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MTN’s 79 cents worth of spin

Posted by radio On April - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on MTN’s 79 cents worth of spin

 

There is plenty of verbatim about Africa’s rise, this comes at the back of mobile phones having exploded in numbers. In the case of South Africa, we haven not yet enjoyed the fruits of connectivity. It just costs too much. Much of the accusations have been pointed at two of our biggest network giants. High mobile costs have even led NGOs such as Right 2 Know to take up the cause.

MTN-Downward

 

In recent issued statement by MTN’s spin is that will soon provide South Africans with access to reliable and affordable communication services, MTN South Africa has introduced a flat rate of 79c per minute across all networks for its prepaid customers, effective immediately.

 

The affirmation expands :”At MTN we pride ourselves in listening to the voices of our customers and understanding their needs, especially in tough times. As a truly South African company, it is our obligation to ensure quality communication at affordable prices. Our new 79 cents flat promotional rate is designed to stimulate the industry to provide even more affordable services to consumers, understanding their need for connectivity” says Brian Gouldie, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN South Africa.

 

According to the mobile network, the 79c flat rate is accessible to MTN customers from 11 April 2014 for the next three months, with the intention to make this a permanent rate. The rate is applicable at per second rates, giving customers peace of mind that they will only be charged for the actual time they spend on calls. Through its extensive network investment, MTN will ensure that there is ample capacity available for customers.

 

All existing customers on MTN Pay Per Second will automatically benefit from this rate. New customers will default to the new flat rate, while MTN customers not on MTN Pay Per Second can simply dial *141*4*4# to migrate. MTN Zone customers can access the rate through the recently introduced MTN Pay As You Go value bundles by dialling *141* to purchase the bundle of their choice, between R7, R12 and R30 value denominations – each offering their own value-adds.

 

“We appreciate the support that our customers have shown us. Our job is to make sure that we continue to address the unique requirements of a cross-section of the South African market. By giving our prepaid users access to a flat rate of 79c per minute, MTN is showing that it is constantly listening to its customers and redefining what mobile communication should be about,” concludes Gouldie.

 

 

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End Is Nigh For Traffic – Jacaranda FM and drones

Posted by radio On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on End Is Nigh For Traffic – Jacaranda FM and drones

 

Next to water investment at the wake of its scarcity, salvaging the reputation of drones must be another lucrative thing in line. These unmanned aerial vehicles have been linked to civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and the drive to convince the global public that they can alternatively be of good to humankind is going to take some doing. Well newsflash, through its radio station Jacaranda FM, the media company Kagiso is investigating the viability of as drones as a means of providing real-time, reliable traffic updates to Gauteng’s residents.

drone

 

Kagiso aims to run a proof of concept project which will observe traffic congestion on the N1 highway, to provide up-to-the-minute online video feeds of traffic conditions during peak hours.

 

Jacaranda FM’s presenters will use the feed to enrich their on-air traffic reports. In addition, anyone can view the feed live on Jacaranda FM’s website.

 

The proof of concept will last 15 days, with the UAV in action every weekday from 7am to 8am and 4pm to 5pm, and follow the safety guideline set by the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa (CUAASA).

 

Kagiso said it plans to use UAVs more extensively to provide audiences with traffic information, live footage from events, and aerial, on-the-scene coverage of major news events as they unfold.

 

The UAV provides Jacaranda with a low cost way to get objective, up-to-date traffic information that it can pass on to listeners via the airwaves.

 

The UAV industry is in its infancy in South Africa, but many industries worldwide have adopted UAVs to simplify their tasks and improve the quality of work – among them film, agriculture, photographers, and real estate development,” said Craig Corte, chief digital officer at Kagiso Media.

 

Live content delivery provider, Antfarm, will be responsible for the video streaming bandwidth for the proof of concept.

 

 

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Naspers today reported a 27% increase in consolidated revenue to R50, 2bn for the year ended March 2013. Core headline earnings, considered by   the    board to be an indication of sustainable performance, were up 23% on the previous year to R8, 5bn or R22, 16 per share. Approximately half of this growth was due to a weaker rand. The growth in earnings was achieved despite investing R4, 3bn to grow new businesses for the longer-term. Positive free cash flows amounted to R3, 5bn. A dividend increase of 15% to R3, 85 is proposed.

