Every day from 8pm to the next day’s daybreak at 2am is the world of Super Junior, who have 3 radio shows. From 8 to 10 it’s SBS’s Kim Heechul’s Youngstreet, and then the baton is passed to KBS 2FM’s Super Junior’s Kiss the Radio from 10 until midnight. The final runner is Shindong. He breaks the silence from midnight to dawn the next day with MBC standard FM’s “Shindong and Kim Shinyeong’s Shimshimtapa”, which energetically finishes the race.
They hold a meaningful record. Leeteuk and Eunhyuk have been hosting their program for 3 years and 8 months, holding the record amongst idol DJs. By surviving the 2010 KBS spring radio staff changes, they achieved a new record.
They are not an idol group that has to always be looking for new things, they haven’t given up on what’s been classified as “old media”*. We found out about the joys and sorrows and behind the scenes stories of Super Junior, who’ve been following the philosophy of “going where other groups don’t go” since their debut in 2005.
– What do you think is the charm of radio?
▲ Leeteuk: There are people who call the TV an “idiot box” because people tend to just vacantly watch it and laugh and enjoy themselves. On the other hand, on the radio, both the DJ and listeners share their own thoughts, and unlike with TV, they can participate in a much bigger space.
▲ Shindong: They’re similar but with radio, more than with TV, the relationship between the DJ and the listener is important. Response comes really quickly so that’s good. While you’re DJing you really learn a lot.
-What do you think the reason is that Super Junior members receive more attention than other idol group members?
▲ Leeteuk: Most of our members are involved in variety so we’ve got an image as being funny and good talkers. I feel like we have a lot of really talented members, and we have a preference for broadcasting.
▲ Eunhyuk: Radio’s charm is its openness. If you listen at a high volume then you can hear even a whisper. But compared to other idol group members, Super Junior members have been showing a down-to-earth and honest image since our debut, which is appealing.
– But there’s also a serious prejudice against DJs who’ve come from idol backgrounds. Some people have pointed out that because they see that the DJs have little experience, listeners might be less likely to tell their stories openly and they might treat them with less respect. Have you had experiences like this where you’ve felt people’s disapproving stares? How do you try to overcome it?
▲ Leeteuk: Singers from idol backgrounds get criticism for our inexperience. Therefore we make an effort to read books and search on the internet and keep watch so that we can fix things. The most important thing is thinking “There are a lot of things I don’t know” and that I have to go out of my way to fix that.
“Super Junior Kiss the Radio” is the longest running radio show run by idols. What’s your secret?
▲ Leeteuk: It’s probably because there’s two of us doing it together that possible situations haven’t occured. For example if Eunhyuk gets sick, I can work a little harder, and if my waist’s hurting so I need to rest for awhile, Eunhyuk can back me up.
– You broadcast every week, 5 times a week. Also since the four of you broadcast from 8 to midnight, and since you’re still young and should be having a good time at those times, there must be times when you don’t like doing it [broadcasting].
▲ Shindong: To be honest when I’m doing the radio, I grow apart a little from my friends. But it’s not a big problem. To be honest even though I finish at 2am, the time everyone goes home is not definite, but other friends go til midnight so it’s okay. We often call each other at the radio station (laughter)
– There must be times when you want to stop doing radio.
▲ Leeteuk: Some sunbaes, including Danny hyung, have said that after 2 years of DJing there’s always a crisis and after 2 years passed I did want out. It can be too tiring and having to come out every day can be burdensome. If you broadcast a radio show, even if you have to record it, the fact is you’re somewhat restrained. Although sometimes doing radio used to be a burden, now that 3 years have passed we feel like it’s our playground.
▲ Heechul: If you’re hosting on your own, if you get a cold or the flu, it’s really difficult. In the situation of getting a cough, your voice can become totally unpleasant to the listeners, so you have to cough and go “I’m really sorry”. Even if you don’t speak for 3 seconds it’s a big problem for the radio broadcasting, and when you’re suffering physiologically it’s even worse. Therefore if you feel a cough coming on, you have to “laugh while coughing secretly until it passes” and it can be really difficult. But if the story’s sad, you can’t laugh while coughing so you’re in a difficult situation.
– It’s become the trend to have two DJs on a radio show. In Heechul’s case, you’re broadcasting on your own but is there any celebrity you’d like to broadcast together wtih?
▲ Heechul: Trax member Jay. We’re close but in my case I’m not very good at keeping things in order so I need someone to control me. I don’t always listen to others very well but Jay and Super Junior’s Donghae seem to be able to control me in that kind of situation. Sonyeoshidae’s Jessica too.
– When you’re hosting a radio show, what is the hardest time?
▲ Shindong: Lately now that Shinyoung noona isn’t around, it’s been the most difficult. At first our characters clashed so we had to adjust our style which was difficult so I was really worried, but once we started broadcasting we really worked well together. She even received my mistakes well. We really worked in harmony so adjusting to a new partner is a little worrying. (Currently a replacement for Kim Shinyoung has yet to be found)
▲ Eunhyuk: Entertainers have to take time for self improvement but when you’re broadcasting a radio show every day you lack time so it’s difficult. For example lately Super Junior’s preparing an album but we’re also doing radio every day so sadly there are times when we lack the time to learn choreography and practice.
– In Heechul’s case, you’re competing for the same listeners with your agency’s hoobae Taeyeon of Soneyoshidae’s “Chin Chin Radio”. Isn’t this bothersome?
