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Mahlangu’s third powerful stand at the awards

Posted by radio On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on Mahlangu’s third powerful stand at the awards


Lifestyle shows on radio can be a bit tepid sometimes. The local scene has made it its business to focus on how middle class folk have risen from their previously disadvantaged childhoods to glorious affluence in their adult years. Surely there is better story telling than that. To produce content in this realm requires an authentic touch with everyday reality that does not border on suburban housewife whims. Bongani Mahlangu has made it his job to make lifestyle talk as genuine as possible. He is the exucutive content producer of Power Life, hosted by Masechaba Lekalake. Mahlangu’s acclaim lies with his ability to zero in on relevant topics of the day. Radiobiz speaks to him about the game of content production and his nomination for an MTN Radio Award.

Bongani Mahlangu



Bongani: Indeed, it has been a blessing to be nominated three years in a row. The competition has always been tight, but it’s also an honour to be nominated amongst thousands of talented and hardworking producer. Being an Executive Content Producer comes with a lot of challenges and trials along the writing path. I am humbled by the nomination, and I am grateful that people believe in my potential and skills in telling our stories.



Bongani: One thing amazing about the show is that it has no ideal listener. The Power Life is the soul of Power fm 98.7. It is a movement birthed on the radio, that reflects the personal lives of ordinary Africans – through their stories; and features that focus on personal development, empowerment and HEALING. The Power Life is for any man or woman who relates to human issues, who is driven by a need for growth and a desire to find personal fulfillment. Given the human-interest value of the show, the Power Life speaks to everyone: from the doctor to the petrol attendant, young and old. It’s a platform where people can just BE. A place where they find solace,strength and HOPE. A place for all people who share the POWER vision of BREAKING THE GENERATIONAL CURSE – it’s about healing the pain of our past, to create a foundation on which we can RE- BUILD our nation. One person at a time. There is no other way to be than to live a POWER LIFE.




Bongani: Phew!!! This is a tough one…The challenge is that I do not depend on analysts, newspaper or googled stories. I have to speak with the real people about their PERSONAL lives, which is one of the most challenging things when it comes to research. Long hours, trying to
convince potential guests, briefing your presenter, and there’s quite a challenging creativity of coming up with new conversations every single day. The stories have to make sense, and the biggest thing is to touch people in their individual space, one soul at the time.




Bongani: I am father to a four year old, I was there when she was born, I was there when she took her first step, I was there when she teethed and I was there when she said my name for the first time. I am
sure that Power FM is doing very well. We are not under pressure to impress or compete with anyone. The team is united towards achieving a common goal.




Bongani: I am not quite fussy. I like the fact that we don’t have to give any speeches ( smiling ) . I am comfortable with how it has been run and coordinated . It would be great to give the event more
coverage and PR exposure. 

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Jozi gone chic on radio

Posted by radio On April - 4 - 2014 Comments Off on Jozi gone chic on radio


Joburg being a city forever in flux, has all sorts of interesting trends bubbling under it. What better way to chronicle these happenings through an intimate medium such as radio? Radio Today’s Chic Jozi does exactly that. The show hosted by a trio of fire brands in Nikki Temkin (NT), Lisa and Taryn Cohn (LC &TC), has urban wonders at the heart of it. The weekly slot broadcast on 1485am and 869DSTV Audio comes with wit, irreverence and cosmopolitan freshness. Radiobiz caught up with the Chic Jozi team to chat about city trends, gentrification and other things that bring Jozi to life.




Radiobiz : Joburg is a city ever bubbling with new trends, how do sieve through all the rubble to come up with content for Chic Jozi?


NT :We do a lot of research, have a large network of contacts between the three of us and only follow the things that we are interested in and passionate about. There is so much stuff happening in the city but we know what we like and where to find the right info for your show. We follow food, theatre, fashion, art, culture, books and interesting people.


TC : Honestly it’s not that hard. We have been privileged to be given a platform and the freedom to do our thing. Since we have been doing it for a while now the stories come to us. Its literally a space where we get to talk about things that we love anyway. There is this guy who sells books on a corner on Empire Street, but not until he has read them and can review them for you. I mean content wise, you just drive past it every day! Plus, my take is that there is an interesting side to anything, so sometimes it not having more mundane press releases about usual suspects (theatre, parties blah blah) but having interesting discussions about “mundane” things. One of my favourite shows was actually one we did with the owner of an industrial cleaning business- you know, the guys who clean your carpets, mattresses and stuff. We took a bit of a “Sunshine Cleaning” angle on that and got to ask about stuff like dead bodies, dodgy stains and people’s weird house habits. I mean seriously, if you clean peoples mattresses for a living you see some craaazzyyyyy stuff. (and possibly find a secret cash stash). Actually, that woman was a far more interesting interview than the one we did with the dude who exorcises poltergeists for a living. And you would have thought he’d have stories ! nyone I know.


LC : I think, as a team, we’re working professionally at the forefront of a lot of trends that come up countrywide & citywide. Also, we are lucky enough to be mates with a lot of Jozi’s movers & shakers. Plus, when all else fails, there’s always Aunty Google, and a few bloggers we can rely on who manage to do some of the curation work for us.


