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Metro’s revolving door has loyalists in tears

Posted by radio On April - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kagiso Mnisi]


When the trumpet wails signaling the end of an era, there is no shortage of weeping that follows. Indicative of this is Metro FM’s latest bolster of its line up where by far the headlining news is of Eddie Zondi vacating the 21:00 – 00:00 slot, The Obsession.


As one of the jocks to have had a staggering a following on the station for years, Zondi crafted a widely recognised brand of serenades and relationship tit bits with his late night ballads. He makes space for Ismail Abrahams who has come a long way since a formidable reign at Gagasi FM (he drew the most listeners albeit not knowing a word of Zulu). Abrahams started making his presence felt at Metro during his mid-morning Saturday shows. If the Station Manager, Martin Vilakazi, is astute in saying “it is important to refresh, strengthen and rotate talent to ensure we receive maximum output”; it has to be conceded that Abrahams is the man for those fuzzy late hours.


A presentation of an award at the Metro’s by the jock was a sure public relations hint of what the station intends on doing with his talents. As always such moves have to be negotiated with the listening ear, this is with the cognisance that the late night urban adult contemporary listener of now feels more at ease with modern sounds than they would with 80s or early 90s new jack swing. This very listener forms part of the microcosm that wields buying power and therefore needs to be appeased starting with the radio personality on board to brands purchasing space during the time of the show. However purists will not be completely left out in the cold since Zondi stands to retain the Romantic Repertoire on Sundays.


Another shape shift is the welcome back of Phat Joe for weekend breakfast. Not one to fall short of courting controversy, his cubicle is a stone’s throw away from a former cadre, Thomas Msengana who also keeps the fires burning at 5FM roundabout the same time. Phat Joe’s glory days (by way of history) are a time travel away to 1997 as the morning jester to youth station, on the show that was known as Live and Dangerous. He made himself a name as agitator, provocateur and everything else rebellious. Hopping from station to station (Metro FM, Kaya FM, Heart FM) as a pariah that just would not toe the line has like relentless voodoo, followed him wherever he has touched a microphone. If deduced, Metro FM spin department has a kit put aside as collateral in case the jester reverts to his old ways and veers off the line of the stations mores.




With these changes, this is what people on the streets had to say about Metro FM’s recent line-up changes.




Other changes on Metro:

Sakina Kamwendo features Kgopedi wa Namane on one of her shows during the week

William and Marian keep their Saturday evening slot with the Pyjama Party, but will have new shows on Sunday morning respectively

Nothemba Madumo’s jazz slot moves to 8pm on Sunday evenings.  Thereafter Carol Ralefeta takes the airwaves to midnight

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[By: Kgomotso Moncho]


Kabelo Molopyane is a finalist in the category Breakfast Presenter from a PBS station in the MTN Radio Awards. He presents the breakfast show, Ragoga Gee on Motsweding FM and this is the first time he’s entering the awards. He feels he’s still new in the Breakfast /morning radio space, as he’s only been presenting the show for nine months. Winning could be instrumental in giving him a confidence booster.


But Molopyane has long earned his stripes as a radio presenter, having hosted all of the other shows on different time slots on Motsweding FM. This makes him one of the popular names at this station, which broadcasts across the country, with special audiences in the North West and Northern Cape provinces.


He hails from Makolokwe, a village in the outskirts of Brits, a small town in the North West. He speaks proudly of his village, saying how it could be a model tourism destination because of its special mountains, game and a selection of wild fruit. This is where it all started for him, where his love for radio was sparked.

“I love music and as a kid I did not have money for cassettes and such, so I listened to the radio. My love of music sparked my love of radio. From as young as 14 years, I knew I wanted to hear my voice on radio,” Molopyane says.


He started in the Drama department of Motsweding FM in 1996. He joined Soshanguve community radio in 1997 to begin his broadcasting training. “Soshanguve gave me the tools to become a presenter,” he says. He went to Radio Mafisa in Rustenburg in 2000 where he specialized in sport.


