By: Kgomotso Moncho
Metro FM’s lunch time show, The Secret Ingredient (TSI) from 12 – 3pm with Amon Mokoena and Thato Mataboge is just over a year old, having been launched in April 2011 when Metro FM announced its new programming. In its short tenure it has created a favourable following and has gone through a few changes.
In the beginning there were three hosts: Amon Mokoena, Thato Mataboge and Kgopedi oa Namane. The three of them together were a formidable force and brought a novel lightheartedness to afternoon radio. Namane’s presence brought a level of intelligence to the show. She initiated the Africa Watch feature – which concentrated on what is happening in the African continent while creating awareness, interesting and necessary conversations about Africa and its people.
Mokoena and Mataboge brought in the silly and funny and there was, and is, a clear camaraderie/chemistry between the two. As a result it often felt as though Namane had to fight for her place within the show. And with her off beat intellect, it sometimes felt like she could not fit in or permeate the boys club. The subtleties of this could be felt in the humour between Mokoena and Mataboge. In a sense, Mokoena and Mataboge represent the identity of TSI which focuses less on being newsy and more on the irreverent and funny, as producer, Mike Ndlovu pointed out.
Mokoena has gone to add that “a lunch time show is difficult as people are usually not concentrating, so you cannot bombard them with a lot of info. The show has to be lighthearted to allow people to multitask.” As it stands now, Namane has been relegated to her original role as the newsreader on the show. She is no longer actively involved in anchoring. This probably has to do with the fact that she now also presents a new current affairs show on Top TV called Real Issues (on Top One – channel 150), which is more her style.
On the occasional Friday she presents her Africa Watch slot on TSI where she quizzes celebrities on well they know their continent. This has not been consistent hence the emphasis on ‘occasional.’ Mokoena and Mataboge are now running the show as a tag team. And they pull it off well, except you can’t take them seriously most of the time. This can be good and a bad thing. Good in that they’re doing their brief justice and bad in that they might not be able to pull in more audiences.
Mokoena, who’s worked for stations like YFM, Motsweding FM and 94.7 Highveld Stereo is a good lead anchor, he has experience, but at times his authority is questionable. And although Mataboge has held the fort when needed to, he proves himself to be a very good sidekick. And this might take you back to the breakfast show he did with DJ Fresh during their YFM days, which was phenomenal. Other features on the show include What’s On The Menu, an interactive platform where the presenters get to pique society’s mind on societal issues which are at times controversial and topical – a good quality to the show.
Every Thursday there is a prominent guest which also helps to elevate the profile of the show.
The music found here is RnB, hip hop and House or kwaito. Since South Africa is the biggest market of House music, and since emerging local DJs are starting to produce original music instead of just compiling international tracks, we’re getting more local airplay of house music.
The After School Is After School feature is a favourite and it seems to be a winning formula to end the show. Here the anchors each choose a song and listeners vote for the best or winning tune. The songs are chosen according to a theme which changes every week.
So TSI is a funny, irreverent show which engages its society, but if you’re looking for intelligence or more, this is not your show.