A few months ago we got the biggest shock of our life. Khalid Malik decided to bid farewell to his radio show on FM89: The Breakfast Show, leaving his listeners distraught – and that’s not an overstatement. The morning drives weren’t going to be the same again. And waking up was going to be even more difficult. But hundreds of droopy faces and withdrawals from a 10-year long relationship wasn’t going to stop Malik from moving ahead.
But it wasn’t easy to bid farewell and Malik was back on airwaves soon after, but that wasn’t the only thing making news. Khalid has delved in acting from time to time; his most recent work includes Laa and Khalilur Rehman Qamar’s ongoing drama serial, Mohabbat Tum Se Nafrat Hai. But, we have a hunch, one of his most profound performance is on its way from the sets of Baaghi – a biopic based on Qandeel Baloch – where he spent the last few weeks in the company of Saba Qamar and Osman Khalid Butt.
First let’s talk about Baaghi, what character do you play in it?
My role…I cannot reveal the nature of the character, but I play someone who was close to Qandeel.
How did you end up saying yes to Baaghi?
I’ve worked with Farooq Rind [the director of the drama serial] before in Laa. We developed a good understanding then and most, importantly, I trust his instinct, so there was that.
But the real reason why I was eager to work on this project was because I wanted to challenge my own views regarding the controversial character that was Qandeel Baloch. I quite vocally disapproved of her social media tactics before she passed away and this project has helped me look at the ‘other’ side to her story and why she did what she did.
So, what did you find out?
It’s a sad story. And what makes it even more depressing is that it is not an uncommon one. I feel sad for Fauzia [that’s Qandeel’s real name] and girls like her who are ambitious.
Your good bye from The Breakfast Show had us in tears. Were you aware at that time that Khalid Malik’s Morning Jam was on cards or it happened later on?
I actually quit The Breakfast Show because of stagnation AND because I wanted to pursue life coaching. For the past ten years I’d been receiving a lot of messages from the youth and married people, who are demoralised and need someone to help them out of their state of inertia.
Radio is my passion but one should never feel stagnant in their career.
How is it different from TBS? Did you have to change your hosting style?
If a show is named after you, you have the ownership. Normally radio stations don’t want to do that, but FM91 was open to it and that got me interested. I devise my own format and everyone – from the CEO Sara Tahir to the interns – is genuinely interested in making it the best show.
You guys saw the pre-launch promotions – it was unreal.
[We agree with that. We’ve never seen a radio show marketed and hyped this way.]
How has the show added to your personality?
I’m catering to a bigger market now but the show is not that different from TBS since it is primarily in English. The difference only lies in the listenership.
Who do you look up to as an RJ? Who’s your inspiration?
To be honest I don’t look up to any RJ. [He admitted this after giving a disclaimer that he wasn’t trying to be pompous or blow his own trumpet].
I started RJ-ing in 2004 when I was in Australia. And while I always seek to improve myself, there isn’t anyone in Pakistan whom I want to follow step by step. You learn through different experiences and that’s what I’m doing.
Speaking of International RJs, there were a lot of presenters in Australia that I loved listening to such as Kyle Sandilands and Jackie from the The Kyle And Jackie O Show.
What are the three things one MUST possess to become a successful RJ?
I think consistency is the ultimate attribute – You got to show up for work. Then comes the desire to continue to learn.
And thirdly you should seek people who you feel are better than you and whom you aspire to be like; this is a term called modelling and is one of the components of life coaching. Through modelling one can acquire skills of exceptional people.
Are you serious about the career shift from being an RJ to a Life coach?
I am a trained NLP (Neuro Linguistic programming) practitioner and I am halfway through learning Covert Hypnosis. NLP focuses on personal development and helping people, primarily, by talking to them. Life coaching takes you from a point of stagnation to a point of momentum. From, “I’m stuck” to “I’m moving”.
[We’d definitely like to be part of his coaching sessions!]
I plan to open a coaching centre by September. It was scheduled for earlier this year, but then it got postponed because of my work commitments.
Coming back to your passion, it’s been a decade since you entered this profession – what’s the craziest thing any fan has ever done for you?