He was called to Motsweding FM in 2002 where he became an all rounder, starting with the graveyard shift and Saturday evening shows, midday shows to the Afternoon Drive, for which he has become well known.


Now he is adding the Breakfast slot, which is the flagship of any station to his resume.  Talking about Ragoga Gee, the Breakfast show and what makes it stand out, he says, “The aim of the show is to be current. We break the news to our listeners and keep them updated on the news, sports, weather and traffic fronts. The language we broadcast in, which is Setswana, is a big part of what makes us stand out. We have a daily sports quiz, which is popular with the listeners. This was started during the 2010 Soccer world Cup, and we have retained it simply because our audience loves it, we are a sport loving nation. Other popular features include the daily brain teaser and the Golden Oldies music feature, for which we get a lot of calls.”


He adds that Motsweding FM is probably the only PBS station with a DJ mix in the morning, which is kept brief with only about eight minutes of airplay.


His experience has taught him a lot of things, including what it takes to be a good presenter.


“Never broadcast, but communicate with your audience, and talk to one listener who you can picture in your head. It’s important to keep your head on the ground, to read a lot and be alert. Radio has taught me to be better informed, to always know what is happening around me and in the world. I think it is the role of radio to be educational, to give the people messages about HIV/AIDS and other relevant issues. We face a challenge from technology and social media, but radio has always been first in giving information and entertainment to the people. In special cases we have also been taught a thing or two by our listeners,” Molopyane says.


Looking ahead he wants to explore his talents further in the sport arena. He is an experienced sport commentator and bulletin anchor. But for now he hopes to settle in, in the Breakfast slot for a few more years.         

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Changes at 5FM are a rock and a hard place

Posted by radio On April - 10 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kagiso Mnisi]


For most radio stations the first and last quarters of the year are often abuzz with schedule reshuffles. Not to have the same ‘turnaround’ strategies as some sectors, radio’s clean up processes have to do with analytical benchmarks from what audiences gravitate towards and generally keeping things fresh.



With the news of 5FM’s ‘rock powernites’ presenter, Jon Savage, vacating the slot which airs at 10pm on weekdays, questions surrounding the station’s attitude towards rock music genre have surfaced. Savage’s three year run at 5FM came with the credibility of being a member of indie rock outfit Cassette, an affiliate to conceptual rock poetry group, The Buck Fever Underground, and recently a serial blogger on the music industry. The station has in the past created a mythology around its rock music presenters, one that positioned them as ‘know it alls’ of the art form in the way they introduce emerging bands to the mainstream and of course trivia associated with it.



The departure of Savage puts the stations vision under the radar in whether its commercial cum Top 40 slinging format is the way to go; and that rock music anchors are are now easily dispensable unlike in the past. Savage’s predecessor, Barney Simon, spent more than eight years as 5FM’s in-house rock fundi and judging by that pattern, the popular opinion was that these presenters have more endurance than most at the station. Clearly things have changed and the devil in the detail sees advertisers converging towards shows that are more widely accessible to the listener.


But as a fairly recognisable rock music presenter, what highlighted Savage’s tenure at the station? From having cross atlantic interviews with musicians such as Seether, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Muse. Metallica and the odd opinion piece in Rollling Stone SA magazine the assumption would be that the jock’s repertoire packed a reasonable punch. Rock powernites also frequently invited household musicians to have performance live in studio where the listener could phone in to ask questions.


On the day that the news of his leaving broke, Jon Savage said, “this is not the end of rock music at the station” and judging by Rolling Stone’s retweet of the statement are, eyes are peeled  on what it all sums up to from here onwards. Not to paint a situation that is all dire, 5FM has also had it bursts of brilliance during its midweek graveyard slot where the local independent rock circuit has had a fair ‘share of the ear.’ This slot has broken alternatives acts such hard metal band Rebuurth and Savage Lucy.


