Miho Kumagai, Nippon Broadcasting System, “Why I, a Member of Generation Z, Love Radio” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Miho Kumagai, Nippon Broadcasting System, “Why I, a Member of Generation Z, Love Radio”

The 25-year-old, affectionately called "Kumachan" by listeners, talks about her passion for radio.

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Miho Kumagai / Born January 31, 1997, raised in Akita, Japan, Miho Kumagai has been an announcer for Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. since April 2019. Currently, she is in charge of “Tadashi Kakihana: Happy with You! which airs live from Monday to Thursday at 8:00 a.m. He is also an assistant on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Photo by Katsuhiko Hanamura)

Radio media has successfully integrated with the Internet through such means as “radiko,” “podcasts,” and unique subscriber content, and even in the age of Reiwa, radio media still has a strong presence.

FRIDAY photographed and interviewed four Nippon Broadcasting System announcers who are active at the center of this media.

Following the previous interview with Ichika Shingyo, the second interview is with 25-year-old Miho Kumagai, in her fourth year with the company.

She says, “Actually, I made my first radio appearance when I was in nursery school.

What kind of life with radio has this “Generation Z” announcer led?

FRIDAY Subscription” (paid site) is now showing a special interview and special photos of Miho Kumagai talking about her “love of radio”!

A “legend” on her first radio appearance

Miho Kumagai, a Japanese children’s radio announcer, says, “My first radio appearance was when I was in preschool, not as an announcer of course (laughs), but on TBS Radio’s “National Children’s Telephone Consultation Room. There was a project to solicit haiku from children during the summer vacation, so I applied for it as a trial, and to my surprise, I was selected, and I got a call during the live broadcast! And the teacher that day was Mr. Rokusuke Ei, who answered the children’s questions. To be honest, at the time I didn’t understand how great Rokusuke Ei was, but I remember my father, who loved the radio, was delighted.

Under the influence of his family, he continued to become familiar with the radio through the CD component at home and in the car on the way to and from school.

She remembers pretending to be a radio personality and playing “radio show” at home, just like playing make-believe. It was quite natural for Kumagai to want to become a radio announcer as a career.

Radio has always been a part of her life since she was a child.

In college, I joined the broadcasting research club’s announcing club, and in parallel with that, I attended ‘TV Asahi ASK,’ an announcing school, for one year during my first year of college. I felt that wasn’t enough, so from my sophomore year to my senior year, I went to another private announcement school. I think I did a lot of preparation and lessons to become an announcer.

Since his college days, he has devoted much of his time to improving his announcing skills. And then came the crucial job-hunting period.

I was desperate to become an announcer, so of course I applied to TV stations as well. But I really wanted to be a radio announcer. I didn’t really want to show my face. I was happy to have my picture taken, like today.

I entered many stations from Hokkaido to Okinawa. But even if I was going to enter a TV station, I was more interested in whether or not the station also broadcasts on the radio,” he said.

Thinking of the faces of listeners

Her strong desire was fulfilled, and she got her long-cherished job at Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. However, no matter how much training she had received as a student, she was still at a loss at first in the real world of radio.

I had practiced public speaking a lot, but as a radio announcer, you don’t have listeners sitting right in front of you. So in the beginning, I felt like I was speaking only in my own world. …… That’s definitely not a good thing. I was advised by my seniors to do it with the faces of the listeners in mind.

So I started to pay attention to the age and occupation on the postcards and emails I receive.” If it says “50s, male, truck driver,” I imagine that person behind the wheel (laughs). So I hope that even just a little bit, you can feel as if you are communicating directly with me.

She says she learns every day from the advice of senior announcers (photo by Katsuhiko Hanamura).

At first, I was scared every time I heard the director’s instructions in my earpiece. I was also scared every time I heard the director’s instructions in my earphones at first. The director’s instructions came through my ear, but at first I would look at the director every time. Don’t look at me!” I was often told. Now I can talk normally while listening to the director’s instructions, and sometimes, when I hear an instruction, I even dare to say something like, “Oh, the director is saying this now…” I’ve gotten used to it (laughs). (laughs).

Radio is interesting because of its “blank spaces

Kumagai’s love for radio has only increased in her four years with the company.

Radio is really made by a small group of people. There is a director, a writer, an AD, a mixer, and even if you add the personalities and announcers, there are still five or so people. Because there are so few people, each person has a big role to play, and teamwork is very important.

In order to build a relationship of trust and to encourage communication, I usually ask the staff a lot of questions. This is true for the content of the program, as well as for the technical aspects of radio. Most importantly, many of the staff members are older than me and are of a similar generation to many of the radio listeners. I think that learning about the interests of the senior staff through conversation will lead to learning about the interests of the radio listeners.

Announcer Miho Kumagai (Photo by Katsuhiko Hanamura)

Lastly, we asked her about the unique appeal of radio in her opinion.

There are many good things about radio, but I think the best thing about radio is the “blank space” (……).

Because there is no visual information on the radio, there are many “gaps” that can be left to the listener’s imagination. Even the program scripts are rather rough (laughs). (Laughs.) But listeners’ comments and teasing can be heard in these “gaps”. I think the fun of radio is that you never know how things will turn out, and in a good sense, it is that kind of looseness. I think this kind of gap makes it easy for listeners to participate by sending e-mails and postcards, and to feel as if they are creating the program together with us.

Now that it is summer vacation, we receive many e-mails from elementary and junior high school students. I hope that not only the children who send us e-mails but also those who are listening to the radio for the first time during this summer vacation will understand the appeal of the radio, so I try to read their e-mails proactively.

I want them to know how happy I am when they read my mail on the radio, and how much the topic of conversation can expand from a single letter from you.
I would be more than happy if the children who receive these messages become listeners for the next 10 to 20 years.

Profile of Miho Kumagai
Miho Kumagai
Born on January 31, 1997. Born in Akita Prefecture.
After graduating from the School of Cultural Planning at Waseda University, she began working as an announcer for Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. in April 2019.
Currently in charge of the program “Tadashi Kakihana Happy with You! (broadcast live every Monday-Thursday morning from 8:00 a.m.) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and “Udo no Rajio” (every Friday from 3:30 p.m.).
He is good at playing the flute and has an absolute sense of pitch. Her flute performance is often shown on the program.
Official blog “Kumagai Miho Colorful Diary
Official Twitter @kumagaimiho131

Miho Kumagai, an announcer, talks about her “love for radio” in a special interview and special photos on “FRIDAY Subscription” (paid site)!

  • Photographed by Katsuhiko Hanamura Stylist Akane Matsushima Hair & Make-up Shiho Kato

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