There are loads. There was a girl who would call up every day. She was a loyal fan…that’s what I thought, but then it came to a point when one day she called me and said, “Mein Karachi arahi hoon! Can you please pick me up from the airport?”
And that’s when I realised I had to something really fast. I told her that I was caught up with the show and it wasn’t possible for me to show up just like that. Anyway, I avoided meeting with her because things could’ve gotten serious.
After the crazy fan story, share the most impactful encounter on radio?
Whenever I get a message from someone saying that my show had a positive impact on their life, I feel out of the world. There was a lady who called on my show and told me that she was suffering from cancer and what kept her going through the tough and depressing chemo sessions was my show. That, for me, was it!
What do you do when you’re not RJ-ing?
I plan to start my life coaching centre and start corporate training because these days employees need all the motivation that they can get. Apart from that, I’m a busy father and am quite domesticated.
What other life changing lessons have you learnt from RJ-ing?
Don’t think you are hot shit and don’t take yourself too seriously. You might face a few issues or not agree with a few things in your life, everything ends up being okay.
Do your kids listen to your show?
My daughter, Ilyana, is 3.5 years old and is too young to actually sit and listen to my show. But whenever my wife plays it in front of her, she recognises my voice and goes, “Baba”. Yeah, so she understands what I do and is a performer herself! My son, Adam Malik, is quite young right now.
Aya Lariye is Ilyana’s favourite song these days so I play that for her.
What is a typical day in Khalid Malik’s life like?
I don’t exactly know when it starts? I sleep at around midnight, then I wake up at 2:30 am to feed my son. Then I go back to sleep. I wake up again at 4:30 am to put my son back to sleep and stay with him till 5 am. Then I come back to my bed and finally wake up at 6 am for work.
I grab my coffee, head to work, do the show, debrief the team and come home by noon to grab a bite. Then I go to pick up my daughter from school or Mahrukh does that. I like to spend my afternoon with my kids and Mahrukh my wife!
The meetings or shoot start from late afternoon and go up till night.
That’s quite a jam packed schedule. What do you do to de-stress?
My idea of a luxurious afternoon is an hour at the gym.
How do you move around at 6 am without waking up your wife?
I’m very good at silent walking and getting ready. I am a pro at it.
One question which is on every single person’s mind for the past decade: How do you manage to be so energetic early in the morning? What do you have for breakfast?
I’ve always been a morning person. We didn’t have an option; my brother and I were the first people to get picked by the van so we had to wake up early. Waking up early is a habit now, so I don’t feel miserable at all!
Also, with my nature of work, I don’t have any other option.
What are your top tips for becoming a morning person?
- Sleep early.
- Set as many alarms as it takes to wake you up. I set two alarms.
- Tell your brain that, “I need to wake up at this time,” before you sleep.
Your favourite on the go breakfast?
There is no on-the-go breakfast for me. I like to have a proper breakfast after I come back home from my show. I have six egg whites, oats, and of course, I chug in chai and coffee throughout the show and prior to it.
Are you good at cooking?
Fortunately, my wife is an amazing cook, so I leave the cooking to her.
What’s your morning ritual like?
I wake up and have a warm glass of water with Himalayan salt and vinegar, and after that I blend coconut oil, butter and coffee together and take it with me.
Have you ever been late for your show? How did you cover it up?
I just say sorry and own up to it. I don’t cover up
Five things your fans don’t know about you?
- I sleep with my mouth open
- I’m very spiritual and I’m a student of Sufism
- I hardly socialize
- I secretly want to have the body of Bradley Cooper
- I’m in love with Anne Hathaway and Huma Qureshi
What’s that one thing you’d like to bring attention to?
We as a society need to stop with being judgemental. Instead of looking at events from a judgemental perspective, we need to look at with curiosity. Try and ask yourself, “Akhir Fauzia Qandeel kyun bani?”
Complete the following sentences:
Radio shows should…….try to bring people together.
Mornings are………..absolutely incredible.
Your listeners have never……..not surprised me.
When I don’t have breakfast I……go to sleep.
When I listen to music……………I go into another dimension.
In Pakistan, people should always……be more accepting.
Images courtesy of Radio One FM91.