or her favourite shows on the go, it’s easier than ever, especially now with genres like gospel music, Christians have their playlist changing every day.
Well, gospel music has been an incredibly moving and powerful genre that has birthed some of the most influential artistes of the 21st century.
The popular Gospel Greats Show on Star FM radio, launched in July 2012 after the station was birthed a month before, has seen amazing music and interviews taking the toll.
According to the show, Gospel Greats’ mission is to offer “a meaningful and sharing experience to its viewers through love, peace, calm, power and promise of gospel music”.
Listeners enjoy gospel music videos, concerts, praise and worship sessions, talk shows, artiste interviews, magazine and game shows, among others.
The programme has risen through the ranks to become one of the leading Christian shows in the country.
But there is a person behind that microphone, with that heavenly walk straight voice, who makes Gospel Greats tick.
It is none other than Yvonne Tivatye.
Her flawless skill and professional attitude have helped her build an attractive portfolio of high profile corporate clients and top brands.
Not only is she a continued first choice host for Christian and gospel events, corporate events, company functions, fashion and beauty shows, classes, product launches and in-store events among others.
Yvonne is also regularly booked as a guest panellist on some radio programmes, especially sponsored ones and at events, to offer expert advice on the genre.
Her wondrous voice is all what Star FM listeners have become used to. She effortlessly delivers during her popular slots, with her engagement with listeners really awesome.
Born a natural presenter, Yvonne always makes the simple appear sophisticated.
This aptly sums up your gospel favourite presenter, Yvonne.
Many have been wondering and anxious to know Yvonne’s profile.
The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle caught up with the bubbly presenter, who gladly opened up about her upbringing, family, education, challenges, age and prospects.
“I am an easy going and fun loving individual who genuinely loves people,” she said. “I grew up in quite a number of places, hey. My dad was a police officer who would get transferred a lot in his line of duty.
“So, as a little girl my life began right here in Harare, we then moved to Gweru, to Mberengwa and back to Harare. I got my education in these different places, but I can highlight Louis Mount Batten for primary, Uzumba High School for my O Levels, Christ Ministries for A’ level and UMAA Institute for Journalism.”
Yvonne proudly narrated her journey into the broadcasting industry.
“So, when I was on attachment, I was at ZBC Pockets Hill as an intern reporter on the Arts Desk under Terrence Mapurisana,” she said.
“I then left to go back to college and as I was waiting for my results. A new television station called Channel 2 opened and I auditioned for news reading, got the job and worked there for over a year.
“That then opened the doors for me when our then supervisor Alice Mutema announced that she would be joining a new radio station, Star FM, and wanted us to audition as newsreaders there.
“I went together with a few colleagues of mine namely Linda Muriro, Siphatisiwe Mpofu, Precious Nyakudya and Itai Mutinhiri and we all got jobs as news presenters. I then also expanded as an agriculture reporter. That was the beginning of my radio journey.”
Like any other person, Yvonne must have role models who inspired her to join radio.
“Rosemary Church, a CNN news anchor, was one of my biggest inspirations,” she said.
“Locally, I was inspired and am still inspired by the likes of Tilda Moyo, Bridget Gavanga and Busi Chindove.”
Better known as a gospel music presenter, Yvonne says it was not by default.
“I think being on a big platform like Star FM and the way I present my show has propelled me to being known in gospel music circles,” she said.
Yvonne reckons she is unique in some aspects.
“First of all, I think my energy makes me different from others because you would never tell if I am having a bad day or not,” she said. “The fact that I invest myself in my work plays an important role in setting me apart.
“If you listen to me on radio, you will definitely see that I am doing what I love and I’m giving my very best to the listeners.”
Yvonne shared the major objectives of her show, Gospel Greats.
“It is the biggest and most consistent gospel chart show in the country right now,” she said. “Pioneered in July 2012 by Leander Kandiero and later passed on to Napoleon Nyanhi in 2014 then to me in 2017, the show seeks to celebrate current gospel musicians with hot songs.
