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Meet Yfm’s Dj@Large

Posted by radio On July - 16 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Kgomotso Moncho-Maripane]


There’s something to be said about the way Tshepo Kgapane reached out to Radiobiz and asked to be profiled on the platform to launch himself as a new YFM presenter. It shows initiative and an understanding of the industry and the environment on which he operates. It’s an exemplary model on which other youth can draw on to be as pro-active about their goals and aspirations.


At 24 Kgapane, aka, Dj@Large, who is also a Wits BComm Law graduate, is clear about wanting to grow his name into a brand that symbolizes a culture of being original, bold and different. He’s been clever about carving a route that will take him there and he credits education for informing his decisions.

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“Education plays a big role. When you’re new, you have to put yourself out there. And that’s what radio is about – putting yourself out there with hopes to connect with people. I apply this philosophy to life as well,” he says.


As one of the new voices of YFM since April 2015, Kgapane is the host of the weekend show, Stoep 992 (Saturday and Sunday, 6 -9pm) – dubbed as the official pre party and liftoff to the weekend. He notes that it’s rare for YFM to hire a radio personality outside their Y-Academy talent pool and give them a premium slot, and not a graveyard shift. This says a lot about his caliber. YFM is his entry into the commercial radio space. He had been with Voice of Wits (VOW) FM since 2011 which was his school on radio.


“I learnt everything from radio presenting; content producing, voice-overs to the technicalities of radio and how to connect with the listener,” he says.

But campus radio and commercial radio are two different entities. He explains further, “The beauty of campus radio is that in learning, you get to do everything. You get to know who you are and build your personality. You’re also comfortable speaking to your peers. With commercial radio, you never know who’s going to call. YFM targets a demographic of youth from 18 to 29, but I have had a caller who was 37 years old. This speaks to the unpredictability of radio which I resonate with.”


It’s been repeated by radio heads that radio has to be in your blood. For Kgapane, it all goes back to what professional speaker, Tony Gaskins says about finding the signs of your calling in your childhood. From as far back as he can remember, Kgapane has always been surrounded by the medium. With his father being a music promoter, they were always around radio and music.


“I’d be upset to get out of the school taxi every morning, because I’d get off before Fresh’s show on YFM was over,” he reminisces.


The times of the Fresh generation at YFM were pivotal. Fresh with the likes of Paul “Rude Boy” Mnisi and Thomas “Bad Boy T” Msengana, were the first wave of presenters that launched YFM. It was the dawn of post-apartheid South Africa, black youth now had a voice and they used platforms like radio, music and fashion to express their views. Those early years informed the blueprint of YFM. Kgapane believes the DNA of the station has somewhat altered. He elaborates, “YFM is now a hybrid catering to an urban middle class and a township crowd. It’s trying to balance itself and it takes a very intelligent presenter right now to relate to Sandton and Alex.”


He seems to have the smarts to cater to both audiences. His charm is in how he can relate to the man on the street, but be able to deliver intelligent and well thought out content. The name of his show for starters lends itself to the township saying, “Stoep si ya phi?” – slang for, “Where is the party?” He also has features on the show like Cocktail 101 where listeners get to share their unique home-made cocktails; and the Y-Dictionary where listeners create their own words to form a new kind of dictionary. The latter is becoming a culture and it could be monumental.


This is Kgapane’s contribution to radio thus far and through the medium he hopes to be a representation of a new wave of talent and youth. And what is this new wave of radio talent doing different?


“We’ve lost the ability to connect and relate to the listener. Khabzela historically garnered a listenership of 6 million on his own. This needs to come back. What has happened instead is a lot of pressure in radio stations to conform to what is cool at the moment. In the last three years we have seen people who are not in the radio fraternity leap into radio. Talent was not considered. It was who you are that mattered. I want to bring back being real to radio. As long as we’re not being real, radio is not going anywhere. This is the challenge to the new wave of radio talent. And I believe I’m doing my part in rising to that challenge,” Kgapane asserts.