The new line up at the station boasts Capetonian Stephanie B from sister station, Good Hope FM and Ms Cosmo, a female hip-hop DJ previously from YFM. The direction is a clear indicator that the station is on a mission to lure a younger crowd, one that is easily sold ternds. Savage’s bow out will surely leave a few rockers disgruntled since he was the sole custodian of their kind of music on 5FM amidst a flurry of popular sounds.

















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Radio according to Alan Khan

Posted by radio On April - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kgomotso Moncho]


Alan Khan is a well known name in radio circles. But more than that, Khan is a reputable media personality, as well as an academic. He is now the Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology and is included in the judging panel of the MTN Radio Awards. He is a former CEO of Jacaranda 94.2; former deputy MD of East Coast Radio and a presenter of the weekday morning show there, called Big Breakfast. His career started at TNT Radio back in 1990. He joined Capital Radio 604 in 1993 and worked there until the station’s last day of broadcast on November 26, 1996. On television Khan presented Powerboating on Supersport in the 90s and co- hosted Am2day, a daily morning national TV show on SABC2. He has written for The Post in Durban as a sports columnist. In 2008 he gave a presentation at the third Annual African Media & Broadcast Congress of his paper on The Future of Radio in a Digital World: Is The Internet an Extinction Level Event For Radio? He always has radio on his mind. He speaks to Radiobiz about that and more.



What has your experience in radio revealed to you about the SA radio industry?  


The South African radio industry is in an interesting position. Whilst the regulator has licensed new commercial broadcasters, the big private media owners still dominate the landscape. This has resulted in shared content with common programming and news strategies and two or three sales houses that control radio advertising. These are not necessarily all negative concepts however, as technology and access to technology improves in South Africa, radio will have to evolve and the way we play the game will need to change.



Are you still actively involved in radio? 

Unfortunately not. After two decades in the industry, I needed a change and wanted to relocate back home to Durban. However, as Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology, I’m often interviewed by radio stations in KZN and I still get excited every time I’m on air. I am now also a client and it’s been interesting sitting on the other side of the table, especially since I have some knowledge of what the media owners and broadcasters are trying to sell. My involvement as a judge in the MTN South African Radio Awards also keeps me close to the medium that I still love.



What does being involved in the MTN Radio Awards do for you? 

Personally, being a member of the judging panel allows me to play a positive role in acknowledging outstanding talent, great ideas, superb storytelling and broadcast innovation. It also gives me the opportunity to track new talent which is being nurtured on campus and community radio. The commercial radio industry will be reliant on this new talent to be original, to be innovative and to ply a significant role to ensure that radio remains relevant to a changing audience with new behaviours.


What observations have you made from the judging?

 I have been impressed by some of the talent on campus and community radio. If they are allowed to flourish and maintain their originality, then many have a successful future ahead. Then again, I have been left a little disappointed by the radio promotions and competitions. Many of these are copies or extensions of concepts from Australia, England or the USA. It would be good to see more original ideas coming through. I would love to see the audience becoming “the stars of the show!”


Which categories do you enjoy? 

 I always go to the campus and community categories first. Then, being a former breakfast and afternoon drive presenter, I’m keen to assess those entries, followed by radio promotions and news/talk/current affairs. I think that it is fantastic that the MTN South African Radio Awards also recognize Hall of Famers and Brightstars. 



How do you think radio is faring in the digital world today? 

They once said that video would kill the radio star! Well, VHS is dead but radio is still here! My gut feel is that the digital revolution will not be an extinction level event for radio. Certainly, it brings new challenges and increases the options for the audience but if radio can remain relevant to its market, continue to deliver local, original, fun and entertaining content, it will still have a fighting chance. South Africa has had unique developments. We are still waiting for the digital signal migration to materialize and once television goes digital, radio should be next, however, that could be some years away. At the end of the day, it’s all about the audience and if radio cannot retain and grow target markets, then there could be trouble ahead. You are already seeing media owners diversify from pure broadcasting. Many have invested in digital platforms, not just for content needs but for revenue generation too. In my opinion, the next 10 years will be a vital phase in the radio evolution.



