By Angela St. Denis
Herma Demacque is one of St. Lucia’s most vibrant radio personalities. This 21-year old former National Carnival Queen contestant is inspired by the
soulful music of India Arie and Nina Simone, and the daily struggles of the ordinary man on the street. Two years ago when she started off in radio, she quickly began making waves and gained the admiration of her fans. A former member of the St. Lucia Youth Parliament, she participated in youth parliamentary debates on two occasions. A confident and eloquent speaker, Herma has big dreams and her aspirations know no bounds. Dazzle Magazine sat with her to get the vibes on what her journey has been like and how she has been enjoying life on the airwaves.
How would you describe Herma Demacque?
I am many things – an introvert but social when necessary; a voice that speaks up if everyone else is quiet. A creative soul interested in youth development.
HD and pageantry – how did you get involved in this?
Canaries needed a representative for Ms. Independence 2013 so with some encouragement I thought, why not. It was such a rewarding experience that the following year I participated in the National Carnival Queen pageant. Both experiences helped me discover many things about myself, while allowing me to develop on a personal level.
What were your aspirations growing up?
Fashion design and print journalism. I purchased a sewing machine with my first ever pay cheque, not having a clue how to sew. My brother and I used old tee shirts to figure out how the machine worked. Eventually, I took an online class to learn how to sew.
Today you are an announcer on The Wave. How were you introduced to radio?
My initial interest in radio was sparked while preparing for the queen show. I had an interview on The Wave with TC Brown and was impressed by his vibe and the way he handled the controls.
When WVent was opening, management contacted the National Youth Council (NYC) for young people, and I was recommended for an interview. I attended the interview on Wednesday, met the regional managers on Thursday and was on air by Friday.
Describe your first on-air experience.
It was frightening! For the first two weeks I felt like I was in over my head. To add to my trepidation, my co-host had a PhD while I was fresh out of college. I could not wrap my mind around what to say, so naturally I made errors. In an effort to improve I gained a serious appreciation for reading.
What do you love most about radio?
I am able to connect with my listeners despite being in an empty studio, and it gives me the opportunity to positively influence someone’s day. There are some listeners who call or send text messages so often that when we meet, it seems like we have known each other for ages.
Who are your biggest supporters?
Michael Rogers. He provides me with much needed guidance to improve the work that I do by pushing me to better my best. The sound engineer, Philgrim Louisy. He taught me a great deal about sound waves and production. My cousin, Joy Matt, in addition to being family she was my chaperone during both pageants. She is always that voice that says ‘you cannot give up.’ She introduced me to some of the best things I know.
What is most challenging for you?
When WVent ceased operations I transitioned to The Wave. Adjusting to the shift from talk radio to music radio; finding the balance of information to fit into one minute segments, and allowing the music to do the talking.
What is your response to people who say there is no place for radio?
We get into arguments. Radio is adaptable to all new media. We cannot watch TV or use the internet while driving but we can listen to the radio. Radio is not as lazy as TV since it engages the listener to conceptualise and interact in some way. When the power is off or disaster hits, we turn to radio for information.
It’s approaching two years since you started in radio. How has it influenced your life today?
It has taught me to be more selfless; never underestimate the power of the medium available to me. I am currently undertaking a programme in media and journalism at Monroe College. The courses I have studied thus far motivate me to want to be a better professional.
What would you say to a young person aspiring to get into the media/radio?
If you are sure this is what you wish to do, learn everything you can about your craft in order to perfect your skills. Build a strong network and prepare yourself for the opportunities.
What’s next for HD?
I have a number of projects in the pipeline personally and professionally. They range from youth development to new career opportunities in addition to radio. Whatever I do I intend to make a positive difference. A more active role in the NYC; in this regard I am considering an executive position.
As HD propels herself into the radio landscape, we anticipate that she will continue to be vocal about the causes she feels passionate about. Dazzle Magazine wishes her all the best!