 

“The group posted a solid performance over the past year,” Naspers’ chair Ton Vosloo said. “We reached a milestone as revenues from our internet units exceeded that of pay television for the first time.”

 

Internet revenues grew 80% to R34, 6bn. Due to costs of developing ecommerce products and services, trading profits increased at a slower rate of 44% to R6, 2bn.

 

The pay-television business reported revenue growth of 20% to R30, 3bn. Some 1,1m new subscribers were added during the year and the group now reaches 6,7m homes in 48 markets across Africa. The 18% growth in trading profit to R7, 6bn was somewhat weighed down by the increased investment in digital terrestrial television (DTT) and by creating more local content for viewers.

 

It was a tough year for the print operations. Media24 reported only marginal top line and profit growth, but launched several new initiatives. Naspers’ share of core earnings from associates, including Tencent in China and Mail.ru Group in Russia, increased by 45% to R7, 2bn.

 

“We hope to expand our ecommerce businesses across more emerging markets. Also to build our pay-television subscriber base on the African continent,” Naspers CEO Koos Bekker said.

 

Naspers financial director Steve Pacak added: “We want to build our existing businesses, whilst investing in future growth. We know this strategy will mute both short-term earnings and cash flows.”

 

 

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Google soon to play the local scene

Posted by radio On May - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By Kagiso Mnisi]

 

Google has dusted off the cob webs and recently launched its Google Play service. The service has been launched in the US,  UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Google Play is tipped to give Spotify, Simfy and similar services a run for their money. Much like Spotify, All Access can be used to create radio stations from any track or artist, which produces playlists of similar music based on user preferences. Google Play is sure to receive a soul clap from  the music industry to see a player of Google’s magnitude and stature enter the market, hoping they’ll sell music to a whole new demographic just as iTunes did a decade ago. iTunes’ modus operandi over the years has been through a closed, standalone application that doesn’t allow purchases direct from browsers. The million terrabyte question is can Google Play fill this future gap in the market?

 

Marketing to Google Play will be cheaper, easier, and more effective. Content, ads, and music will be closely integrated with a user journey smoother than anything we’ve ever seen. Monitoring and scaling will be simple due to Google’s open approach to analytics and their unrivalled global reach. Functionality has in store that users can still search for music in a box up top, to the right of the Google Play logo, but instead of retrieving music with price tags, you’ll now find clusters of artists, albums and instantly playable songs. Click an artist and you’ll summon a page sporting a brief list of “top songs,” followed by a single-line carousel devoted to “albums” and another to “related artists.”

 

What’s in store for South Africa

 

Google South Africa spokesman, Julie Taylor, says the local office has “nothing to announce” at this stage. She adds, however, that Google wants to bring All Access to as many countries as it can. In the advent of the service hitting domestic shores, the radio industry hasn’t the slightest choice but to innovate. Locally, Google will either be seen as another disruption that will enable users to give a wide berth to radio or be welcomed through intergrative means. Looking at the recent  Radio Audience Measurement Survey (RAMS) by SAARF, TSL figures have dropped by 12 minutes period on period and by 18 minutes year on year. Commercial radio stations whose audiences is predominantly tech savvy are going to have to seek a median against the looming threat of losing listeners who would rather compile their own playlists.

 

How the local mechanics stand with Google Play’s competitor

 

In regards to our music industry, Google play’ competitor—Spotify pays out the majority (approaching 70%) of ALL  revenue (advertising and subscription fees) to rights holders: artists, labels, publishers, and performing rights societies (e.g. ASCAP, BMI, etc.). In just three years since launching, Spotify has paid out over $500m  in royalties worldwide. Spotify has direct agreements with record labels, digital distributors, aggregators and publisher collecting societies, to whom we regularly pay royalties, and who then pay recording artists and songwriters according to their specific contractual agreements.