Nikki 02


Radiobiz : Do any of you assume different characters during your show? Who is known for doing what?


TC : The thing about radio is that its really the most honest medium out there. I was told early on that you cannot maintain a persona in that space, because ultimately the real person comes through. It’s so true. So we have kind of developed a natural dynamic that feeds off one another and is an extension of that side of our personalities that fits behind a mic. Lisa and Nikki will say I’m never allowed to choose the music- except when I am flying solo, my selection rocks… the station manager says so. To be serious though, I guess my “stance” is that humour is the best way to set a guest at ease, so that’s the role I like to play. Humour also allows me to ask the questions that I know everyone is dying to ask or thinking but would never. Humour disarms people so that you can really dig deep. With me, there are no sacred cows. (except of course my own). Lisa is definitely the music Guru and has a secret thing for food stuff and a less secret thing for Cars. She has this thing she does when she’s “getting serious”. She leans into her mike and literally strokes an imaginary beard, grasps her chin and with her glasses pulls a “Professor” type move. She is also totally excited by digital everything. Nikki kind of gets her “hectic city girl mother” groove one. In truth she is one of the most grounded people I know but likes to play on the fun side of Mom Whose Kids dropped Her Cell Phone in the Toilet space. To be fair though, her kid did literally drop her cell phone (aka her life) in the toilet. Plus she’s really fun to tease. Nikki is also our local literally genius. She has read everything and knows everything about every author. Between Nikki and Lisa, when it comes to books, I feel really only comfortable commenting on whether I like the jacket covers or not! Lisa is also my sister so we get to do what sisters do best which is totally fight a lot gang up on one another but also present a united front. And we are all typically outspoken opinionated Jewish Jo’burg Princesses which I think is either a hell of a lot of fun for our guests or a bit like standing in the eye of a hurricane.


LC : I think we do. Taryn is the political pundit and the outspoken one. Between her and Nikki, one of them never fails to say what everyone else is thinking, but is afraid to say. My personal identity at the
moment is the ditz, since I have a severe case of new mommy brain!


NT : Taryn is the loudmouth and will say anything to anybody. She pulls no punches and gets straight to the heart of the matter. I call her motor mouth. Lisa is super intellectual and very cerebral and so has a different take on topics, she also loves to choose the music. I am very very dry, sometimes prone to ranting and often try and pull off accents on the show which Taryn then mocks. I love to talk about books, film and TV, pop culture and politics.



Radiobiz : The city is currently going through changes in the wake of gentrification, this has many thinking that an area such Maboneng precinct is the be all – end all place where alternative culture is concerned. Do you think this does a disservice to other pockets of the city with more edgier goings on?


NT : I think that Maboneng has captured a market and it’s also done a lot of marketing and exposure around what it has to offer, live music, art and events. So, other places can offer amazing, edgier things but if nobody has awareness of it, what’s the point even if it wants to be a cult place and not mainstream, you still have to put word out. These days one has to really be out there on social media and in the press etc to let people know you are around. Maboneng and Arts on Main and Neighbourgoods Market and Juta Street are adding to the culture of the city and we need to support them and other places like them. Hopefully more and more pockets will be springing up when they see how successful these places are. I see more and more pockets of the city becoming gentrified and cool and hope that one day more of us will live, work and play in the Jozi city as our urban centre.


LC : I don’t think it necessarily does a disservice to those other areas, as, typical of Jozi, what is consistent is change, and addition. So every piece of Jozi that gets gentrified adds a new layer to the
dynamic of the city, the resistance and response to these areas evolve the conversation about city spaces, social dynamics and urban design, as well as create a platform for different kind of events and
goings-on. What’s important is to not miss out on the organic growth and evolution of culture in this city, and to observe and partake in how the two different sides can and do influence each other. A good case in point is, thanks to the popularity of the gentrification and hipster-fication of Braamfontein & Maboneng, Soweto itself has come up with a monthly lifestyle market, which cannot help but be


