It’s always an intriguing exercise to dive into our analytics for the year to find out which were our most popular stories. This year, 2017, was no different.
Some perennial favourites were still up there, but we decided that because they had been published earlier than 2017 we would leave them out.
But here’s to Oscar and the media: All Things Pistorius by Glenda Nevill published on 3 March 2014. It was in third place overall. Then a perennial favourite popped up again, Dissecting the LSM 7-10 market by Megan Chronis, published back in December 2012, came in third. We need an updated version of this story. On the diary for 2018.
Amanda Patterson’s all time favourite, Yes you CAN cancel your cellphone contract, is still read daily, and its numbers show its ongoing popularity, despite first being published in February 2012. It remains our most-read story of all time but sits in position five for 2017. Our third most read story of all time, So what do Generations and other soap stars earn, written by Glenda Nevill in August 2014, was in sixth place.
But back to 2017’s top stories.
- Gareth Cliff on lessons learnt, the SABC and Bell Pottinger came in at 20. The story, by Michael Bratt, was written after an APEX Masterclass at which notable characters from the world of advertising, communications and marketing gave insights into the world of media.
- South Africa leading in adoption of online learning by apps-for-learning.com‘s Jens Ischebeck held firm at no.19. While published in March, it had a new lease on life in November when it suddenly gathered thousands of new views. Ischebeck believesOnline learning is a new educational frontier in Sub-Saharan Africa and Africa in general and is being used to facilitate the expansion of education technology and bolster learning and teaching.
- Action stations as radio reshuffles change the airwaves by Glenda Nevill took a look at the movement of talent in the radio reshuffles that took place this year. Attracting and retaining talent is the lifeblood of any radio station, crucial in keeping audiences and advertisers engaged, but radio is changing. So we chatted to the station managers and CEOs about what it takes to look after talent, and how the gig is changing.
- The A-list: New database of black-owned media companies launches in SA by Glenda Nevill looked at an initiative by The Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS) to list companies with a minimum of 51% black ownership or black woman ownership across the 13 facets of marketing communications. Over 50 agencies have already signed up. 16. TBO Touch changes the radio landscape with the launch of Touch HD by Michael Bratt. Another story which continued the ‘radio reshuffle’ theme. One of the biggest names at Metro FM, TBO Touch, fell out with the station and headed off to launch his own online radio station, taking with him some hot talent too.
- Darren Simpson to leave 947, Greg and Lucky to take over afternoon drive was our most recent radio story, published earlier this month. Not only did Whackhead Simpson shock listeners in Gauteng by semigrating to Cape Town, but he also gave up all relations with 947 to concentrate on his KFM breakfast show.
- Media moves: Darren Scott moves to OFM, new website for Mark1, Bruwer now sole MD at TLC. Our regular Thursday column Media Moves is well read at the best of times, but the numbers on this edition were just ridiculous. Probably because it covered Darren Scott’s move to OFM in the Free State. Anyone seeing a pattern here yet?
- Amazon’s Alexa coming to SA tech by Michael Bratt is positioned at number 13. Published in January 2017, it was our take on the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as we interviewed Stuff editor Toby Shapshak on all the exciting gadgets on show.
- The inside story of the Shelley Garland scandal by Glenda Nevill exposed what had gone on at the Huffington Post ahead of the blog that destroyed careers. We spoke to management and the journalists involved to try and get a sense of how it all went so badly wrong. Both disliked the story, which probably meant we gave both sides an equal say…
- The best of SA radio: All the winners at the Liberty Radio Awards. Our wrap of the biggest radio awards of the year is a perennial favourite, as are the Metro Awards. Interest in radio is huge, as our audience clearly indicates.
- What a downgrade means for South Africa and what we can do about it by Caroline Southey, editor of The Conversation (Africa) showed how South Africans were desperately keen to find out what ratings agencies downgrades mean for us as individuals. We also asked media professionals what junk status meant for our sector.
- DJ Fresh moving to Metro FM by Michael Bratt. Once more, a radio reshuffle story is in our top stories of the year. That readers – and not just media readers – are fascinated by what DJs do is clear.
- A major threat to media agencies by Michael Bratt broke the story on how Initiative Media had to resign the SABMiller/Anheuser-Busch Inbev (ABI) account because the alcohol beverage giant made a change to its commercial terms. It now requests 120 day payment terms with an improvement to 150 day payment terms. It would have cost the media agency over R20 million per annum in bank interest fees.
- Zuma and the gangsters: How publishers kept the explosive investigation secret by Glenda Nevill. One of the biggest South Africa stories of the year was Jacques Pauw’s book which lifted the lid on our gangster state. We found out how they kept it secret right up until midnight of the night when the Sunday Times blew the story wide open. Repercussions are still being felt.
- DRUM magazine: We erred with the Arthur cover and story by Glenda Nevill. The magazine was accused of ‘whitewashing’ the star’s image after he’d been accused of domestic abuse and faced a major social media backlash. Editorial director Charlene Rolls admitted they made a bad judgement call, and had erred. Rolls said she hoped the story didn’t negate all the other positive stories the magazine had done about women nor the work it had done to highlight the scourge of abuse.
- Were you brave? Yes you were Suna Venter by Glenda Nevill. The saddest media story of the year was the death of one of the SABC 8, RSG journalist Suna Venter who died of ‘broken heart syndrome’. The young woman – she was only 32 – had been terrorised for her bravery in standing up against the Hlaudi Motsoeneng regime at the SABC. Nobody has yet been brought to book for literally hounding her to death.
- Breaking news: Redi Thlabi to leave 702 by Michael Bratt. She’s such a giant of South African broadcasting and now a best-selling author too, telling the story of Khwezi, the woman who accused Jacob Zuma of rape so news that Thlabi was leaving broadcasting was a massive news story for us.
- KFM shakes up presenter line-up by Michael Bratt. Yes, another radio reshuffle story, this time about what happened to the Cape Town station after news that Darren ‘Whackhead’ Simpson was relocating to Cape Town. It had a big impact on KFM’s presenter roster.
- Kaya FM announces new line-up as Bob Mabena leaves for MSG Afrika by Michael Bratt. Independent Gauteng station Kaya FM wasn’t left out of the great radio reshuffles and when Bob Mabena headed off to rival MSG, owners of POWER FM, it rocked the airwaves.
- And our most-read story of the year is… It’s swap day at 947 as Darren and Anele switch it up. Right so this story, published in February, was BEFORE Whackhead decided to semigrate to Cape Town. Simpson, now a dad, wanted ‘proper time with his family’ so Primedia simpy swapped Breakfast Xpress for Breakfast Club. Of course, it wasn’t to last, as we found out in December (see story 15).
Our major takeout from doing this exercise is clear: Radio stories are big news for us and our readers. Eleven out of 20 stories were about radio. Makes you think, doesn’t it?