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Sandton, Johannesburg – Kagiso Broadcasting has announced the immediate availability of Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio applications for the new re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry® 10 platform.

 

 

Both Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio’s offers differ based on the regions and audience they serve, reaching approximately 2 million listeners respectively. Jacaranda FM is best known for playing the best mix of the 80s and 90s and creating radio that is innovative, informative and entertaining. While East Coast Radio offers an adult contemporary hit music format and a unique way of life on the east coast of South Africa.

 

“Using interactive media to support today’s digital audience is one of the key priorities for Kagiso Broadcasting. We’re adding value to our core market and making it easier for them to always be in touch with their favourite stations by offering apps for BlackBerry smartphone users”, said Managing Director of Radio at Kagiso Media, Nick Grubb.

 

“The apps offer a different level of engagement; taking radio to a smartphone that most of our audiences use, helps us to conveniently bring entertainment to our listeners,” said Grubb. “The best thing about the app is that it will not only be available for BlackBerry 10, but also for earlier versions of the BlackBerry operating system, meaning that most BlackBerry users around the country will have access to it.”

 

The applications are available as free downloads on the BlackBerry® World™ storefront.

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Selling Radio in an integrated digital world

Posted by radio On January - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kagiso Mnisi]

Media across the board finds itself at a juncture of going digital or remaining a dinosaur which effectively equates to irrelevance if the latter is chosen. Radio specifically has had to skip a few hoops in an attempt to jump the digital divide due to high costs of operation, the slow growth of sales and the pesky incursions of digital ‘pureplays’ like Pandora and Spotify. Radio as a medium that fundamentally evokes feeling, has to display advertising that entertains and is skillfully embedded into a station’s overall programming.

 

Specialist marketers for radio are coming up with innovations that supersede the traditional 30 second ad duration. This paradigm shift has with it the trend to go beyond the generic formula via features such as interviews, drama series, sponsorships, outside broadcasts and more towards interesting programme integration and listener relevance. This is demonstrated by FNB’s “Steve Campaign”, which goes for quality rather than media length and gave a generally conservative sector an edge.

 

 The surge of integration has radio stations acquiring the services of digital specialists that are required to boost online presence, interactions and the overall bottom line. CEO of Radio Advertising Bureau International, Erica Farber says, “radio stations have been very resilient to be able to sell the intricacies of their own individual format” and “in the digital world, that helps the medium”. This is demonstrative of the gospel currently preached by the higher echelons of the importance of a convergent outlook. These developments also see an increasing necessity of data analytics where audience behaviour is concerned.

 

The spectrum of selling innovative content in the digital radio sphere also spans as far as niche platforms. Pan African Space Station, which is free form radio curated by Chimurenga’s editor Ntone Edjabe and Neo Muyanga is an epitome of this. PASS’ unique pay off There are other worlds out there they never told you about, is in line with the station’s counter cultural view point in streaming live music from the continent and around the globe. The station based in Cape Town, uses an integrative approach of purveying material with the Chimurenga publication as a backdrop and driver. As a publication chimurenga has had contributions from writers in fields such as architecture, anthropology, film and activism to name a few. The publication recently embarked on a campaign of an experimental newspaper called The Chronic which looked back at the Xenophobic attacks of May 2008. This publication-free form radio mix is exemplary of the traction of multi-forum selling.

 

Joburg based ghost writer and brand consultant figures that, “internet streaming is yet to be properly explored locally” and “there remains a niche audience of creative office workers (the headphones brigade who work in ad agencies and other offices) who have 24/7 access”. This is an “area marketers should keep a close eye on,” he says. Miller adds, “The mix of traditional broadcast, phone-ins and emails, and now social media is making stations to re-look their content”. In expansion to this, the ghost writer says “stations should bear in mind that we’re moving past the era of radio as only just an audio theatre” and “if the station places itself at the centre of a community; they should treat the social media as a central philosophical pillar”.