TC : Community social structures and city developments is one of my “things”. I could write a thesis with my thoughts on this about Jozi. My day job is in the Art world (I am a management consultant for visual arts). Artists are universally at the forefront of what eventually becomes gentrifications. It’s ironic actually. Artists begin to congregate around neighbourhoods because of their proximity to suppliers, cheapness of studio space and generally they are more engaged with the happens on the streets due to the nature of their work. Developers sniff out the artists and move in, building on the “edgey” character of a neighbourhood to upgrade it. Its goes great for a while. Buzzey restaurants, hipsters and apartments for corporates who wish they had a different life, and then becomes too expensive for the artists who started it all, so they move on to the next one and the cycle continues. What happened in Mabong happened in Milpark, Melville, Braamfontein, Newtown and in years gone by even Hilbrow. I have lived in Joburg all my life with breaks for school in Bloem and Varsity in Stellenbosch. I have also had opportunity to travel extensively- im very lucky to have seen so many places and get a view on how urban centres develop. As a result I don’t take the “seriousness” of these issues so seriously anymore because it is the cycle of gentrification which is crucial to the constant refreshing of a city landscape. It happens the same way everywhere and the plusses and minuses are the same. Its currently happening in Williamsburg (NY). I love hanging out at Maboneng, and so many other places in Jozi, but two points I do want to make are firstly, the irony of Maboneng’s gentrification is that it creates a feeling of a bubble within a space in the city. People feel not just safe, but actually “cool” to venture downtown because of it, but we are really good at looking through and past things in JHB, and its amazing how the hoardes look right past the indigent local community of that area that has been there since before and has been pushed just to the edges of the “district”. Those who actually live there cannot afford the local offerings so will eventually move one. So what we call regeneration of a city is really just like moving pieces of a chess board. When the cool kids move in, the not so cool kids need to move somewhere else, but they are still somewhere! In Williamsberg everyone is “hipster watching” on the streets where vintage shops vy with expensive coffee. And the Orthodox Jewish community who occupied this space are merely moving their activities to the second story (less expensive) real estate. I wonder how long before Yarmulke and Peos sightings in Williamsberg will be a rarity. The second is a shorter point, the lesson here to Joburgers is to keep your eyes and minds open to the non-obvious. There is for example the most amazing Ethiopian district down town, but its hidden behind the obvious surface of the city, unless you know where to look- and suddenly its really easy to find. How many people have experienced Ethiopian Jozi?




Radiobiz : Cities are gaining more prominence by the day, what role do you think radio should play in emerging urban narratives?


TC : I think that community radio is the worlds most underestimated media format. It’s a direct representation of a community, as well as a direct way to reach people who like what you like or who live where you live. I think that the future of radio is super exciting. Its already happening- pod casts and internet where anyone with an idea, time and interest can broadcast themselves to the world. People follow. My personal favourite podcast is This American Life which I download religiously ever week and listen too on road trips. Its immediate and provides the soundtrack for some many peoples day to day lives. If I had a full time life in radio that’s the kind of radio I can make.


NT : Radio, the most amazing medium which I love so much, needs to support the people who have vision, who are taking risks, entrepreneurs who are creating something out of our city, bringing us together with a cultural narrative and reinvigorating our arts, culture, fashion, music etc. Radio must play a role her in bringing news of urban living in Jozi to our listeners.


LC : Radio is a fantastic medium for engaging with the city, particularly as it links to the web and social media. Conversations are started in real time on radio, that then cross mediums and continue for a longer life span online. I think the key mechanic to look at is the instant real-time localised nature of radio which then sustains and evolves an always-on conversation on the web.



Radiobiz : If Joburg was to have a perpetual soundtrack what would it be?


NT : House alarms, ducks, dogs, kwaito, hooters, gunshots, gospel and traffic.


LC:Tough question, because there are so many elements at play. In a literal sense it is the sound of drills, cranes, cement mixers and traffic. But in the musical sense, I still think that the Yizo Yizo soundtrack provides a great backdrop and starting point for understanding the culture of the city.


TC : Its certainly a 70’s rock type soundtrack for me. It’s the soundtrack of gitty music that is not yet slick. It’s the sound of learning the things we can do with clunky and noisy machinery. Its like the album your parents said you couldn’t listen to without ear phones cos “its ridiculous what you kids call music these days” and yet years later that album turned out to be seminal in the progress of music- and you feel vindicated by your choices, because now instead of being a silly kid, you feel like a you were in fact a visionary whose instinct is now finely honed. 


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Moods,Media and Nkandla with Koffi Kouakou

Posted by radio On April - 3 - 2014 Comments Off on Moods,Media and Nkandla with Koffi Kouakou


What are the true perceptions of society amid Nkandlagate and what role has media played in unearthing all its unsavory details? The knee-jerk response would be to hail the press for their recent efforts, but is that enough to write home about? Radiobiz chats to Koffi Kouakou, analyst and scenario planning lecturer at Wits University to diagnose the moods at play in the wake of the latest happenings in the country.



Radiobiz : Looking at the unrelenting and scandals that have arisen in the wake of Nkandla’s security upgrades, do you think the media should be lauded for bringing forth all the undesirables or is it just overkill? Explain.

KK : Yes, indeed. The media should be praised for doing so, and for doing a great job. It has been a raining season for the media to relentlessly expose political scandals in South Africa. But I believe it is not enough. There is so much to expose that the media are only touching the tip of the political patronage, public funds mismanagement, corruption, nepotism and the crime icebergs. And the list goes on. To complete the coverage circle, the media should also focus more on business crimes. Not many business crimes are zealously covered as political cronyism and patronage.


Radiobiz : A recent poll by market researchers, Ipsos, reveals a total 44% of the population thinks that the country is going under compared to 40% who think we are doing just fine. From a futurist point of view, what is your take on these stats and the mood of the country?

