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The New Paper
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TNP film critic to co-host on new station for women
by Sylvia Toh Paik Choo

First, Jason Johnson is not leaving FiRST.

Second, fans of The New Paper’s intrepid film critic will now be able to put a voice to the face that greets you every Thursday in its movie pullout.

Stand back, as JJ moves upfront to kiss you.

Kiss 92 is Singapore’s all-new radio station – there has not been one in 20 years – and it is the new jewel in the crown that is SPH UnionWorks, which operates HOT FM91.3, UFM 100.3, and, come Sept 3, Kiss 92.

JJ will co-host with Maddy Barber (from 91.3) on Morning Drive Time, weekdays 6am to 10am. Be prepared for snap, pop and crackle!

Other familiar names kissing airwaves are Arnold Gay, 45, Claressa Monteiro, 42, Jeremy Ratnam, 40, all no strangers to radio.

Gay is a newscaster, Monteiro a jazz virtuoso, with Ratnam bringing up the rear on Evening Drive Time.

And Ryan Seacrest – yes, that Ryan Seacrest – will inject a shot of Hollywood with his On Air With Ryan Seacrest from 8pm to midnight on weeknights.

But this is about TNP’s Jason Johnson. Come September, he’s gonna be talking and talking and talking (as well as continuing to write for FiRST).

Star Trek, Star Wars The 44-year-old Canadian grew up in Alberta glued to Star Trek and Star Wars.

He tells it better: “Right after uni, I craved a sense of adventure, so I took off to Thailand, and taught English.

“Then I moved downto Singapore (1995), saw it had all the conveniences of Canada and yet remained exotic.

I never went back.”

Today, when the Johnsons return to Alberta for visits, it’s JJ, his Hokkien wife Marit, and their two young boys Jet and Skylar.

JJ is not new to radio.

Since last year, he’s been in the Back Seat on 91.3 with Cheryl Miles and Barber for an hour on Thursdays at 5pm, talking movies.

Kiss 92 is, to use that clinical word – female-centric. The station is after the 30 to 50 demographic.

It promises energy, fun, entertainmentand loads of music.

About the chatter, JJ said: “We’re not going for wacky, more chill, with health and family issues, plus pop culture, films and TV, keep it casual and friendly.”

He was surprised to be offered the gig.

“I can’t stand the sound of my own voice, I sound like a buffoon, but I’ll get used to it, I’m going to be Pilot of the Airwaves!”

Co-host Barber, 38, said: “Jason’s naturally funny, guys like him, girls love him. He has a wicked sense of humour without offending anybody.

“We want our focus to be fun, make people laugh and smile through great music.”

Added Jamie Meldrum, programme director of Kiss 92 and Hot FM913: “We’re quite impressed by Jason, judging by SMS responses when he's on air.

“He and Maddy have developed a nice, easy-going chemistry. Jason was No.2 on Maddy’s list. And since Channing Tatum wasn’t available, Jason was an easy choice.”

Johnson did warn the radio station he’s “a weirdo”, but that’s just by his own reckoning.

“I swear like a sailor, they said they would fine me.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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