Seneca grads KiSS radio success
Toronto tunes in to Seneca talents
Mocha Frap (left) and Kayla Pappaianni both went from Seneca's Broadcasting — Radio program to working at KiSS 92.5 in Toronto.
Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, chances are you’ve dialed in to one of Seneca’s Broadcasting — Radio grads working on air.
One of them sounds like a beverage. That is, if you Googled him, you’d get Starbucks. In fact, Mocha Frap does order mocha drinks from Starbucks, making for an interesting conversation when baristas ask him for a name to write on the cup.
“It's a lot of back and forth before they either give up or just aren't bothered with me,” says the co-host of the popular Roz & Mocha Show on KiSS 92.5.
While Mocha has enjoyed a 20-year career in radio, radio didn’t come to him easily in the beginning. Out of high school, he took the then-required entrance test to Seneca. He failed. Because his father had insisted on him being in school, Mocha took general courses at another college instead. He tried Seneca again the following year and was accepted.
“I wanted to go to Seneca,” he says. “I’d heard lots of good things about the program and I’d known I wanted to be in radio since I was 16 years old. That was my only focus in life.”
After his first year, Mocha contacted every radio station in Toronto about unpaid internship opportunities. No one emailed him back.
“I was kind of hurt,” he recalls. “Here I was, willing to give up my summer and work for free.”
Luckily, Mocha had also contacted stations in Buffalo and New York. One of them called him for an interview.
“I literally hopped on a bus and went down to New York for the weekend,” says Mocha, who ended up getting an unpaid internship in Manhattan for more than three months, during which he stayed with his uncle in Queens.
“I was doing everything and anything, including promotions, and I soaked up a lot of information,” he says. “You think you know what radio is all about until you work there and you see what it takes behind the scenes.”
When he returned to his second year with more knowledge and experience than his classmates, Mocha worked even harder to get ahead. Before graduating in 1999, he tagged along with a friend from Seneca who was working at KiSS at the time and handed out his resumé at the station.
Due to his persistence in following up with people, Mocha, who’s also a DJ, was eventually called upon to operate the system overnight. For three months, he worked the overnight shift at KiSS, went to school in the morning and worked at the Bay during the day.
Shortly after Seneca, Mocha landed a job with KiSS. He has since covered every on-air shift around the clock, worked in Calgary and Kitchener before returning to KiSS in Toronto in 2009.
When asked what gets him up in the morning, he says, “I love music, I love the people I work with and I love my job. It’s the most fun you ever have and so much of what I learned, I learned while at Seneca.”
Often finishing her shift before Mocha’s show at the crack of dawn is another radio grad, Kayla Pappaianni.
Before she knew what a demo tape was, Kayla used to love hearing her own voice on the radio. Nowadays, the KiSS presenter says she cringes whenever she hears her own demo tapes.
While Kayla knew at a young age she loved music and pop culture, it took her exactly nine years in postsecondary education to find her way to radio.
She first came to Seneca for Pre-Media and Journalism programs. Finishing both, Kayla went on to study social science at York University, earning a bachelor’s degree. Still unsure what to do for a career, she returned to Seneca’s Broadcasting — Radio program.
“I was like a forever student and I have absolutely no regrets about that,” she says. “If I hadn’t done what I did, maybe I wouldn’t end up in radio.”
Last year, Kayla was one of three Seneca students who interned at KiSS for three months. Following graduation, a program director at KiSS heard her demo and offered her work at the station. She now works three overnight shifts during the week and two weekend morning shifts. She’s also a “swing” presenter and a content provider. Her new segment, Kayla’s Pop KiSS, features a one-minute rundown of the latest in pop culture.
“Radio is the tip of everything for me,” she says. “The teachers at Seneca were amazing. They taught me so much and kept me grounded. I used to have an anxiety about public speaking, but that faded during my internship, which really broke me out of my shell.”
As for her favourite part of the job, “Listeners are what makes you,” Kayla says. “They’ll just call for a conversation and I love that.”