Do you think there are areas local radio could improve on? 

Yes. I think presenters must be excellent storytellers. The art of delivering a good story in 30 seconds is disappearing. There should also be a renewed focus on original, fun and innovative promotions and concepts. Radio talent should be actively and consistently promoted. There has to be higher profiles for our leading on air talent in South Africa. It’s not just about the station brand. Then, I honestly believe that radio is about connecting people. Let’s be honest, it was one of the first forms of social media. I also love the fact that so many radio stations have a social conscious. The outstanding projects that take place around the country are a credit to the industry. Whether it be blankets, toys, teddy bears, food parcels, schools, rhinos or awareness in the fight against domestic violence, rape and child abuse, radio does its bit. The industry really has the ability to change people’s lives for good! 



It’s often said that the media cannot tell you what to think, but what to think about. What is the sole role of radio to you? 

Someone once said that “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It’s all about the people! From the audience, to the presenter, the sales executive to the client, the programme manager to the marketing experts. Radio must connect with the consumer and for that to happen, radio needs to have intimate knowledge of their audience. And with that knowledge, radio can start making the relevant connections to satisfy their consumer’s needs. Radio must remember that what people want and what people need is not always the same thing!



What makes good radio? 

Radio has to compete in the battle of the attention economy. As it faces the challenges of a world in evolution, a digital environment and a changing audience – radio has to be relevant, be local, be original, be fun and connect with the consumer. Radio must focus on connecting people. But one thing is certain, increased competition coupled with a changing digital world is forcing radio to up its game and evolve, which can’t be a bad thing.




Anything you’d like to add?  

I would like to congratulate all the winners at the 2013 MTN South African Radio Awards. I am also proud of the Hall of Fame and Brightstar recipients. I would also like to thank Lance, Taryn, Michelle, Jeremy and the entire team at the MTN South African Radio Awards for their passion, commitment, dedication and support of South African radio.



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Matona Sakupwanya on judging radio

Posted by radio On April - 8 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kgomotso Moncho]


When it comes to women in radio who have become influential in their work, Matona Sakupwanya is right up there with the rest. But she is not one to let gender define or influence how she works. She much prefers to see herself as an individual passionate about the radio medium.


Known for being station manager of Metro FM from 2006 to 2011, a period during which the station grew exponentially, Matona’s extensive experience in radio has seen her come through the ranks in sales and marketing, before heading up one of South Africa’s biggest commercial radio stations.


After leaving Metro she was appointed General Manager at Primedia Unlimited, heading up a division called Mallworx. She is now General Manger at Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and is judging the MTN Radio Awards for the first time this year.


Her work at RAB sees her promoting the medium she is passionate about as a primary advertising platform. This is done by improving the level of familiarity and favourability towards radio and enhancing its perception as an effective advertising tool, as well as developing and maintaining relationships within the advertising and marketing industries.


Her vision is to continue to champion the cause of radio by educating and guiding marketers and agencies in the effective use of the medium, thereby growing radio’s revenue share in SA. What she loves about radio is its immediacy, flexibility and ability to move with the ever evolving media landscape. But here’s what she finds exciting about radio right now. “The right station with the right message and the right frequency will yield good returns. Also, as digital media grows, radio is brilliantly positioned as it is the medium that synergises best with digital platforms. Radio compliments the way people are using social media and radio promotions and campaigns can create great content which can be leveraged in social media. All of this takes the client’s message further,” she says.


She feels the growth of the MTN Radio Awards is an indicator of the growth of radio and that its recognition of achievements and talent within the entire broadcast radio industry can only be a good thing for our industry. Having headed up the largest commercial radio station in the country and the second largest in listenership has given her a well-rounded view and capacity to gauge what works and what doesn’t and this, she says, helps her in her judging responsibilities.