Take a listen to what goes down during his show:



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Van toeka af… Thomas Msengana talks YFM

Posted by radio On October - 22 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

[Written by Chloe Smith]

Thomas Msengana’s career in radio began at Good Hope FM in Cape Town. It seems like a lifetime ago when Thomas Msengana joined YFM. The year was 1997 and the station had just been launched. co-hosted the Harrambe Show with Lee Kusumba, Msengana was instrumental in communicating the YFM lifestyle, reaching the youth of South Africa through great conversation, a knack for being brave in his own right as a DJ and a love for the radio industry. He left the station in 2006 to join Metro FM. Fast forward to 2012 and the DJ formerly known as Bad Boy T had a candid chat with Radiobiz’s Chloe Smith about YFM then and now ….

Apart from a charming tendency to call me darling whenever the call was breaking up, Thomas Msengana (formerly known as Bad Boy T) is down-to-earth and real in a way that you wouldn’t expect a nationally renowned and loved radio personality to be.

You were with YFM from the inception of the station. What made you decide to throw your lot in with a (then) brand new station? – Randall was the station manager in Cape Town at the time (at Good Hope) and he said to try YFM. It was my first opportunity to get out of Cape Town and I took it.

Do you feel that your experience at YFM helped you grow as a DJ? – Y was a station that was very progressive at the time, brave in its approach to broadcasting. It couldn’t compare to other stations. It had great tactics for gaining listenership. It was true in its essence and what it stood for as a youth station.

Over the last 15 years, how do you feel that the station has grown? – Y is now confined to rules of radio. Back then, YFM was brave enough to play songs that other radio stations weren’t playing, walking away from what record companies suggested they should play. Y and 5 are the same now, which is disappointing.

Do you feel that YFM is catering to their target market? – That’s hard for me to answer to answer cuz (sic) I’m not their target market anymore. Whether they want that style of music or conversation is not for me to say.

You left YFM before the Y Academy was initiated. Do you feel that the programme is providing Young South Africans with an opportunity to break into the radio industry? – Yes definitely. I wish we had an opportunity like that when we were starting radio. But it’s hard to teach someone radio – you either have it or you don’t.  You need to have your own personality, be creative in your own style and find your own style of broadcasting. It’s hard to teach someone that. Everyone sounds the same nowadays and that is the danger of radio. But [the programme] is great thing.

Where do you see YFM in 15 years’ time? – I hope it will go back to basics. Listen to their target market and be brave enough to have its own sound and identity. Sponsors and advertisers will come. Coke was our only advertiser at the beginning – people said the station would never grow. Coke saw the future in the station and I hope they get back in touch with that vision.

The man formerly known as Bad Boy T is a bad boy no more; a married father of two, Thomas says he is now a man who plays golf.


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Who Owns Who on Mzansi’s Airwaves?

Posted by radio On August - 24 - 2012 2 COMMENTS

By Radiobiz


We all know that the State through the SABC owns three commercial radio stations (namely 5fm, Good Hope fm and Metro fm) and fifteen public service stations. But as to the rest of the commercial stations we don’t seem to know all the details as far as ownership and control are concerned. Lets unpack a few and see exactly who is controlling the information in the country through the airwaves.


Talk Radio 702, 567 Cape Talk, 94.5 Kfm and 94.7 Highveld Stereo are all owned by Primedia Broadcasting.  The ownership of these premium brands gives Primedia access to Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. I guess KZN is the only primary market where they don’t have footprint however, they do syndicate broadcasting between 702 and 567 Cape Talk on a regular basis.


Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) owns 64% of 99.2 Yfm; they also own the same stake on eTV. This basically gives them a controlling interest in the radio station, thus HCI can influence the youth (mainly black) of Gauteng and the rest of the country through their media assets.


Kagiso Media has interests in quite a few stations across the country, they have minority stakes in KZN based Gagasi 99.5fm , Cape’s Heart 104.9 FM, Orange fm and an economic stake in Kaya FM. They are majority shareholders in Jacaranda FM and East Coast radio; this gives them access to both primary and secondary markets. Some might say the control of these private commercial stations is in the hands of the few, which could be a problem in the long run as far as diversity is concerned. We are hoping that ICASA would take note of this when deciding who to award the primary markets licences to commercial radio stations.


Kaya FM does not have a majority shareholder, alongside Kagiso Media there is Thebe Holdings, Shanike Investments, Kaya Investments and Mokgosi Holdings.