“Listeners vote for songs weekly on 0736104091, our music compilers then tally the votes and come up with a vote based on the top 20 every Sunday. Chart runs from 6pm to 8pm then after 8pm we have over the past three months started honouring yesteryear gospel musicians in a segment of the show we are calling The Gospel Greats Retro.
“So far, it has hosted The Charambas, Pastor Haisa, Elias Musakwa, Mai Suluma and others. The Gospel Greats is also an award winning show which provides listeners with a platform to commune with their maker.”
Yvonne was blunt when it comes to the favourite people she interviewed and of course the challenging one.
“All of my interviews really are with very interesting people, and my style is also quite easy going as we just have a laid back conversation as opposed to a hard hitting interview, so I have fun with all of them,” she said.
For suitors who are eyeing Yvonne, please retreat as she is at peace with herself.
“As you may be aware, I got married to James Karichero in 2012 and we went our separate ways in 2017,” she said.
“So I can say that I have since entered a new season in my life. I’m very happy and I’m at peace.”
Yvonne shared her thoughts on what she aspires to be in the next five years.
“There is definitely no stopping for me,” she said.
“I would really like to keep re-inventing myself and giving the most to our listeners. I would also like to take the gospel greats across the country’s borders. Personally, there is so much I am yet to accomplish, especially academic wise.”
Like in any other job, Yvonne has made blunders she would never forget.
“One of these Sundays while I was on air, I forgot to switch off my mic after announcing a song and I went on and on talking to my producer in the studio about our personal issues,” she said.
“I was so shocked when the engineer on duty came running into the studio using sign language to say switch off the mic. When I then looked at my phone, I had received over 20 messages from family friends and colleagues.”
As a mother and presenter, Yvonne says she always strikes a balance between family and work.
“It’s easy for me; motherhood is such a natural gift,” she said.
“I totally enjoy it, so I just make sure I allocate enough time to my family as well as make sure I stay on top of my deliverables at work.”
Given a chance, who would she want to interview?
“I would, with no doubt at all, want to interview Tasha Cobbs,” she said.
“Her music speaks of a deep personal journey that she seems to be on and I would like to tap into that anointing and be able to deliver her story to the world.”
Despite being a presenter, Yvonne also has her own favourite songs.
“I totally love music and on rotation in my car and on my phone is Tocky Vibes’ “Chama”, Janet Manyowa’s “Tariro”, Minister Micheal Mahendere’s “Makomborero”, Everton Mlalazi’s “Uyincwele”, Zimpraise’s “Ndezvedu”, Mambo Dhuterere’s “Mweya Ndisesekedze” and “Bvumbamira” by Jah Prayzah.
“The week will not pass without listening to the mentioned above.”
As a popular figure, Yvonne has assumed a new role among her family and friends.
“One of my strongest passions is counselling and I’m actually in school for it,” she said.
“I also have a programme called ‘Ask Yvonne’ where I help people going through various issues and this has prompted my family and friends to look at me as a strong support system and as a team player in friendships.”
As a female presenter, she shared her thoughts on what needs to be done to women in the media.
“Women in media should be given support in their various portfolios and positions that they are in and conducive environments must be created for more women to take up decision making positions in the media space,” she said.
After all the years on air, Yvonne mentioned what she loves most about being a radio presenter.
“For me, the best part about being a radio presenter is being afforded the rare chance to speak to millions of people,” she said.
“Another thing is to get into their space, spend some time with them and create lasting relationships with them even though they may have never seen you and vice versa.
“Also, to get a chance to shape opinion and inspire someone is pretty awesome.”
Yvonne reflects with pride on some her achievements.
“The ones that quickly come to mind are the awards I have won since I joined Star FM in 2012,” she said.
“In 2018, I got a second runner-up award for Best Electronic Media Journalist from the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe.
“In 2019, I got Best Agriculture Journalist from the Young Farmers Club. In the same year, I got recognition for The Gospel Greats from the Permicans. In 2020, I was a NAMA Nominee and in 2021 I got Outstanding Gospel Show from ZCN.
“All these are achievements to me because it is very humbling for one’s work to be recognised.”