By Mpho Smart
Wherever you are in the world, you can tune in and listen to The Morning Cruise from 7am to 10am on Radio Unisa. It is one of the first student radio stations in the country to broadcast exclusively online in its bid to reach students from across the world.
It is not your typical student radio station with a host of music shows but a colourful mix of academic talk shows and entertainment programmes. Radio Unisa has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2008. With over 50 shows, the output varies so broadly that one is sure to find something they want to hear.
For the past four years Radio Unisa has been presented by student volunteers, providing South Africa with an alternative to both local and national radio stations. Then, radio station manager, Francois van Heerden, his deputy Tali Munzhedzi and news head Kgaugelo Pule joined the team on a full time basis and added formal structure to the radio station.
Since then the station has expanded. “We are one of a kind for a Uni radio station,” Munzhedzi said. “If not the only student radio station that broadcast exclusively online in South Africa then we are one of very few. We also are the only talk show student radio station. Music makes a small component of our programs’, he added.
The station is in the process of building a state of the art studios. Munzhedzi said: “our station, although well-equipped, is not state of the art. We felt as we growing so rapidly we needed to cater for our growing number of presenters and our ever changing needs.”
Since streaming companies can be unreliable, the station took its online broadcasting in-house. “This has benefited us tremendously as we gained listeners from across South Africa and the world, thanks to our ties with our international students,” Munzhedzi added.
Broadcasting from the heart of Sunnyside in Pretoria, Radio Unisa’s listenership has jumped from 28 000 last October to 39 000 in May this year. “We aim to fulfil our mandate which is to deliver mostly academic content that covers career guidance, student lifestyle issues and student support programmes,” said Muzhedzi. He said the radio station aims to reach as many of their students as possible as a link between students, lecturers and the University.
You can tune in to Unisa Radio at www.radio.unisa.ac.za/live