“What I personally look for are presenters and shows as well as content that grab attention. This by no means infers being ‘loud’ but rather speaks to content that kept me listening or wanting to hear more. I enjoyed all the categories I judged, but must say that judging Programming Innovation was very exciting,” Matona says. According to her what makes good radio is programming that is in-touch and reflective of its listeners and on-air personalities that are knowledgeable & entertaining.


Talking about her observations from her many years of experience and what the radio industry has revealed to her, Matona says, “Radio is a powerful medium in our country.  It still reaches more than 80% of the population across all LSM groups. It excels at reaching just about everyone – It’s quite frankly the medium for all South Africans. Although this might be the case, the industry hasn’t yet embraced the medium to its full capabilities and this is evident in the revenue figures. This shows that there is a lot of work for us to do to change the latter.”  

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Comfortable Turn At The First Avenue

Posted by radio On April - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kagiso Mnisi]


Consider a show that amalgamates one of the personalities to first ever dare play a local hip hop song on national radio. The first to command mass appeal in the youth of his generation from the days of Bop radio and then continue on a more grandiose scale at Metro FM throughout the rest of his career. But then the alchemy just would not measure up if he was not joined by a former  Y-generation star whose run at the regional youth station was representative of the urban bohemia of the early 2000s. Now that is a perfect dose to liven up the dreariest of mornings. 


In bluntness it means that most listeners’ eye cracks are being wiped by Glen Lewis and Unathi Msengana on Metro FM’s breakfast show, The First Avenue, if those calibrations are gotten right. No longer up-starts of years gone by, the two now give a show aimed at the young at heart and career ladder climbing young professionals alike.


Just as any show garnered for a difference in opinion as the two have constantly displayed, a buffer to smooth things out is well needed. This comes byway of the composed Melanie Bala who has evolved plentifold from her 90s stint as a starry eyed host of the music show Studio Mix. Bala acts as mediator and resident news breaker on the show, which if considering market and format, she trumps even some of the trusted voices in news delivery and verification active in the medium.


Glen Lewis’ presence at Metro FM has been a journey of twist and turns, the personality however boasts a tenure that most can only dream of in the radio space. His musical sensibility also reached a zenith whilst being part of the Metro team with the release of various house compilations and a season long appearance on local soapie Muvhango. His role as a lead figure in The First Avenue has marked remnants similar to his route on radio; this is seen in the steady (and now admirable) appeal to the station’s audience which SA Advertising Research Foundation found that it significantly contributed to the overall 5,9million listenership. Not having peaked on the MTN Radio awards roster makes for an interesting debate as to whether the shows needs a of trophy validation to prove that it is doing something right. The answer would be a stark no; The First Avenue plays by rules that apply to a self-fostered attitude.


Teams of three on morning drive shows are a mere song but an addition of another makes them a gospel to abide by during troubled early hours. The forth element in the show comes in the form of sports presenter, Sizwe Mabena who has to hold the stations flag high when competing with other commentators about developing matters on the field.


However the main anchors have had their own fair share of woes career wise, it is a notably remembered lore that Glen Lewis exchanged airwave blows with DJ Fresh during the latter’s YFM era. Their spat was a wave of giggle worthy parodies about each other on who has the bragging rights to alpha maledom when behind the mic. But like two warring rappers would bob and weave against each other through heated slander in the public eye, nobody knows the beginning and end of what is genuinely personal or gimmick for sake upping ratings. In Unathi’s case, a refusal to host a show on Women’s day at the command of her then station manager, Bondo Ntuli, at YFM was laid bare on tabloid pages.



The First Avenue has put the two in a stasis of rejuvenation with the evocation that there is no longer nothing to lose (for now). The show’s features have a healthy mix of structured tone, charisma and where needs be a purposefully whimsical value add for the listeners. A feature such as ‘Today In History’, is one that has been pummeled to death on radio shows across the board, in the wake of the fun fair that is The First Avenue, it is greased with light conversation drivers such an announcement by the team a few odd shows ago that a particular day was commemorated as a ‘No Gossip Day.’ That is the precise dosage that has kept ears listening, one with palatable chemistry. It may have been a slip and slide career for the main anchors but their latest formula renders them comfortable and with no immediate contender depriving them of glorious sleep at night. For in the morning all those who have come full circle are going one way, straight to The First Avenue.


