He is born Azeal Matsoarelle, but the airwaves have introduced him as the favourite Cheeze. Arguably one of the best DJs under the Namibian sun, Cheeze has remained true to himself since day one. In every sense, he is one of the few who is, has been, and according to the horse’s mouth will always be there.
When you look at it, he is typically the last man standing after having being part of the ‘Fresh’ family since the station launched in 2007. Then, it was still an online radio station while operating licenses were being finalized.
With Laimi Elago as his partner in crime, Matsoarelle started what has come to be known as the lively Breakfast Show until recently. He explains how he got into radio “radio is something that I fell into almost by accident. I just saw an ad, went for auditions and I got the job. And once I started working, I never worked a day in my life because it is a personal passion. I found my calling and not a lot of people who are working can say they love what they are doing and the get paid for it,” said the veteran.
Cheeze remembers his childhood as being challenging. As a child from the hood and Soweto to be specific, temptations were in abundance. “if you look at where I come from, I wasn’t supposed to make it, you know. I tried to do crazy staff, but radio saved my life. I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for radio.”
He reflects on his early days in the studio being very smooth under the guidance of a management that understood the creativity in arts and motivated them to do something different from what had already existed. As such, it took them less than a year to win an award with the Corner to Corner Show.
The author and architect of Young Heart, Fresh Beats together with the Fresh FM team have won the hearts of listeners especially the youth who tune in to listen to the creativity at its best. The station does more than employ a listen-only approach and provides a platform for listeners to vent. At Fresh FM, listeners are free to speak their mind, something that is prohibited by other radio stations.
“There are people who started listening to us when they were in university and high school. Today, these are the people who are contributing to nation building and are professionals. So I think we came in at the right time with the right blend of people and we are still killing it.”
Sometimes referred to as the “jack of all trades and master of none”, he has done almost anything from production to managing the affairs of the establishment. As such, he has remained loyal because for Cheeze, this is more than a job. Also, when he is on air, he is more than just the job description. He’s is the psychologist, boyfriend, teacher, the entertainer, the big brother, father and listener too.
“My first passion is being on air. Nothing beats the feeling when I switch on that mic and I get to speak to 300 000 people every day – then I’m good. I have done almost everything at Fresh, but I am more interested in watching people grow. There are people who were here and are now making it big.”
He adds that with the job comes a huge responsibility of always educating oneself about almost everything. While the agenda is always to discuss issues affecting the nation and surprisingly ‘relationships,’ as a radio personality Cheeze thanks the advanced technologies that keep him updated of things going on in the world.
“Your general knowledge, your current affairs; you need to be on top of the world. The world does not sleep so we need to be there too. So before I come to studio, I already know what I want to talk about. Your general knowledge also has to be on point because you cannot just come and talk nonsense. Also, the mistake that most presenters make is thinking the listeners are stupid. Don’t ever do that. I do not know everything but I try to learn everything so that I can inform people everywhere. If you do not know a topic, ask the listeners.”
He adds that in order to be a radio personality, one must be mature emotionally so need to be emotionally matured due to the traffic of engaging people from different backgrounds and a different approaches in interpreting subjects. However, this has not been a challenge to Cheeze as his work is enthused with passion. His loyalty to the course means being 24/7 at the job and the countless of sacrifices that comes in by default. “When I enter the doors of Fresh, I leave all my personal things behind because like for the next hours, I belong to the nation. I belong to Namibia and that’s the sacrifice I have to make.”
The part time comedian, motivational speaker and more known to own the podium at formal and informal functions advises that those who wish to pursue a career in the radio fraternity, besides their given charisma, should first go to school and the rest will fall into place.
Being in the industry for the industry for about 9 years now, Cheeze reveals that his dreams have grown bigger than just what he loves doing now. From the horse’s mouth – “my ultimate goal is to own my own radio station – my very own. But if I could buy ‘Fresh’ one day, I would give my left finger for it. So if you asked me where I would be 5 years from now, I either own, co-own or about to own a radio station. But I would still like to identify talent. I think I will forever be in radio whether it is on air or not, I will have my hand in radio for the next 20 years.”
He said this before sharing another character in him that is very far from the regular entertainer tag that he has carried is name on for some years now. The entertainer and bubbly DJ happened to be a ‘closet politician.’ “I am very passionate about the distribution of wealth. Also, I am frustrated by the pace at which change is taking place in this country. So maybe when in in my 60s, I would to go into politics but I would be the rare radical politician.”