Behind the scenes at ONE FM's #1 Breakfast Show
Ever wondered what's behind the scenes at ONE FM's #1 Breakfast Show? Its five-man crew gave us a wake-up call last Wednesday
While most of us are in dreamland, the team is already rolling in to work at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre.
First up is Mark van Cuylenburg, known as The Flying Dutchman or FD, 59.
He's followed by fellow presenter Glenn Ong, 45, news and sports presenter Elliott Danker, 33, executive producer-presenter Andre Hoeden, 40, and producer-presenter Shaun Tupaz, 28, who coolly slides in on a motorcycle.
With breakfast in hand (two bananas for Tupaz and a pastry for Danker), the troop make their way to the studio, chatting merrily and cheerfully awake despite how early it is.
Time check: 5.30am. It's still dark outside and I'm the only bleary-eyed zombie with sleep marks still carved on my right cheek.
The team makes a stop at the ONE FM office for a quick briefing and to update one other on what to discuss on the day's show.
On the drawing board: An airline crew hazing incident, the sudden closure of a local bridal salon and prostate health. Now, who says this show doesn't get serious?
Tupaz updates the "clocks" - a piece of paper divided into 15-minute segments to represent the show's content when they are on air.
This morning, "#FD's Stomp Story" fills the 7.45am slot while "Interview with Guess model Lisah Suhaimi" is written in the 8am slot.
Next stop: the ONE FM studio.
Ong reaches for a small book that's as thick as a dictionary.
"The book is for the Zen Glenn segment," he explains, referring to his segment where he shares daily words of wisdom.
Then he shows us a wooden stool plastered with stickers and a prized autograph from former foreign minister George Yeo.
He hopes to add to this collection of autographs.
"Once we have enough signatures from celebrities, we might auction this off for charity," he says.
Hoeden then picks the brains of the team, asking for their hazing experiences for one of the day's topics - a report in The New Paper on Kunmnig Airlines flight attendants who were hazed after completing 30 to 50 hours' service at the Chinese airline.
An enthusiastic discussion erupts, in which FD pipes up: "I remember initiating panty raids!"
Next door and separated by a glass panel, Danker prepares for his Footy News segment at 7.15am, where he reads the football news and headlines.
He says: "Local news doesn't change much overnight so I have that prepared before I sleep at 10.30pm.
"I come in to check if there are any changes to those stories and also read the global sports news.
"I make sure the news is easy to digest for the average commuter."
Once the "clocks" are full, Tupaz gives everyone a heads-up. The show is ready to hit the road.
"The other thing we have to deal with is Shaun's terrible handwriting," Hoeden jokes.
"Headphones on!" Tupaz shouts before Danker kicks off the day with the news headlines and traffic news.
The mood isn't formal for long, thanks to Ong, who gleefully announces that it is Be Bald And Be Free Day.
"Why do you wear a cap, Andre? You have such a nicely-shaped head," he says, teasing chrome-domed Hoeden.
Hoeden, Ong, Tupaz and Danker do not sit much throughout the show, if at all. The music that plays in the background is also the last thing they pay attention to.
Ong, who ditches his signature spectacles today because of a post-show Brazilian jiu-jitsu class, is the only one with a gold microphone, which was given to him by ONE FM.
He says: "I've always wanted one. I think it makes me sound better... it's probably the only gold microphone around."
Hoeden is in charge of the crew's Facebook posts.
Throughout the show, he trawls for stories online. His resources include, among others, The New Paper as well as the paper's website.
He switches topics around, holding off the less time-sensitive ones for the next day.
Who delivers the punch line, who asks the first question, who speaks at any one time - all these are decided on together before the segment.
If someone wants to speak next on the show, he simply raises his hand.
Tupaz, the team's time-keeper and "bus driver", keeps busy, coordinating segments, audio clips, advertisement promos, sound effects and more.
Ong says: "I don't think the audience has felt this kind of energy on any morning show. Elsewhere, it's one or two people doing everything...
"You won't find this teamwork anywhere else."
The show's Part-time Pete begins pre-recording "front sells" or short sound bites to inform listeners of what is coming up on the show every 15 minutes.
And just who is Part-time Pete? That's a secret I'll never tell.
Coffee shop buddies Short Fart and Ah Lim discuss the recent news about the closing of a bridal shop for the Meanwhile At The Coffee Shop Skit.
They join characters like Simone, Dick Thambi, Pak Satay and more who make occasional appearances to discuss the hot topics that Singaporeans are talking about.
Hoeden welcomes today's guest, The New Paper New Face 2011 finalist and newly-minted Guess girl Lisah Suhaimi.
The 23-year-old model came in second in the South-east Asia Guess Girl Model Search 2015 and will head to Los Angeles next month to shoot the Guess Spring 2016 lookbook and Guess Spring Summer 2016 magazine for South-east Asia.
The crew chat with her to make her feel at ease and pre-empt her with questions.
While on air, Tupaz even tries his luck with a well-executed pick-up line.
"I am not a mathematician, but I believe if you gave me your number, I could make magical things happen," is his noble attempt.
Lisah replies with a sweet giggle that she's "not interested".
But her rejection leaves Tupaz unfazed. After all, between 7.30am and 9am, the team's energy is at an all-time high.
"9am is when you start to feel a little tired, just a little," admits Hoeden.
Hoeden finally gets a bite of his breakfast, a Tupperware of fruits and another of beans and chilli dip.
Like him, the crew steal quick bites and sip coffee in between.
Otherwise, they wait until their shift is over.
"Breakfast? What breakfast?" FD asks.
It's true, the morning is so hectic there is barely time to eat. Or pee.
There's finally time to breathe just before the show ends.
Hoeden dives straight for the Berocca punching bag machine in the corner.
The record is a score of 6,344.
One mighty punch later and Hoeden achieves an impressive 6,277. Stress relief, done!
The team goes off-air, but their day is far from over. Up next is a post-mortem.
"Today was generally a pretty smooth show so we're pretty happy.
Ong says: "Usually we talk about topics we might discuss for the next day so we can have a think about it when we're home."
Interviews usually take place at this time.
The team recordan interview with Singaporean muay thai fighter Terrence Teo, who recently won at the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships, and his coach Arvind Lalwani.TNP PHOTOS: NABILAH NORDIAN