The First Avenue comes alive every morning on weekdays from 06:00 – 09:00

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Eusebius MacKaiser, the new doyen

Posted by radio On April - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kagiso Mnisi]


Brainy is the new sexy! You would expect a glossy to splash such a puffy headline when speculating trends. Maybe even have a cover-style smile of Rhodes and Oxford educated Eusebius Mckaiser on it to give the story mileage. Mackaiser is best known for his Talk At Nine show on 702 where he has put many a guest to cerebral task with his questions. His nomination for news and actuality presenter (commercial radio) at the MTN radio awards comes at a ripe time concurrent to his best seller, A Bantu In My Bathroom, at reputable book stores. The book gives his insight into race, sexuality and other uncomfortable issues in this here land.



Talk At Nine is for those night owls who would rather give TV a wide berth to listen into relevant topics affecting the country. As a slave to philosophy, Eusebius bolsters reasoning in the show’s make up for an analytical and at times contentious experience. This same gusto made him all the more likeable to a ‘thinking’ television audience when he presented Interface on SABC 3. His departure from the show had many lingering questions one being whether he was too much of a hot potato for the national broadcaster. His way of clearing the air via was that “the SABC wanted to pay me a mere R4 000 monthly wages, that is R1000 per show as producer/presenter. So I had no choice but to resign.” Beyond the money aspect an incident of a cabinet minister and NPA spokesperson report to the SABC that Mckaiser ‘disrespected’ them after an on air grill, gave presenter credibility to peers. What else is a commentator to do if not hold power to account?


As a bibliophile, Mackaiser’s show has a feature known as The Literature Corner where he invites guests to chat about literary work. During one of these he once had Bongani Madondo to talks about a mutual respect and love they both have for late author Sello K. Duiker. The parallels in this are that Duiker was a Rhodes scholar just as MacKaiser and long time ‘literary sparring partner’ to Madondo. Eusebius Mackaiser’s appreciation for literature extends beyond the cosmetic into a realm of genuine involvement such as giving talks about its significance for the development of a nation.


Not one to be cagey about self-awareness, he has in many media appearances voiced that he is part of an educated middle class and as journalist Karima Brown said, “a champion” of it. The local media space seldomly or frankly never has personalities who are able to position themselves as brainyacks who can still party. If his tweeter timeline is anything to write home about, the man does exactly that with references to popular material, when taking not giving his followers the general political dose he excels in.


As a contender to John Perlman and David O’ Sullivan for the MTN Radio Awards, the new brainy is making enough noises to clinch himself a title. He is in so many ways ‘the guy to keep an eye on’ and a first to the local media space. Face it!



A day after this story was conceived, Eusebius Mackaiser announced that he will no longer be part of 702 and will join the soon to be launched Power fm SA



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[By: Kgomotso Moncho]


There used to be a time when there was something called: South African Music Week. This was a campaign that had local radio stations playing more South African music than usual. This was seen by many as a disgrace that local music was allocated a week of celebration in its own country.


The South African Music Week does not exist any more, but the debate about whether there’s enough local music content being played on South African radio, is still ongoing. On the one hand you have artists complaining that they’re not getting airplay and on the other the radio industry continues to defend itself against these complaints, with some saying radio is doing far more than it’s been given credit for.


In the middle of this seems to be an un-nurtured relationship between radio and music industry professionals; the argument on whether South African artists produce the quality and quantity of music required for radio airplay and a discussion on whether or not radio stations meet the differing  local music quotas stipulated in their licenses by Icasa. And then there are the questions: what do the listeners really want; does radio inform what they want, inherently influencing what they have come to want? What about heritage restoration? Does that in any way inform the reason behind putting local music on radio?