African Media Entertainment (AME) has a controlling interest in Orange FM of 70%, in Eastern Cape’s Algoa FM they have a 100% stake and 24.9% interest in Mpumalanga based M-Power FM. Orange FM has a footprint in five different provinces namely, Free State, North West, Northern Cape, northern KZN and southern Gauteng making it the regional station with the largest footprint in the country.


Up north, Limpopo based Capricorn FM is partly owned (37.5%) by MSG Africa Given Mkhari’s company, Safika Holdings and Limpopo based business people.


Makana Radio Communication (MRC) a company founded by former Robin Island political prisoners, they have controlling interests in Heart FM and iGagasi FM.


Radio North-west is owned by Direng Investments, SADTU Investment Company and other BEE company. Direng Investments and Mbombela Investments Holdings also have a stake in M-Power FM.


Classic FM doesn’t have a majority shareholder; it is owned by Liberty Life foundation, Ingoma Trust. Moneyweb Holdings and London-based Classic FM PLC.


Well now that you know, do you think the industry is diverse enough or more still needs to be done? Keeping in mind that there are more commercial radio licences still to be issued by ICASA.

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Graveyard success for radio DJs

Posted by radio On August - 3 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Helen Phushela

Those ungodly hours of the night spent studying for my Matric exams were comforted by the sounds of late night radio floating in the background. Soft tunes of familiar soul ballads lulled me to a good place where I could keep the midnight oil burning. Suddenly, there was dead air; I cringed at the thought that the DJ had fallen asleep.  Maybe he had for a couple of seconds and I didn’t blame him; truth is, unless it’s a late night weekend shift, there is nothing to be excited about at 2am on a Tuesday morning interacting with all of 20 listeners.


If you’re not hosting a breakfast or drive time show then get off radio. Is this true? Most radio DJs spend their entire careers crossing rivers and oceans to get to what is known as radio’s ultimate.  While industry veterans move from one popular slot to the next, aspiring DJs have to hack their way into the circles of influence. So where do they start? – the grave yard shift.


Every person with a drive to pursue a career in any sphere should understand the principle of small beginnings. A small start in the right direction forms a firm foundation for better and bigger opportunities. Ironically, a start at the graveyard for a radio career is a start to life and is not a dead end zone.


Graveyard shifts offer opportunity to learn and make mistakes. They teach the basics of holding down the ford during times when listenership is close to non-existent. At 3am people are either still partying hard in clubs or catching up on some sleep; the temptation to catch a quick nap during a show must be hard to resist.  However, radio hosts today have learnt to overcome these challenges through using tools such as social media networks, and create content that will encourage listeners to engage in conversations even at 2’oclock in the morning.


Many successful DJs today rose from late night radio to well-liked day time shows. Bryce Clarke also known as Ankle Tap is a DJ at Yfm who found his footing in radio while hosting graveyard shows. While studying at the University of Johannesburg he joined the institution’s radio station, UJFM.  Starting out on the graveyard shift, he quickly worked his way up, and within a year he was the host of the “Urban Brunch” show from 9-12pm.  He joined the Yfm team to host the 12-3am weekday show called Strictly Tap Nights.

Yfm’s DJ Ankle Tap


“My first real graveyard experience was after joining Yfm,” he says, “hosting Tap Nights made me fall more in love with radio.”


“It was an amazing experience and I would not have it any other way, it’s the best platform to learn your trade,” he adds.


DJ Ankle Tap admits that hosting a graveyard show is a challenge. “You never know if anyone is listening and there is less interaction with the listeners,” he says.


He recently moved to midday 12pm-3pm and is the host of the Tap Mansion and can also be found every Saturday between 3pm-6pm on The Warehouse on Yfm.


“This proves that an opportunity only presents itself once and in radio one has to start somewhere.  I live for radio and have always had fun presenting my shows, both on grave yard and daytime shifts.”


Students will always have studying vigils, ravers will always need a voice to keep them company on their drive back after a wild night out and there will always be some insomniacs in need of a tune to lull them to sleep. Point is, with radio, someone will always be listening.  A graveyard shift is no dead end instead it is a good starting base for those DJs in pursuit of success.


Are graveyard shifts a dead end zone or platform for grooming successful radio DJs? Share your views.

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