KK : Statistics are what they are. They have their inherent biases. Yet they are very revealing. They may not reflect exactly the reality and the mood of the country. But they provide a sense of order of proportion and magnitude that signal the nature of future events. They indicate upturn and downside, best and worst case scenarios. It is clear that the mood of the country resonates very well with the future shift toward a downward spiral at many levels in South Africa. There is a great deal of discontent, disenchantment, confusion, anger and unhappiness about the way the country is led, governed and managed. So the Ipsos poll captures part of that negative mood swing well about the country and its future. The 44% seem correct.


Radiobiz : Does the whole government driven mantra “We have a good story to tell” hold any water. If Yes/No, why?

KK : There is no water to hold. And the water is being polluted with stories of corruption, nepotism, inept leadership and mismanagement. The government driven mantra about “we have a good story to tell” is misleading. It is pure propaganda. A good story tells itself. A bad one has to be forcefully reminded to us, all the time. There used to be a good story to tell in South Africa. Now there isn’t; simply because the new custodians of the good story, the new storytellers, have poorly managed its sound legacy narrative. They have lost its credible plot. How well can anyone tell a good story with a stark backdrop of deepening poverty, widening inequality, high unemployment, entrenched corruption, growing crime and grotesque intolerances of all sorts? The signs of a good story to tell are hard to find today. And the point is not just to tell a so-called good story, but to point to the elements that make that good story. And recently there are very few of these good story elements visible. Indeed and sadly, it is a very tough story to tell.


Radiobiz : Can you mention three elements that the government PR machine is at odds with right now.

KK : First element, the government underestimates the intelligence of its citizens. The government is at odds with its own communications policies. It communicates poorly with its own citizens. It is a ventriloquist government. It communicates via preferred spokespersons. In addition, it does not communicate regularly, promptly, openly and honestly. Second element, the government doesn’t provide citizens with meaningful information that matter to their lives promptly. And finally government officials facing ethical and moral issues are in constant denial of their wrongdoings. They refuse to recognize that they have done wrong even when the evidence has been established.


Radiobiz : What kind of unpretentious rhetoric/narrative do South Africans need hear from all political parties right now?

KK : South Africans expect honesty, humility, less grandstanding, less arrogance, some accountability, a better spending of their taxes and a rapid response to their needs from all political parties. They also need a new moral leadership that genuinely cares about their concerns, hopes and some compassion for their daily livelihood struggle.


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Africa behind the mic

Posted by radio On March - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Africa behind the mic


According to Professor Vusi Gumede’s address at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, “there are three pillars which should ascertain that Africa captures the 22nd century as the African century.” The first is that “Africa needs strong institutions of higher learning” and secondly a “forward thinking media”. A free and vibrant media is the corner stone of any thriving civilization which the continent is gradually coming to grips with. Africa has always been thought of as a homogeneous landscape with only wars, poverty and gore as its claim to fame. This of course is a nonsensical observation meant to serve the interests of those intimidated by what the continent may grow into. It is hereby that Radiobiz embarks on a series that highlights some of the most interesting radio stations that Africa has to offer. These are pockets of incredible innovation and storytelling.



Kenya – Radio Citizen

This is Kenya’s biggest radio station owing not only to its footprint but the audience it commands. It targets the ‘common man’, who form a greater part of the country’s population. Radio Citizen has the most transmission sites for an FM station in Kenya today, giving it the deepest penetration countrywide. Frequencies include Nairobi – 106.7FM, Nakuru – 100.5FM, Kisumu – 97.6FM, Mombasa – 97.3FM, Nyeri – 104.3FM, Meru – 94.3FM, Chuka – 93.2FM, Eldoret – 90.4FM, Garissa – 95.7FM, Kitui – 89.9FM, Wundanyi…ll Kenyans can tune in and enjoy the broadcast. The station format is unpretentious and downright local, thus appealing to the masses. The station offers a rich menu of news, features, talk shows, games and a distinct selection of the finest African tunes. Some of the top ranking shows include Jambo Kenya, Yaliyotendeka, Chapa Kazi, Mambo Mseto, Drive On, Makombora and Roga Roga amongst several others.Through various activations, the station has attracted large numbers; this is a great show of loyalty.


Mozambique – 99 fm

The 99FM has a young and dynamic team as well as a virtual interface that offers interesting commentary through animation. The youth station broadcasts to Maputo 99.3 , Edge 89.3, Nampula 97.3 , Xai Xai 95.0, Inhambane 96.0 ,Tete 95.0, Pemba 99.5, and now worldwide via the Internet


Zambia – Q FM

QFM is a bastion of up to the minute contemporary news, commentary and lifestyle. Its market focus is to offer urban and cosmpolitan oriented content that gives insights on what is happening in Lusaka and other parts of Zambia. QFM’s blog goes as far as broadcasting entertainment news happening around the world.


Botswana – Yarona FM

From its conception, Yarona FM has identified itself with the “freshest” and newest songs, targeted towards Botswana’s urban youth audience. Its initial tag lines were “Re tswhere vibe”: setswana for “we’ve got the vibe” and “blazing GC’s most rocking tunes”. When the station went national in 2008, the tag line changed to “Live the music”. Yarona FM is a positive, upwardly mobile forward thinking brand that encapsulates the aspirations, style, language, lives and future of the Youth of Botswana.




