[By Kagiso Mnisi]
A couple of years ago whilst an intern at 702’s Eye Witness News, I had an opportunity to shadow Stephen Grootes. In our to and fro chases after stories, a mystic aura would envelope him whenever he cared to dish pearls of wisdom about the brimstone scorching realm of talk radio. Like a sensei or Jedi he would glare in this young urchin’s eyes and say special-power one liners such as ‘talk radio is rock n’ roll, only without the music’. Grootes meticulously manufactured an otherworldly rant about the radio medium (specifically talk) which by any generic notion is perceived to be the stuff of even keenness and full of humdrum about socio political this and that. It is through Stephens double-bespectacled lens that the latest goings on have to be viewed—its rock n’ rollness. It is nothing shorter than a deranged guitar solo when observing the movements.
Speculations ran on overdrive when Eusebius MacKaiser bowed from 702 at the peak of a healthy following, he was tipped to be soul training his way to Power FM which launches in July this year. His signature witticism did little to allay any murmurs with most of his tweets throwing hints of a new show at the black owned station. Then as the tabloids in their ooh-ahh kid of glory, an unfounded yarn would be weaved. Sunday World drew first blood by alluding to a ‘rift’ between McKaiser and Power’s boss Given Mkhari. Sunday World came out saying that it “understands that the anchor had a disagreement with Mkhari about his role at the station.” These claims were later refuted by McKaiser on Facebook saying:
Inaccurate article about me in today’s Sunday World. I liked the title though (the sub-editor deserves a Savannah)
‘Return of the Mac to 702?’
No I am not returning to 702. No, there is no beef between us either — it is an excellent radio station with a great heart and my early coaches and mentors in broadcasting are there. I respect my ex-colleagues hugely. With a malfunctioning SABC we are lucky to have 702. But I am not returning in the near future. Your 702 inside source, Sunday World, is clearly not an eyewitness reporter… 😉
As for me and the gifted Mr Mkhari from POWER FM, let’s just say…watch this powerful space!!
Facts: things that depend on what a tabloid reporter had for breakfast.
Just as the wave of responsible journalism had risen and ready to break into irreparable splinters (rendering it now total hogwash), another of talk’s pockets, Safm is forever playing catch up in a bid to be credible. Still reeling from last year’s furore of its presenters being silenced in interviews with political heads, there still is no vista in sight to redeem the station. The introduction of POIB (Protection Of State Of Information bill), should have been a eureka moment for the station to openly debate the merits of this development. Safm’s ‘debate’, ‘insight’, ‘analysis’ motto just does not hold a drop, if anything it is a one way slide to outright patronisation– an equivalent to SABC 3’s news come time to close shop. It is all airy fairy, unwarranted and uncomfortable.
With all that jazz, talk is after all abuzz with activity, the kind of happenings Grootes hinted at with his Obi Wan advice. Listen closely and you can almost hear your eardrum vibrating with anything but dullness. Maybe poetry guised as commentary of our restless time. But certainly not boring.