▲ Heechul: Not really. I don’t know how she feels but personally I’ve never cared about rivalries, whether I’ve been broadcasting or performing. It’s because I believe it’s most important for me to do what I want to do in a free and fun way. To intervene in the business of others around me sometimes makes me get in trouble. If I work hard then my efforts will produce good and if I don’t try hard then I’ll cause myself trouble. Because I think like that, I have a principle that I should concentrate more on my issues than that of others.
▲ Leeteuk: Heechul’s broadcasting style has a very open feeling. It must be very comfortable for young people to listen to.
▲Shindong: Heechul’s biggest strength is that he never shows nervousness. Even though he’s hosting radio, he sometimes does bora** so it feels like watching TV with a dynamic aspect. In terms of Leeteuk hyung and Eunhyuk, they’re really good at talking. They treat their guests really well. That kind of thing is really cool.
▲ Eunhyuk: In situations like Shindong hyungs, his energy with Kim Shinyoung’s works well together. Broadcasting at midnight means you have to think outside the box of being calm and relaxed, so when I listen to their broadcast my emotions always feel better so that’s good.
▲ Heechul: In Sukira’s case, Leeteuk and Eunhyuk have abilities that I don’t. They manage their broadcast really well. They lead a really relaxed show. In terms of me, I’m an interesting talker but I also explode and get sad and totally depressed etc, so my moods are all over the place and I get anxious. Therefore I tend to think that “I could be the best guest, but not the best MC”. But I think that people like Leeteuk have the right stuff to be the best MC. In terms of Shindong, he puts his guests at ease. Whether his guests are talking or his listeners are telling stories, he always ad-libs well.
– MBC changes their DJs once a year for a day. On the day of this event, without concern for the broadcaster, what program would you like to take on?
▲ Heechul: If there’s a DJ changing day, Super Junior members should DJ and guest on each others’ shows so we could talk to each other. For example I could DJ at 8, and Leeteuk and Eunhyuk could come out as guests, and then at 10 Leeteuk and Eunhyuk could DJ and I’d guest on “Sukira”. And on Shindong’s hosted program, other members could come to guest. But the timing would be impossible (laughter)
– Is there a listener that you particularly remember?
▲ Eunhyuk: In Sukira’s case, there was a listener couple who got married. At the broadcast they confessed their love so they became a couple and have had a child since.
▲ Leeteuk: Last year on our April Fools Day broadcast there was one listener story that I remember. On April Fools Day when their math teacher came into the classroom, all the students in a class demanded “Teacher please take off your pants” so the teacher was embarrassed but then he realised that there was a pair of pants hanging on the blackboard. Later on the students said “Teacher, please take the penis out of [the/your] pants” so the teacher was embarrassed again but then he found that there was a red pepper inside the pants that were hanging on the blackboard****. This story was told during a live broadcast so we really started to sweat. When you’re hosting a show, if you make a mistaken comment when someone tells a raunchy story, you might get censored so you have to be really cautious.
▲ Shindong: I remember a couple who were just about to leave for their honeymoon. The couple were passing through Yeoido neighbourhood so I said “Please come” and so we did an impromptu interview. There are a lot of couples who call in.
– Do you ever think of changing Sukira’s ending concept? There are listeners who are a little bored of the farewell kiss.
▲ Leeteuk: We do it because of our program’s tone. If you don’t change it’s good. There are times when we’re embarrassed when we do it. But because of listeners who tune in just to hear that sound… (laughter)
– Are there Radio sunbaes who are your role models?
▲ Leeteuk: Lee Geumhee sunbaenim. She does a lot of impersonations. She’s very gripping and powerful. If you’re listening to the radio while driving and she’s hosting, you can hear her doing “One Story”. Her voice is good and her intro song is very different than that of other DJs and it’s fresh.
▲ Shindong: I admire Choi Yangrak sunbaenim. The line he uses on radio “Anyway anyhow” is really great. He can use it in any situation to segue. Once I tried “That’s good”****, so when I introduce a sad story I say “Yes, that’s good”**** which makes it really ambiguous.
– From now on what kind of DJ do you want to be? What is your dream in terms of being a DJ?
▲ Eunhyuk: While I’m still young I hope to host an interesting program like “Cult Show”. But, later on when I get older, I’d like to take on a music show like “Bae Chulsoo’s Music Camp.”
▲ Leeteuk: Before I go to the army and even after I come back I want to do radio. I’ve been listening to the radio since I was in second year of elementary school so the radio has always been part of my life. To be honest I’m kind of a melancholy person. Therefore it’d be more fitting my personality if I could take on a music show in the early morning.
▲ Shindong: Even if I can’t get a gold (MBC Radio’s 20 year hosting anniversary award), I’d definitely like to receive a Bronze Mouse (for 10 years of hosting).
▲ Heechul: I want to become the kind of DJ who can talk straight while being original, but not cross the line. So I want to make the type of radio shows that people will say only Kim Heechul can make. This is my philosophy.
*Old media = radio broadcasting.
** Bora = Visible radio. When a video is taken or live stream is shown of what’s going on in the studio while a radio show is broadcast.
****The students used 고추, which means both “red pepper” and “penis” in Korean.
***** This is said in the most formal of speech levels.
Translated by ♥ jubee ♥ @ sjworld.net
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