Think Marketing Interview with NRP’s “Akram Hosny” AKA “Abu Hafiza”

Akram Hosny is a radio and Television presenter. He started his a career at Nogoum FM radio station. His first television appearance was in “The 25th Hour News” program where he presented the comic character of “Sayed Aby Hafiza.”

He satirically criticized the social, political and economic conditions in Egypt. The program was a big hit and audiences were strongly attached to it. It’s worth mentioning, Akram Hosny graduated from the Police Academy and started his life as a police officer, but soon after changed his career and headed to the audio and visual media

You started off in the police academy and then transitioned to radio, what was the objective behind this shift in career?

My purpose was to do something I love, I had worked for about 10 years after I graduated college, and I was feeling neutral during this years, neither upset nor excited. When I decided to make this shift, I did it because I believed life is too short and not worth wasting on something I was not genuinely passionate about. Simple as that. So I took the decision to follow what I love and proceeded from there.

The beginning of your career started with Radio Star – you made it to the final 2 from an original pool of 3,000 applicants – so what did you feel throughout the Radio Star process and experience?

It was an extremely crucial experience – I consider it one of the most fundamental things that happened in my life. First off, it changed my understanding in that it made me realize that work does not require a “connection,” I entered the contest convinced that they have a pre-determined decision as to whom from the contestants they will pick as the winner.

However, when I discovered that with every level I succeed, I enter a new one, and so, I noticed that hard work does indeed pay off, you simply need to work hard and the rest is up to God’s will. Second, it taught me from the beginning of my path in the media that I need to pay attention to every single little detail because there is no room for error, no one has the tolerance or the mercy.

No excuses are allowed. You are required to deliver all that you have, and so, my philosophy now pushes me to always give 100% in every piece of work I encounter. In a nutshell, the experience was integral, I accredit it to all my current success and all my coming success.

As you have mentioned, there were valuable lessons that you have learned from the Radio Star experience, do you feel that were you to get the chance to go back in time, you would have changed certain things or hoped you were aware and knowledgeable of certain things that could have better prepared you for the process?

Frankly, no. And here’s why – in every step we take, we learn. Had I had the experience I have now back then, I would have needed to learn more. The idea is that I don’t wish to have known something specific 13 years ago; to me, it’s an idea of being open to continuously learning.

My transition from a police officer to a radio anchor was packed with some details related to the style of work: as a radio anchor, I had to hit the streets with my microphone to find the information, whereas in my previous work in the academy, I was luxuriously comfortable behind a desk where the information was delivered to me as I remain seated.

During that phase, I wanted to eliminate any hesitation I had to put in the hard work or extra effort that I wasn’t used to putting in my police work. I began to follow a mindset of “do what the lowest anchor does.” The conviction and humbleness in learning and accepting the prospect of learning new skills or information from literally anyone, regardless of their age, occupation level or such.

What were some of the largest obstacles you faced throughout your career and how did you overcome them?

My first problem was a personal one, it was the issue where it was very difficult for my family and the people around me to accept my decision to shift my career at the age of 30 something. As for my work problems, they were centered on challenges, challenges in the media sector as it is packed with competitors and highly capable individuals that make your success that much harder to reach.

So for me, the obstacle was in how do I stand out from this crowd of talented individuals? My first response to addressing this question was sticking to my natural self; I forced myself to refrain from mimicking others and stuck to my own unique mix. The other response was to never be stingy with giving effort; as long as there is an opportunity for me to work hard and work on myself, I did so.

Regarding your current show, “Lel Regal Faqat” (For Men Only), what message do you wish to deliver through this show?

So that I do not exaggerate the topic, there is no fundamental message we wish to deliver. The purpose behind it is to deliver a light, humorous, and social show that shallowly discusses social cases in their most simple form. The intention is not to depress women or send a negative vibe, when we get a little crazy with our humor and tease the ladies out there, it’s only to reach our audience and make the conversation entertaining and light-hearted. The essence is to tackle topics that every family in Egypt experiences and create a fun experience for the listener in tuning in to our discussion of it.

In general, and most relevant with this show, my role is not to resolve problems, I simply shed light on it. In my years of experience I learned that when you try to deliver a topic to the public in the form of informational tips and advice, they fear away, but if you try make them laugh and use humor to deliver that same piece of advice, they will open their hearts to it and begin to reflect upon it. I consider humorous means the most effective means in delivering a message.

For the younger generation looking to enter the radio industry, what are the most vital pieces of advice you would like to relay to them?

Just a while ago I was in a meeting with this year’s Radio Star contestants and in a nutshell, my advice to them was simple the following: be yourself. Do not hold back with any of your energy, efforts, intelligence, and talents. This is the time for you to give everything that you have and leave all you hard work on the plate with no regrets.

And in doing so, do not try to be someone that you are not. Do not be pressured to imitate some successful radio anchor to achieve your success, if you want to be admired and receive the genuine support and love of the public, you have to win them over with the true ingredients of your unique mix.

People will be more drawn to you when they see your natural side and relate to your personal quirks. Everyone has their own style and charisma, and it is your job to make yours visible and put all the hard work in, then leave the rest of the story for fate to write it for you.

“The interview conducted over the phone with Akram Hosni on January 9th by Haidi Lala”

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