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What’s faith got to do with it

Posted by radio On March - 17 - 2014 Comments Off on What’s faith got to do with it


It is Sunday and the emotive intro of organ keys and horns blare for an uninterrupted three minutes. This is Lesedi FM’s Makgulong A Matala ident, the show hosted by the theatrical Thuso Motaung and hype-man /official preacher ntate Lefu Maine. The show is one of Lesedi FM’s major audience drawers, if not the most listened to in the land when the clock strikes 9:00 on Sundays.




Makgulong A Matala is a peculiar mix of a church sermon, folk-gossip and classic fiction. The feature’s staying power lies with its ability to feed from everyday livelihoods of working and lower class black people. Through the deliberately overzealous Motaung, who can be heard breaking out in a staged preacher’s cry, “bana barona ba fedile…bana barona ba fedile dispotong le di tarveneng”, meaning our children have been devoured by the love of liquor at these drinking haunts. Motaung guns for the very essence of a people looking for answers and salvation, this he strategically does by stirring the inner with stories that are relative to day to day dialogue albeit the noticeably comedic slant.



Whilst Rhema church’s ‘Big Sound’ is the main attraction on Sunday morning television, Makgulong A Matala has undoubtedly monopolised the faith game on radio during the same time. Broadcasting in the Sesotho language, its listeners are from varying cultural and ethnic groups.



The abundant ratings on Motaung’s show clearly indicate this country’s appetite for putting faith in a higher power. Most people are still crusading die hards whose belief in scripture is unparalled. The good ol ‘we shall overcome’ narrative is exactly what faith based broadcasting capitalises on. These are afterall trying times for the soul in the face of gross inequality, leaderlessness and violation of the weak. It is a no-brainer why every corner in the CBD has folks miming gospel tunes, and why Metrorail coaches are often the holiest ground, with bearded township padres demanding repentance. People want something to believe in. Where else if not on a powerful and intimate medium such as radio, at that on a show that will ground the holy tidings with a bit of next door hearsay. Morality aside, this places Lesedi FM’s long standing faith based show at the top of the radio circuit.





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Brooks on the need for satire in talk

Posted by radio On March - 14 - 2014 Comments Off on Brooks on the need for satire in talk


There have to be plenty of fables behind a man whose Twitter profile image has him shouldering a massive reptile. Adventurous or pure maxing on the ‘lover of nature’ narrative, there just is a story there. Gushwell Brooks is the bloke in question in this instance. He has done his time as a graveyard commentator on 702 talk station, he lately does early breakfast as well as Talk at Nine. Dues plentifully paid by this snakeophile, Radiobiz talks to him about courting the audience of spooks at night, his involvement with Jay Naidoo Foundation and what can be expected in next Daily Maverick Gathering.



Radiobiz : It can’t be easy trying to grab the attention of night owls, what has been the most challenging aspects of hosting a night time talk show and how have you rose above it?

GB : I do not do as much overnight radio talk shows as I used to. I now do a little more early breakfast and talk Talk at Nine, starting at 21:00. However, I enjoy late night radio. It gives listeners an opportunity to elaborate their analysis of points of discussion. We can take the time about to chat about a range of events, from newsworthy, contemporary topics to anything else the mind imagines. The key is to be relatively well informed and to be prepared to talk about almost anything.


Radiobiz : You have done some work with the Jay Naidoo foundation. Breakdown the experience.

GB: I helped in maintaining Mr Naidoo’s blog and managed one or two projects as well. Overall the experience was truly rewarding. It gave me insight into how important citizen participation is in the realization of social justice for all. I believe that I have always been socially conscious, however, working with Mr Naidoo, as former Minister under Mr Mandela’s Cabinet, Founding Secretary General of COSATU, he gave me great insight into what some challenges the world faced. He is truly an inspiration and I am very fortunate having worked with him and having learnt from him.


Radiobiz : These are interesting times in SA : Looming elections, Oscar trial, Nkandla gate, service delivery protests. What do you think the agenda will be at this year’s Daily Maverick Gathering? The Daily Maverick

GB : The Daily Maverick’s Gathering is always exciting, as equally exciting as the events that transpire in South Africa. It ensures that its gathering gives key player’s involved in South African politics and developments. They give these individuals an opportunity to outline challenges and developments and an interactive platform to answer questions around these. When The Daily Maverick hosts the event, it will be absolutely exciting.


Radiobiz : 702 has received flack in the past and seen as a platform to complain about potholes and power cuts in the Northern suburbs. What is your take on this barrage of criticism?

GB : Talk Radio 702 as a talk station feeds its discussion from what listeners and the news bring to the table. It is a balanced platform where anything from gender rights, to E-tolls, potholes, politics and economic equality can be discussed. It is eclectic, looking at a range of issues that develop locally and internationally. Not every point of discussion will be a priority to everyone at every opportunity, but it does not make it less interesting, or less valid. It simply allows everyone to participate in the conversation.


