Overall winner: Pheladi Gwangwa (35)
Pheladi Gwangwa, station manager of Primedia-owned Talk Radio 702, was the recipient of the overall Vodacom Women in The Media Award. On Gwangwa’s watch, the listenership of the station has increased – most recently from 408,000 in 2007 (7 day listenership, SAARF/RAMS, June release) to 430,000 in 2008 (SAARF/RAMS, June).
Gwangwa helped to secure 702’s FM frequencies and was influential in facilitating Primedia Broadcasting’s acquisition of Cape-based music station Kfm 94.5. Under her leadership the station was recognised as the BBC Africa Radio Awards’ Station of the Year.
As one of the few black female station managers in the country, Gwangwa impressed the judges with her understanding of the media industry and willingness to incorporate her colleagues’ ideas into the portfolio.
A lawyer by training, Gwangwa’s was appointed Talk Radio 702’s station manager in 2005. She has lectured Broadcasting Law to masters students at Wits University.
The other finalists for the overall award were:
Karima Brown, political editor of Business Day;
Khanyi Dhlomo, founding editor of DESTINY magazine and managing director of Ndalo Media; and
Wendy Knowler, consumer editor of Independent Newspapers and presenter of “Consumerwatch” on East Coast Radio.R
align=leftRising Star: Redi Direko (30)
align=leftRedi Direko is the recipient of the Rising Star Award – an accolade that recognises the efforts of an influential woman in the media industry under the age of 30.
align=leftDireko hosts the Redi Direko Show on Talk Radio 702 between 9am and 12am on weekdays (also broadcast on 567 CapeTalk) and recently joined the 24-hour eNews Channel as one of its main anchors.
align=leftIn addition, she has produced documentaries about influential personalities. This includes co-producing a documentary on President Thabo Mbeki (the controversial documentary in the SABC’s Unauthorised series).
align=leftDireko has also produced and presented the television show Rights and Recourse, aimed at making South African law more accessible to the general public.
align=leftLifetime Achiever: Gwen Gill (72)
align=leftVeteran journalist and well-known social columnist, Gwen Gill, has spent over 35 years in the media industry and was awarded the coveted Lifetime Achiever Award for her substantial contribution to the media.
align=leftGill is known for her “tell it like it is” style and was one of South Africa’s first consumer journalists. She took on institutions on behalf of poor, ordinary people who found themselves at the mercy of big business. She created the genre of consumer journalism and was widely respected for her willingness to take on cases that others had given up on.R
align=leftGill is a former TV critic and features editor. During her career she was a senior member of the Union of Journalists.R
align=left”She is the most powerful and influential journalist in South Africa. She writes an important column for one of the biggest and most important papers in the country. She writes about what we can’t resist reading about – people. As much as we try and resist it, it is riveting journalism. She has integrity in what she writes,” Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), said about Gill.