5 Minutes with Cam Mansel

This week we caught up with local creative and radio announcer Cam Mansel to chat hosting a radio show and interviewing local and international talent over the years. 

You’ve been in the radio industry for years and you are currently hosting ZM’s Late Show – what’s your favourite part of having a radio show? 
My favourite part of hosting a radio show is sharing music. I love discovering new artists and sharing them with the listeners. Night time radio is great because there is more flexibility around what music we can play so it’s awesome to highlight some of those artists who wouldn’t usually get played on radio. I love interviewing artists and talking about their creative process and the back story of how a song was born. I find it fascinating that an artist can write a song about a personal experience they have had and it translates to a completely different situation in your own life, but still perfectly sums up how you are feeling. That’s the magic of music. Even in those moments where you think “nobody can relate to this” music makes you feel a little less alone. 

You’ve done a lot of cool interviews over the years with local and international creatives, do you have a highlight/some faves that come to mind? 
I have been super lucky with the interviews that I have done. I love introducing new local talent and I am super passionate about New Zealand music. We have some incredible kiwi artists that continue to release some incredible tunes. Navvy, Indyah, Thomston and Foley are a few of my favourite local acts who I have interviewed and absolutely love. In terms of international artists, Alessia Cara is always a stand out to me. I have interviewed her in New Zealand, Las Vegas and Spain, I have no idea how but every time I chat to her she remembered me and is the sweetest person on the planet. A massive career highlight was interviewing Billie Eilish, at the time she was 16 and it was before she blew up massively. I love her perspective on life and I think her family have been a massive influence on her continuing to be so grounded amongst the massive success she has had. 

Why Don’t We are another band that I have mad respect for, they’ve had their fair share of pressure and struggles in the industry but they’re always so friendly whenever I interview them. I feel like with some bands they put up a front or seem a bit “too cool” but Why Don’t We are 5 guys who love music, love making music and really do appreciate their fans. This is becoming a novel… but I gotta mention Mimi Webb. She is a relatively new artist but I know she is going to be HUGE! She has such a beautiful voice, I love the fact she is so humble and really does appreciate everything that is happening for her. If you haven’t heard any of her music I highly recommend you check it out! She is a superstar. 

Did you always want to get into an industry like radio when you were growing up and what did you study? 
When I was a kid I always had high hopes of becoming an actor. I absolutely loved drama in school and loved getting involved with school productions. Originally I thought I would get a degree in communication and then do some kind of acting or drama on the side. I studied a Bachelor of Communication and loved learning about all the different parts of radio. When I first went to radio school I always thought that there was just the people that talked on the radio and they had a boss but there are so many other roles within the radio industry that keep everything rolling. I fell in love with radio and haven’t ever looked back. Who knows maybe one day I will find myself back on the stage but for now I am really enjoying being behind the microphone. 

Can you share something that may surprise people about the behind the scenes of working in radio? 
Such a great question, I am sure there are a lot of things that may surprise people about the behind the scenes of working in radio. Probably the number one thing is that the radio hosts don’t actually choose the music that plays. There is a lot of research done behind the scenes to help decide which songs will and won’t work on air. If you don’t like a particular song a radio station is playing you can fill in a survey on their website and vote for the songs you do like and say which songs you don’t like. It’s a win win for everyone because it helps us decide which music we should play and for the listener it means you will hear less of the songs you don’t like. 

Where would we find you in your spare time? 
[Laughs] Well at the moment you’ll find me at my house or at the park having a picnic with my friends, in normal times you would find me at a concert. I LOVE live music and it’s the thing I have missed the most during the pandemic. I try to go to as many concerts as I can, it’s to the point now where I can’t remember all the shows that I have been to. In hindsight I really wish I wrote a list of all the concerts or kept the tickets as a memento. I also love running, it is so good for your mental health to put some tunes on and get out of the house in covid times. 

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 
I think the best advice is to just be yourself. You are the only you on this planet and that is pretty cool. Sometimes it’s hard to find the confidence to just be yourself in a world where there are so many expectations but the truth is when you start living life for you it becomes a lot more enjoyable. 

First thing you want to do when we’re able to get out of these restrictions? 
I am really looking forward to going to the cinema, I really want to see Dune with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya and of course No Time To Die, the latest James Bond film. I also love an international trip but I think it might be a bit longer before I venture overseas. Also super keen to go to a theme park, it feels like a lifetime since I’ve been on a log flume and to be honest there is nothing that excites me more than a log flume. 

You can catch Cam weeknights on ZM’s Late Show.