We all know that the State through the SABC owns three commercial radio stations (namely 5fm, Good Hope fm and Metro fm) and fifteen public service stations. But as to the rest of the commercial stations we don’t seem to know all the details as far as ownership and control are concerned. Lets unpack a few and see exactly who is controlling the information in the country through the airwaves.
Talk Radio 702, 567 Cape Talk, 94.5 Kfm and 94.7 Highveld Stereo are all owned by Primedia Broadcasting. The ownership of these premium brands gives Primedia access to Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. I guess KZN is the only primary market where they don’t have footprint however, they do syndicate broadcasting between 702 and 567 Cape Talk on a regular basis.
Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) owns 64% of 99.2 Yfm; they also own the same stake on eTV. This basically gives them a controlling interest in the radio station, thus HCI can influence the youth (mainly black) of Gauteng and the rest of the country through their media assets.
Kagiso Media has interests in quite a few stations across the country, they have minority stakes in KZN based Gagasi 99.5fm , Cape’s Heart 104.9 FM, Orange fm and an economic stake in Kaya FM. They are majority shareholders in Jacaranda FM and East Coast radio; this gives them access to both primary and secondary markets. Some might say the control of these private commercial stations is in the hands of the few, which could be a problem in the long run as far as diversity is concerned. We are hoping that ICASA would take note of this when deciding who to award the primary markets licences to commercial radio stations.
Kaya FM does not have a majority shareholder, alongside Kagiso Media there is Thebe Holdings, Shanike Investments, Kaya Investments and Mokgosi Holdings.
African Media Entertainment (AME) has a controlling interest in Orange FM of 70%, in Eastern Cape’s Algoa FM they have a 100% stake and 24.9% interest in Mpumalanga based M-Power FM. Orange FM has a footprint in five different provinces namely, Free State, North West, Northern Cape, northern KZN and southern Gauteng making it the regional station with the largest footprint in the country.
Up north, Limpopo based Capricorn FM is partly owned (37.5%) by MSG Africa Given Mkhari’s company, Safika Holdings and Limpopo based business people.
Makana Radio Communication (MRC) a company founded by former Robin Island political prisoners, they have controlling interests in Heart FM and iGagasi FM.
Radio North-west is owned by Direng Investments, SADTU Investment Company and other BEE company. Direng Investments and Mbombela Investments Holdings also have a stake in M-Power FM.
Classic FM doesn’t have a majority shareholder; it is owned by Liberty Life foundation, Ingoma Trust. Moneyweb Holdings and London-based Classic FM PLC.
Well now that you know, do you think the industry is diverse enough or more still needs to be done? Keeping in mind that there are more commercial radio licences still to be issued by ICASA.