Date of Birth: 16th May 1995
Where do you live? In B’Buġia
Status: In a relationship
Star Sign: Taurus
Main Occupation: Presenter on the Breakfast Show on 89.7 Bay
YLENIA SPITERI’s interest in radio started when she was just a child. It’s a Maltese custom that on a child’s first birthday, a number of items are placed in front of the child. The item that he/she chooses is meant to represent the career that he/she will eventually pursue.
This family event is known as a child’s quċċija. Ylenia’s dad decided that amongst all the things that were to be placed in front of her, he would also include a set of headphones which he used to use when he was a DJ himself. Her mum had hoped that she would grab the rolling pin so she would become a chef, but funnily enough, she picked the headphones. “Whether it’s coincidence or not, here I am today presenting Malta’s number one Breakfast Show,” explained Ylenia with a smile on her face.
Her dad used to own a radio station and that’s where her career in this industry began. “I was only eight years old when I first started working in radio, co-hosting a kids’ show. In my teen days, I then moved to having my own weekend show and I would host the drive time Friday Special. My career with 89.7 Bay began when my father came across their adverts saying that they were looking for presenters. He ‘forced’ me to send in my demo, and the following day I was offered to join their team for the weekend show. I can’t believe just how fast everything has evolved since then. It’s a wonderful honour to have the opportunity to work for Malta’s number one radio station.”
Ylenia added, “I can’t even describe how nervous I was on my first day. It was a Saturday morning and all I could feel were butterflies in my tummy. I started off with the Saturday and Sunday shows, and after four months, I was offered the Brunch to Lunch from Monday to Friday. It was very exciting for me, because even though I would be doing the same thing as I was doing over the weekend, it was my full time job as a presenter. I was only eighteen when I started hosting the daily show and at the time I couldn’t imagine anything better than that.”
“At the beginning of 2015, I was called into the Programme Manager’s office and I was absolutely terrified. It’s unusual that we get called in by the Programme Manager and Station Manager, and all I could think was that I must have done something wrong during my show. Little did I know that they were going to offer me Malta’s number one Breakfast Show. I was absolutely thrilled and surprised, as this was going to be the very first female solo presenter for 89.7 Bay’s Breakfast show,” added Ylenia.
Over the past months, Ylenia has received a lot of training and guidance and has had the pleasure of working with and be trained by British radio guru Nick Goodman, which was a very beneficial experience.
“I must say, it’s been very intense and even difficult at times. A lot of effort and time was required to make sure that I would be able to succeed and there have been times when I wanted to give up. I’m lucky and have always had the right support from my family, my boyfriend, friends and colleagues. My journey has now begun, and I am loving every single minute of it. Many people say that it’s difficult to find a job which is also your hobby, but I can honestly say that my job is also my passion.”
Can you describe your state of mind while presenting?
It’s very difficult to describe my state of mind while presenting, because there is just so much happening during the Breakfast Show. My priority when I get into the studio is the audience. I always want to make sure that I give what my listeners want to hear. Before I say anything live, I always ask myself, “If I were listening to Bay right now, would I find this interesting/helpful?”
What sound or noise do you love?
It may sound weird to you, but my favourite (and yet also the one I hate the most) is the sound of an airplane when I’m travelling abroad. That’s because I’m in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, who lives in the UK. The sound of the airplane makes me happy because I know that I’m only a few hours away from seeing him again. Yet, it also makes me break down in tears, because it’s also the sound I hear when I have to leave.
If you could DJ alongside anyone, who would that be with?
It would be my dream to be able to host a show with Sam Smith in the studio. I’d surely be star struck throughout the whole four hours of the show, but I couldn’t imagine a better guest to have on the show. I’ve already got my first question ready – “Why didn’t you reply my tweet?!”. On 1st November, 2014, I had bought tickets to see him. I travelled to the UK, and just one hour before his show, he cancelled it. I tweeted him saying that I had come all the way from Malta to see him, but he simply ignored me.
Besides music, what are some of the things you cherish in life?
Music is indeed an important part of my life, but of course I cherish many other things. My family, for example, have been my number one fans from the very beginning and I always make it a point to give back to them what they’ve given to me. My boyfriend is my rock, and I am so grateful for what he does. I cherish each and every memory I have with him.
What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled on someone?
I am ashamed to say this, but I am not the best prankster. Unfortunately, most of my pranks have never worked out because I always get caught, either because they aren’t that good or because I would start laughing and giving the game away.
What’s the fashion item you couldn’t live without?
I can’t live without my jeans. I have 55 pairs of jeans and to me they’re like a second skin.