Radiobiz : Talk is said to be rock n roll without the music. What do you love most about the format?

GB : I Love Rock ‘N Roll too. Well, I love talk radio because I have a real interest in current affairs and I enjoy verbal and written analysis on these issues. In as much as I like frivolities in life, there is a serious side that needs dialogue and thought and I will always choose talk radio over any other form of broadcasting.


Radiobiz : What do you think is currently lacking in the local talk scene?

GB : I regularly watch Comedy Central’s Jon Steward’s Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I do believe that we need more satirical news analysis shows of this nature. Despite, its satirical nature, it provides excellent analysis on news events and politics in the United States. I believe that we need more of this type of analysis, something fun yet informative. I do believe that television and radio have a lot more space for talk shows of various formats and I hope to see it grow in future.


Radiobiz : What goes into preparing your show?

GB : Having a constant finger on the pulse of news developments is essential. I then go out of my way to try to familiarise myself on various issues that might be up for discussion, I throw out possible issues for discussion and we take it from there. For interviews, I jot down questions I think would be important to ask, but the flow of the conversation tends to inform direction.

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Hip Hop’s radio story : Part 2

Posted by radio On March - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on Hip Hop’s radio story : Part 2


Hip Hop’s radio story continued


Nina Simone’s catalogue is a heavy swell of blues that the trio of Zubz, Nyamz and Mizi aim to channel in the tribute. A whiff of the studio environment whilst these folks are at work, leaves an excitement on the palate, similar to that they left years ago as starters during YFM’s open sessions. Speaking to Inyambo ‘Nyambz’ Imenda about what lies ahead, he illustrates in verbal picture form what they wish to achieve through the project. He embarks on a song breakdown :

Nyamz and mizi


‘Be My Husband (Handiende Part 2)’. “The story told by Zubz on one of his all time classics ‘Handiende’ from his album Listeners Digest, is that of a husband trying to explain to his wife that he has found new love. He is asking for her understanding. To many fans of Zubz work, there has, for the past decade, been the question of “what happens next?”. Through this new song, the story continues, this time from the perspective of “the other woman”. The texture of the song is tense yet has plenty of open space in the music. This creates an environment for a harsh dialogue between Zubz and Nina Simone, who play the husband and new love respectively. Compared to the wife from Handiende, who is more of a traditional African woman, the new woman is one who has adopted more western views and is not afraid to express herself.”



‘Doctor Goodlungs’ – “This is a high energy rap collaboration between Zubz and Nina Simone. And yes, to a large extent, Nina is rapping on this record. In the production, a traditional 4-4 hip hop pattern is masked by a pacey set of drums, both synthetic and organic. The song is about the lies fed to us by politicians, as well as those fed to us by rappers. Nina Simone’s hook, “Always rapping bout the same old thing” speaks to rappers using the same subject matter, as well as politicians who talk a good one but cannot deliver.”



‘Come Closer’ with Rebel – I – Soldier featuring Masta Ace – “This is a mellow, emotionally charged song, marshaled by the sweet melodies of Rebel-I-Soldier, a song where Zubz and the legendary Masta Ace collaborate to pay tribute to special women in their lives. Masta Ace chooses to desiccate his verse to his daughter. It is a true honor to have an Mcee of such acclaim choose to write such a personal piece of music on our project. All the way from New York, he has chosen a South African album to send a message to his daughter who is back in New York. This fact alone shows the belief in this project, not just by our local team, but also by our friends abroad.”



‘Listen’ featuring Kojo Baffoe – “With the meaning of rap being Rhythm And Poetry, the team felt it fitting for one of SA’s most talented rhythmic poets to feature one of the most influential writer and poet, Kojo. The collaboration places the Mc in the poetry space, as well as place the poet in the MC space. This is an introspective track aimed at making you stop and listen. ‘New Day’ featuring ProVerb In our view this is easily the collaboration of the year, and could well be the collaboration of the decade. With two of SA hip hop’s greatest lyricists delivering what they believe are the strongest bars they have ever written, this is no less than a certified rap classic. The chemistry between the two veterans is flawless, with both MCs showing each other the respect to step up and bend minds as usual. This is a street banger with heavy kicks and aggressive horns. “


The tribute to Nina Simone is to be released in the third quarter of 2014

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Hip Hop’s radio story

Posted by radio On March - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on Hip Hop’s radio story


Part 1

In what was a typically balmy Pretoria day, the scribe happened to be in studio to witness a rare moment that held together nostalgia and newness. It was at Goliath Studios that the lyrical feign, Zubz was recording a song called ‘New Day’ in a project that dares to pay homage to the Priestess of soul, Nina Simone. The idea of a tribute to Simone had been plentifully mulled over by the team of Mizi Mtshali, Inyambo Imenda and Zubz. Which in its own way was a call and response between lyricism, production and the overarching nod of respect to Simone. To genuinely delve into Nina Simone’s social commentary and blues, there has to be an authentic soul relationship with her, which the trio hopes the audience will have the heart to sense with every renewed listen. Just as it did evoke spirituals, the studio sit in was a convinient reminder how the medium of radio served the Hip Hop game.