Over the last few years there has been a moderate increase in the amount of local music being played on radio. This has been influenced by a number of things. Community radio station Tuks FM has always been about playing local first and has made a name for itself for putting local rock bands on the map. Marketing Executive at Tuks FM, Tony Graham says, “Our licence says that we have to play a minimum of 40% local music. That’s never been a problem for us and we always play way more than that.”


Radio 2000 is one of a few radio stations playing relatively more local music. “As a facility based PBS station our local content quota is 60% local music,” says the station’s programmes manager, Siyanda Fikelepi.


With the ongoing emergence of good contemporary artists such as Zonke and Lulu Dikana, Zahara, Maleh, Lira, Kabomo, Afrotraction, Toya Delazy and others, radio stations have had to put their quality music on air.


House music has become very popular in the country, making South Africa one of the biggest markets of the genre and local artists and producers have taken advantage of this. Producers who used to just compile international house hits are now taking to producing original music. This has given rise more local house music productions with the likes of Mi Casa taking things further by adding a live element. 


Adil More who presents the Metro FM Experience, a chart show on Saturday afternoons, says his show is a window into what the Metro FM sound is about. “Close to 60 to 70% of the music in the chart show is national music. The best part about this is that many of the artists on the chart go on to be nominated in the Metro FM Music Awards,” he says.


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[By: Kagiso Mnisi]

Recent events at the ivory tower that is the SABC have attracted massive criticism from interest groups, overall media and anyone still seeing themselves a stakeholder to it. Marred by dubious operations and the nomination of an interim board chosen in haste has had the national broadcaster perpetually warding off lashings. The hardest hit in the sand storm has been Minister of Communication, Dina Pule. Vintage of an office bearer in the local political arena, she has shrugged off any form of accountability in the rot that has been festering at the SABC under her watch.

In an interview with Eusebius MacKaiser on 702’s Talk at nine, her ‘I don’t know what’s happening’ mantra became even more beguiling in not being ‘aware’ of board member, Pippa Green’s resignation. Through an analytical approach, Radiobiz lowers the boom on the SABC’s predicaments which include speculated government interference in operations, ailing programming and tarnished public relations. We put this challenge to Koffi M. Kouakou, Senior Lecturer and Scenario Planner at Wits Business School and Andrew K. Miller, communications strategist and regular contributor to Daily Maverick









Koffi M. Kouakou


Radiobiz: What do you think it will take to make the SABC a credible, accountable and decent programming bastion with the interim board?



KK: Transparency, openness, strong and a capable board and executive leadership that can design credible and locally diversified programming for South Africa is the solution to restoring the confidence and credibility in the SABC. The government should have a limited role in selecting the board member and interfere into the day to day programming decisions. Nothing else will do it.


Radiobiz: Do you think there has been any change at the SABC from what it was pre-democracy?


KK: Of course there have been great changes at the SABC. However the changes have been mainly political and not mainly technical and programmatic. But the changes have been mainly cosmetic in terms of political appointments, government interferences, bad management of talent recruitment and poor content programming. And of course in addition there have been an exorbitant financial expansion spending spree and overall excessive expenditures that have almost bankrupted the public broadcaster. In short, the SABC has not leveraged its vast public broadcaster potential to help inform, entertain and influence much deeply the political and economic growth of South Africa. It could do better. The future of the SABC is in the balance and has to be managed carefully and fast if SA is to benefit greatly from its enormous public broadcaster potential.


Radiobiz: Some analysts and parties have come out saying that there was an ulterior motive from the government in choosing the interim board. Are these founded from an analytical point of view?



KK: In part the analysts’ viewpoints may be founded because of the rush in the nomination of the interim board members. The nominations didn’t seem to be transparent and opened to public scrutiny. There is great public concern about the process of recruitment of the board members and the assessment of their competency to provide sound management guidance to the executives of the SABC. However the government had little time to act in order to show itself to be resolute and manage the short term crisis of the SABC management. Hopefully the actual board members nominations and the recruitment of the executive will be transparent.