 

 The role of a radio host within the context of integration is also in scrutiny. Miller sentiments are that, “the host is closer to listeners than a few years back thanks to social media”. He raises that “the personalities who are happy mixing with listeners in the real world, online and via the show will inevitably have a lot of influence”. This influence debunks the old adage of ‘a face for radio’ which has proven not be as relevant as it has been in the past. Today one’s physical face and one’s social face really do matter.

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FROM OUT OF SPACE TO YOUR RADIO

Posted by radio On January - 23 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By Kagiso Mnisi]

 

In 2010 the previous Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, gave an address during South African Post Office launch of SumbandilaSat commemorative stamp series.  It was hailed as an acknowledgment of South Africa’s remarkable achievement with the manufacture of its very own satellite. The occasion also marked the first working day of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) Space Operations Directorate. As an underpinning offshoot the possibilities of expanding into satellite radio were also over the horizon.

 

But crudely speaking, what is satellite radio?

 In its self-explanatory way satellites are involved satellite radio transmission. The technology has with it programming recorded in studios digitally so that the signal contains higher quality sound than is possible with standard radio. That recording is converted into a signal that is beamed up to satellites that orbit earth more than 20,000 miles up into the atmosphere. There the signal is encoded and sent down to a receiver that decodes the signal and plays the sound that people hear.  Unlike commercial radio, which depends heavily on advertising, satellite radio depends primarily on subscription income.

 

The major players over the years?

Initially US-based satellite radio provider, 1worldspace (formerly known as WorldSpace), had 42 radio stations on its local platform, including Kagiso Media’s East Coast Radio and international stations such as Voice of America. 1worldspace opened its offices in SA during 2005 and received permission to operate while the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) finalized the licensing process for subscription broadcasters. But World Space pulled out of the process in 2007 because it contravened the Electronic Communications Act, which caps foreign ownership on local broadcasting companies at 20%. Another confusion that arose was whether 1worldspace was a broadcaster or an infrastructure provider. Before closing shop in 2009, the company was planning to sell 30% in its local entity to black investors to boost its chances of receiving a network license rather than a broadcast services license. The satellite radio company’s activity has since dwindled; its current play is through Afristar and Asiastar satellites which continue to be maintained in working satellite orbit by Intelsa.

 

What have been the advances?

As part of its innovation agenda, 1worldspace has since 2006 been working with car manufacturers to install satellite receivers in their vehicles. Analysts have previously said the key to growth in satellite radio was for the technology to be mobile, otherwise satellite radio would struggle.

 

Some interesting facts

Mobile phone use in South Africa has increased from 17% of adults in 2000 to 76% in 2010, according to research firm Nielsen Southern Africa. Today, more South Africans – 29-million – use mobile phones than radio (28-million), TV (27-million) or personal computers (6-million). Less than 5-million South Africans use landline phones

 In the US, satellite radio has taken off because two big operators, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius, these are available on some cars.

 

Some local stations using satellite broadcast

TransAfrica Radio is a multi-million dollar media company specifically developed to make radio advertising easier and more efficient across Africa. With its base in Braamfontein, Joburg, TransAfrica Radio utilises a satellite delivery system to transmit quality radio content to its network of affiliate radio stations. The station’s listeners are English-speaking Africans with an average age between of 16 to 49 in Sub-Saharan Africa, and select markets in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean, as well as other individuals concerned about global issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Radio and the digital migration

Posted by radio On November - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Abongile Zizi  

In a country nearing complete readiness for Digital Terestrial Television (DTT), the same transition for radio is still far off. This is because digital radio would only be a necessity if all analogue frequencies were full and no more FM stations could be licensed. It is a misconception that analogue radio will have to give way for a digital transition, the question then becomes, what does digital migration mean for radio?

South African radio audiences seem satisfied with the current AM and FM signals which are analogue and widely used for radio broadcasts. The obvious advantage that goes without stating is that with the digital migration more radio channels can be accommodated on the spectrum.  This gives room for radio to grow and diversify to cater to a variety of interests and audiences.  Radio stations are moving to using digital equipment in production but this does not translate to a readiness. Currently, ICASA is working on revising the Frequency Migration Plan for South Africa as the implementation of DTT has a notable influence on radio frequencies. Because of DTT, ICASA has to now efficiently plan how they allocate frequencies to radio communications. The regulator has already approved two digital technologies for digital radio in South Africa: Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).