Memory would have that, when respected Hip Hop/Rap acts emerged in days of old, such as Senyaka then Prophets of the City, radio did not by least land an ear. The art form was seen as foreign and too brash to appease the status quo. Senyaka’s song ‘Jabulani MC’ with its rap fueled township narrative, was a gem only known to those who had the inclination to exchange TDK tapes amongst themselves and privy to what the scene in the US was getting up to in the form of Afrika Bambaata, De La Soul and early NWA.


The airwaves did not touch such, not maybe until a certain young Glen Lewis broke the rules whilst at Radio Bop to start acquainting listeners to POC. This was during a politically unstable time in South Africa, which had the National Party reeling over the second state of emergency in the country. Nelson Mandela had just been released and the townships, especially Joburg hostels, amok with ANC-Inkatha violence. The last thing the Nats needed was a socially conscious group from the Cape, rapping about freeing your mind and combating political injustice. Glen Lewis then at Radio Metro did the same by playing the classic that is the Muthaload mixtape, a remnant of what emerged from the legendary Le Club, once wedged downtown Joburg on Market Street, where artists such Amu, Tumi Molekane, Mr. Selwyn and the lyrically ferocious Krookid The Warmonger started out.



So it was on this day of Zubz and Proverb’s reinterpretation of Nina’s ‘New Day’ that amassed the most pivotal time in our Hip Hop history, the timeline sends you back to the birth that urchin in 1997 known as YFM. The station more than gave Hip Hop mobility, it gave it currency and importance in terms of urban culture that rose in the late 90s and early millennium. To metaphorically feed from a classic that both Zubz and Proverb conceived at the time, ‘Performance Of Your Life’ alongside Tumi Molekane, YFM was there at the right time. It was indeed the performance of its Life.


The station became a bastion where backpackers could lay bare spirited freestyles, battles and shameless punting of their latest releases. This being on shows such as Groove Kamikaze, Rap Activity Jam and Harambe. Y FM became the shining beacon for faithfuls and enterprising souls that had the vision to make the art form into an industry. The homage to Nina Simone, championed by visionaries : Inyambo Imenda, Zubz and Mizi brought it closer to home. Made it come full circle.





A brief history of working together


Zubz, Mizi Mtshali and Iyambo ‘Nyamz’ Imenda worked on Zubz’s urban-experimental, Headphone Music In A parallel World. Zubz being the emcee/lyricist and Nyambz & Mizi on production. Zubz is a well respected musician who has released works such as Listener’s Digest,Headphone Music In A parallel World and Cocleah : One last letter.

His narrative has revolved around relationships, speaking truth to power and the capitalistic nature of modern day Hip Hop. The Joburg and Pretoria Hip Hop scene firmly rested on Nyambz’s shoulders from 2003-2005. Mizi Mtshali’s editorial style whilst honcho at Hype, catapulted the magazine to the mainstream and he has also made some infectious beats for several Hip Hop artists.

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Sisane’s Spirituals on The Art of Sunday

Posted by radio On March - 9 - 2014 Comments Off on Sisane’s Spirituals on The Art of Sunday


Brenda Sisane’s The Art Of Sunday on Kaya FM can be likened to a healer’s brew for its spirituals, or maybe even a strange fruit for its positively fueled surprises, to borrow from Lady Day. Between 10:00 -14:00 of every Sunday, Sisane invites the wary and parched for a sermon of soul inspired music(s). The radio terrain has been hers to divine ever since the days of Radio Bop. She has not by the least wavered or abandoned the cause of healing. Radiobiz got close to her alter for meditation and this is what her spirituals have in store.

Brenda S



Radiobiz : You are of a generation that is well versed in musical knowledge, do you think modern day radio formats provide enough space to share those nuggets of wisdom on sound in real listening time?


Brenda Sisane : I believe radio as the theater of the mind IS about these nuggets, especially the music formats I work with which are in my opinion ‘ contemplative’ listening, and as such about listening beyond the song.



Radiobiz : According to you what song best describes these times in South Africa?


Brenda Sisane : Caiphus and Letta, not yet UHURU, amongst many some without lyrics but sadly wailing about sadness and oppression of some sort.



Radiobiz : As a specialist communications consultant in the creative arts, what have you found are the most problematic areas in regards to local musicians positioning themselves?


Brenda Sisane : The quandary between what the record companies want for commercial reasons, and what artists bring to the table in terms of indigenous form and nuance, that can benefit the desire to build a music industry with its own character.



Radiobiz : If ever given the opportunity to creatively direct a musical theatre piece, how would you treat it?


Brenda Sisane : A Lot of what we have to offer has to be presented within a historical context that guides the thought process, so I would use voice, and images. Language being a very seductive accompaniment to musical chords.



Radiobiz : Kaya fm has become a sort of a well spring of healing via music on any given Sunday, what else do you think the programming on the last the week offers audiences?


Brenda Sisane : Offers an opportunity to unwind and take in the rest of their week, while inspiring thee listener into a new revitalized mood for the week ahead.