Radiobiz: What effective broadcasting models (from elsewhere in the world) can the SABC learn from to provide Radio, TV and online content that respects its audience?



KK: One of the most praised effective models of public broadcasters in the world is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The National Public Radio Network in the USA and Canada and the Australian Broadcasting are also useful models for the SABC to emulate. They have been successful in providing a basket of diversified content to their audiences at home and abroad.














Andrew K. Miller


Radiobiz: From a PR perspective, what does the board reshuffle at the SABC signal to the public?


AM: It signals more chaos. The public picks up on the reality of what’s going on, and then considers the PR issued by the organization after that. In a case like this, there is very little that can be done to alter the perception that the SABC is in a complete mess.



Radiobiz: What positioning device would best serve the SABC right now?


AM: As much honesty as possible. It will not serve the organization to create long winded explanations of why everything is fine, or will shortly be fine and so forth. This is a trap SAA is falling into at the moment. SAA is emerging with quite combative press statements and media interactions which bely a reality everyone can clearly see. The SABC needs to keep it short and keep it brutally honest. The less spin the better.


Radiobiz: Some analysts have described the SABC as not having broken ties with its past, how true is this in the modern day world of networks and transparency?


AM: National broadcasters are inherently political and so are very complex entities in any country in the world. There may be some truth in the statement that the SABC hasn’t detached from its past, but there’s probably equal truth in the idea that the organization is somewhat paralysed within the swirl of national politics in general.

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5FM Mornings with Gareth Cliff

Posted by radio On March - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kgomotso Moncho]


Gareth Cliff is known for his controversial comments, most of which are aired on his morning show, 5FM Mornings and for which he has earned a number of complaints from listeners.  The BCCSA knows all too well of this.


But it seems Cliff is not fazed because not much has changed. He has hosted the breakfast sow on 5FM since July  2006 and some listeners are still getting offended by the things he says. Recently, a very religious woman was offended when Cliff joked about how a clip of the newly elected pope sounded as if he was ordering vodka.


With seven years on the breakfast show, Cliff has also earned himself listeners who get his dry and wacky sense of humour. But what he manages to do and perhaps be commended for is making current affairs stick and inciting dissent and debate around it. His joke about the pope was linked to the fact that ChisaNyama owners were preparing to protest the proposed law to not allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays. So at the heart of his gags is the motive to tap into what society may be thinking about.


He’s the authoritative voice on the show, but he manages with a spirited team that consists of news anchor, Leigh-Ann Mol; executive producer, Thabo Modisane; Traffic presenter, Mabale Moloi,; Assistant producer, Damon Kalvari and sports presenter Sias Du Plessis. Together they have an interesting camaraderie which has been made fluid by the experience of working together. For a news reader, Leigh-Ann has a less serious approach to her which is refreshing, but also borders on the authority that comes with a news anchor.


Thabo Modisane has the kind of voice that makes one want to crack up and his personality adds to the wackiness of the show. Everyone has a role to play and they lend their voice when they should. The whole show feels like a good example of what a reality radio show could sound and feel like. It is wacky, but also laid back, as if the team is not trying to prove a point, but just being themselves. Things get real to the point where you can most times, almost hear what is happening in the background. It can get a little irritating however when Cliff comments in between a bulletin.


But when there are technical difficulties, his experience helps him keep his cool and his authority is tested. His humour and his views also keep his team on its toes and incite debate from within. When talking about President Zuma and the Freedom Front Plus’ dialogue on white people still holding a high financial position in the country’s economy, it made for an interesting discussion. Although, it felt like Moloi held herself back somehow, and was afraid to challenge Cliff. 


The music is a good mix of popular music. It adds to the fun vibes that the show exudes. 5FM Mornings, is probably one of the best breakfast radio shows in this country. It might rub others the wrong way, and might seem a little offbeat. But it is its eccentricity that makes the show what it is.  What’s more, that quality does not seem forced it feels organic. 


And when April comes, which is the time when the radio industry tends to announce new line up, the 5FM Mornings team should be sitting pretty.       



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