Debates around the type of technology to be implemented for a move to digital radio are pivotal in understanding what a possible radio migration would entail. Part of the appeal of radio is that unlike television, it is an exclusively audio based medium. Some digital radio standards allow for data streams to accompany the audio in the form of text with programme information and web-cam like pictures of DJ’s or advertising, this change the exclusively audio element of radio.

As a country far from an audio digital migration, it is fair to note that digital audio is being delivered to audiences through other mediums. In a paper titled “Challenges and perspectives of digital migration for African media, Professor Guy Burger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO states; “Even if digital terrestrial broadcasts for radio do take root in African countries, eventually it is likely that audio will actually travel via a patchwork of technologies, such as satellite for remote areas, and cell phones for outdoor listening, while indoors would be via internet or even digital TV.”

It is an exciting time for the country with the strides we have made in relation to DTT and although digitised radio signals are still far off in terms of implementation, digital technology in the country is revolutionising radio from production to reception.

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DSTV Strengthens Channel Monopoly

Posted by radio On September - 5 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

On 29 August, DStv announced it will migrate its services to a new satellite, which will provide more capacity to add more channels and services in the future.

 

Some channel numbers are expected to change on 1 October 2012 in order to make space for the new channels and to group relevant channels together.
General entertainment channels with international content will be located from channel 101 to 143, whilst general entertainment channels with local content will feature from channel 144 to 169. Documentaries and lifestyle channels will sit from channel 170 to 190 and the free-to-air channels such as SABC and eTV will be on channel 191 to 195. The SuperSport channels in HD and SD will be housed from channel 200 onwards.

 

The changes will happen automatically in the early morning hours of Monday, 1 October. DStv customers are advised to access the information about their specific decoder on DStv.com or press OK on their DStv remote to see if any action is required on their part.
Customers who live in a complex or flat where they don’t have their own dish will have to request their body corporate to verify if their system is capable of receiving new services before 1 October. These customers can SMS their email address to DStv at 32444.

 

 

Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) channels on same number

 

 

Whilst some channels are being moved around, DStv is also taking the opportunity to put HD and SD channels on the same channel number. For example, M-Net and M-Net HD will be on channel 101 also from 1 October. This means that if you are a DStv Premium customer with an HD PVR, you will receive M-Net HD on channel 101 whilst a customer with an SD decoder will get M-Net on channel 101.
The only exceptions will be Discovery HD Showcase, which is not available in SD and SuperSport HD channels which are not scheduled with the same content as the SD channels.

 

“Whilst it may take some getting used to, we trust that the new channel numbering will make for an overall better navigation and viewing experience on DStv. We want to assure our customers that we have taken every care to ensure there is as little disruption and change to their viewing routine as possible,” said Collins Khumalo, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa.

 

Themed M-Net Movie channels 

 

M-Net will also replace its MM1 and MM2 movie offering and expand it to six movie channels, one premiere and five themed channels: M-Net Movies Premiere, M-Net Movies Action +, M-Net Movies Family, M-Net Movies Comedy, M-Net Movies Drama and Romance, and M-Net Movies Showcase. These channels will all be available in HD.

 

Movies released by Hollywood studios will first be screened on M-Net Movies Premiere or on M-Net on a Sunday night at 8pm. Thereafter, the movie will be screened again on the relevant themed M-Net Movies channel. However, some niche movies will be screened directly to the relevant themed M-Net Movies channel. There are two movies starting on the M-Net Movies channels starting every half hour.

 

“The change to themed movie channels will make it easier for viewers to find a movie that appeals to their mood or taste at a particular time. The daily choice of movies on the M-Net Movies channels will increase and it will be more convenient to find a movie to watch,” says Pierre Cloete, Director of M-Net Movie Channels.