Radiobiz : Take us through your preparation process for the Art Of Sunday


Brenda Sisane : It starts with a feedback session with production immediately after the show, forwarding information and feedback from listeners both negative and positive so it becomes part of the discussion. Then it follows with a process of taking in the cultural activities of the week ahead, and some breaking news as they emerge relating to the show’s content. Constant communication with the team is key. We always engage to discuss the relevance and how the music aspect can enhance the The Art Of Sunday narrative. By the middle of the week we already have the show in the bag and are preparing for interviews if need be which usually takes place at the end of the week so that its as fresh as possible on the Sunday. Some heavy weight news change the skew of the planning in the middle to accommodate the issue of relevance and prioritizing news that interest our listener.



Radiobiz : There is a crop of impressive young musicians in the scene that use Jazz as a point of departure such as Tumi Mogorosi, Planet Lindela and Future History, where do you think this wave comes from and is local radio playing their music enough?


Brenda Sisane : Absolutely love this energy, it gives hope for a vibrant industry in my opinion. Most times the inspiration comes from the formative years of the musician, what they have been exposed to and the affinity this has created in them. For Some it is divine intervention during a soul searching moment when a jazz angel intervened in the form of a friend or a muse and introduced them to the art form.



Radiobiz : If you were to relive your days at Bop Radio and Radio Metro, what would you say made those platforms the giants of that time?


Brenda Sisane : Radio Bop was keen to innovate around what African language stations were offering at the time, as well as adroitly evading the restrictions of apartheid on music content, those were the days when records would be arrive with some track being scratched out because it had words that were considered ‘Undesirable ‘. So it was an era where music that affirms the black community was played on these radio stations , music that was not easily available to the man on the street. sounds such as soul, funk, R&B , as well as dialogue relating to this music provided cultural escapism for the listener. With Radio Metro, I enjoyed the opportunity to explore the musical knowledge I had amassed over time, and deliberately chose to do jazz and find my newly defined radio roots on this platform.



Radiobiz : You have more than once hailed Afrikan Freedom Station as one of the haunts to be for live music, what other pockets that house musical wonders do you recommend?


Brenda Sisane : I have to admit that at some point I was looking for a place to find comforting jazz, and the Freedom Station was there with its signature intimate gigs some exploring collaborations untried before, that was an immediate appeal to me.



Radiobiz : Sun Ra had his philosophy on an intergalactic African diaspora and Malombo music became a philosophy in itself. What is the philosophy that you want to share with world?


Brenda Sisane : The names you mention and the word giant reside comfortably next to one anther, I’m a mere music facilitator who believes it is possible to play various tunes alongside one another and create perfect harmony…if done right…this is our constant drive with every show. It is difficult to find music freedom and be restricted in how you present it…i love every genre, and love picking the best of the bunch.





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Life after the mic for former Yfm jocs

Posted by radio On February - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Life after the mic for former Yfm jocs

[By: Kagiso Mnisi]


Life transitions are never an easy task, especially when moving on to lead a life different to what the widespread public has come to know you for. It is not unusual for media practitioners to hang their gloves in pursuit of penning the obligatory book, going into other fields of business interest or reflecting on a career well spent. Two examples of this paradigm shift is that of once well known features on YFM, namely Dreshni “Dre” Pillay and Sandile “Sanza” Tshabala. Tracking these Y-ers from yesteryear had this in store.



Dreshni Pillay

Dreshni Pillay

Dreshni Pillay


She rose from hosting a quiz show on a newly launched etv, to producing a show for Thato “Dj Fresh” Sikwane and clinched it through a co-hosting a mid-morning gig called DK@Y alongside Fana “Khabzela” Khaba on YFM. Dreshni quickly rose to be the regional station’s darling and soundboard to the otherwise township cackling Khaba. Her latest incarnation is that of a mother. She resides in Swaziland, where she is wedded to Ian Carmichael.


Pillay has however not been completely idle, she recently hosted a concert headlined by gospel impresarios Donnie McClurkin and Cee Cee Winans. Some of her milestones in a ten year spanning career include an interview with the late Nelson Mandela and popular musos such as Ludacris, Beyonce Knowles and R Kelly.


Sandile Sanza Tshabalala


Fondly known to Harambe’s listeners as Sanza, Tshabalala advocated an urbanesque style to sports reportage on 99.2. He was one quarter of a trio that also included Thomas Msengana and Lee Kasumba. Sanza’s nuggets of wisdom, positioned him as a street savvy commentator with off the bat smarts, that sometimes teetered on comedy. Since leaving YFM, Tshabalala has established his culinary talents into a business better known by Joburg urbanites as SanzaGood Food.

Sanza Tshabalala

Sanza Tshabalala


The eatery is wedged in the colourful suburb of Yeoville. Tshabalala’s skills as chef has had Joburg in thrall through his fusion inspired dishes. His signature is to playfully fold elements of other African cuisines into traditional South African dishes. SanzaGood Food has been reviewed by reputable news outlets such as Al Jazeera and CNN,


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