Radio DJ Rod Monteiro moves back to S'pore, returns to station that axed him, Latest Music News - The New Paper

Radio DJ Rod Monteiro moves back to S'pore, returns to station that axed him

It is a double homecoming for veteran local radio DJ Rod Monteiro.

Not only has he moved back to Singapore since relocating to Kuala Lumpur almost a decade ago to work at Astro Radio's Mix FM, but he has also rejoined the radio station that fired him in 2013.

Back then, he was part of the crew of The Married Men, a top-rated morning show on One FM 91.3, previously known as Hot FM 91.3.

After they played an inappropriate pre-recorded telephone prank on a listener, Monteiro as well as DJs Andre Hoeden, Shaun Tupaz and Jillian Lim had their contracts with SPH UnionWorks terminated. SPH UnionWorks had operated 91.3 and was later renamed SPH Radio.

One of them had posed as an embassy officer and contacted a woman who was going to study early childhood education. Advice was then given on how to beat children – especially the poor ones whose parents cannot afford to engage lawyers. 

In 2021, Monteiro had six months left on his contract with Astro when One FM programme director Bernard Lim, his former boss during his Mediacorp radio days, helped him with this new gig.

From April 23, he will host his new show on Saturday mornings from 8am to noon.

Monteiro, 55, feels "very lucky" to have come full circle.

He tells The Straits Times: "It's so nice and awesome to be welcomed with open arms. There are so many familiar faces and old friends - it's like a big family reunion."

They include Hoeden, Tupaz and Jillian Lim - who were also rehired over the years - as well as his former on-air partners such as Glenn Ong and The Flying Dutchman.

Monteiro admits: "I'm sore about certain things and it did affect me, but these are good lessons I've learnt, so I just move on. It hasn't hit me yet that I'm back at where they cancelled my contract, but it's a positive feeling."

After parting ways with One FM, Astro offered him the Mix FM morning show job "almost immediately", which was why he made the big shift across the Causeway with his wife Joyce, a 49-year-old housewife, and son Darion, 20.

Monteiro says: "I like to put the sails up, and where the wind takes me, I go."

The radio DJ, who suffered a stroke in 2012 and which until now causes him to have fainting spells if he overexerts himself at night, calls the turn of events a blessing in disguise.

"I needed to feed my family and have always wanted to explore Malaysia's radio scene. It is highly professional and competitive. If you are not performing and ratings drop, you're out. So it keeps you on your toes all the time. You can't slack," he says.

"I feel like I matured there. My audience numbered 1.3 million and we had callers from all over the country - from Penang to Sabah to Kuantan."

Even after moving back to Singapore, he has maintained his ties with Astro by hosting Lite FM's shows on Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 8am remotely. He will continue to do so while he is at One FM.

He also felt it was time to return to Singapore as Darion is enlisting in national service this year and Monteiro wants to spend more time with his 85-year-old mother.

In 2020, his father died in his sleep at the age of 84 and he did not get to say goodbye due to Covid-19 border restrictions.

The Monteiros now call a five-room Housing Board flat in Punggol home and are in the midst of selling their three-storey house in Kuala Lumpur.

As for his new show, Monteiro says listeners can expect the same humorous jock as before and jokes he has "no direction, idea or plan".

He is also psyching himself up to switch back to flying solo, as he has had partners for the past 20-plus years.

"It's quite tough, it's like talking to yourself like a mad fella," he says with a chuckle. "I'm saying something, and I'm looking up, nobody's answering me. I just cracked a joke and it's just silence."

Will he play it safe this time round?

"I just want to go out there and feel it and try and push the boundaries again. We can't help it, we're radio DJs. Our job is on the line every day. When you turn on the mic, you have to anticipate getting fired because you said something controversial," he says.

He adds: "When handling a topic or deciding what I want to convey to the audience, can I or do I want to crack a funny? Or does it deserve something from the heart? What I learnt from Malaysian radio is to honour the reality.

"All of us know there's a line - push the line lah. If I keep thinking of this and that, then I'll just be doing it for the sake of having a job."

Neither is he concerned about being cancelled by social media, which did not wield as much power back in 2013. In fact, he can find out online immediately whether what he says on air is right or wrong.

He says: "Failure is the best teacher. We (at The Married Men) lost our jobs, but everyone bounced back."