 

More channels and more HD

 

DStv will also be adding two Africa Magic channels: Africa Magic Entertainment and Africa Magic Movies 1. This brings the number of SD channels, which will be added to the DStv platform at the beginning of October to six: four additional M-Net Movies channels and two Africa Magic Channels. DStv Premium customers will get all six channels.

 

DStv customers with HD PVRs will also get Studio Universal and Universal channels in HD from 1 October, in addition to the M-Net Movies channels, which they will also get in HD. This means that there will be an additional 7 HD channels from 1 October, increasing to 14 the total number of HD channels on DStv.

 

“We know that DStv customers are enjoying the movies on Studio Universal and the unique series on Universal Channel. We are excited to further enhance their viewing experience by making these channels available to them in HD as well,” commented Colin McLeod, Managing Director Emerging Markets, EMEA, NBC Universal.

 

“We want to give our customers the best entertainment experience possible, which is why we are excited to be adding more HD channels. Our focus is on continually improving the viewing experience for all our customers and we believe that as of 1 October, that experience will truly be so much more,” said Collins Khumalo.

 

DStv will be embarking on an extensive communication and marketing campaign leading up to 1 October, ensuring all its subscribers are informed of the upcoming changes.

 

For more information keep checking their special feature on the channel changes, press OK on your DStv remote or go to channel 198 on DStv. A full list of the new channel numbers is also available by pressing OK on your DStv remote or in the October Dish Magazine.

 

Source: DStv Online

 

 

 

 

 

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According to My Broadband, Interwebsradio recently became the first South African streaming radio station to be listed in the Radio section of iTunes.

Before getting listed in iTunes the radio station was already available on just about any computer and modern mobile device through its website and other streaming radio collections such as TuneIn Radio.

But just what does it take to run a radio station on the “Interweb” from South Africa?

“We are bootstrapping our station from open-source software, a little pocket change and an insane love of music,” Interwebradio’s Dirk Hanekom recently told My Broadband.

Asked whether the station is making money, Hanekom said that they aren’t showing a profit yet and joked that sponsors and advertisers are welcome.

“Seriously though, we do have a number of advertisers in the pipeline once we start showing real listenership figures,” Hanekom said.

The technology

Interwebsradio streams from servers in Germany, Hanekom said. “We also have a development server located in the US for most of our testing and monitoring purposes,” he added. “Some would call that the ‘Cloud’. We call it server hosting in a top-end redundant data centre.” Hanekom said that the high cost of hosting in South Africa forced them to make a choice between a little more latency and price. “The lower price won,” Hanekom said.

The service they receive in Germany is “ridiculously cheap” by comparison, Hanekom said, explaining that they get 5 Terabytes of data transfer per month before they get throttled to a “slower” speed of 10Mbps. “We aim to hit that target,” Hanekom said. “It’s a challenge!”

Hanekom said that they would love to have local server proxying content closer to SA listeners. “We’ll get there, but the ISPs need to come to the party first,” Hanekom said. If Interwebsradio decided to use overseas hosting services to cut down on costs, just how much bandwidth do they use? “It’s early days, so not nearly enough,” Hanekom said before breaking it down:

  • January: 303 GB
  • February: 430GB
  • March: 325GB
  • April: 250GB

Plans for the future

Asked about their plans for Interwebsradio, Hanekom said that they already broadcast as many events live wherever they can.

“We love the fact that we built this capability from scratch and it’s working really well… when we have connectivity,” Hanekom said.

Among the events Interwebsradio has broadcast live are album launches from The Bioscope in Joburg and concert gigs such as Park Acoustics in Pretoria.

Regarding the addition of DJs to their shows, Hanekom said: “We don’t ever want to bore listeners with the usual rubbish guess-what-I-did-yesterday-cos-I-have-so-much-time-on-my-hands that current ‘music’ stations have.”

Hanekom said that their shows will have a massive music focus.

“We’re still fighting over who has the best voice for radio,” he added. “We’re a bit shy about talking.”

Interwebsradio has a number of amateur DJs working on the planning for their shows, Hanekom said. These will include “The Old School Super Cool Rock & Roll Show”, and “Cover Lover”, among others

Source: mybroadband.co.za

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