They are the unsung heroes who call the shots and set the agenda for what we hear on radio. The buck generally stops with station managers (or those with the equivalent responsibility) so The Media found out who they are.
Dave Tiltmann started his radio career as a presenter on campus station Radio Uppie in 1982, where he was also station manager for four years. He joined Radio South West Africa in 1987 as a weekend presenter. In 1989, he started working with Radio Algoa (then part of the SABC) as a music compiler and later as programme manager, then operations manager and general manager, before becoming managing director in 2000.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I have created a world class commercial radio station in a secondary market. Our success stems from the people we have recruited, the system and the product we have perfected over time.
What qualities do you bring to the station?
I lead by my motto that fun is a serious business and have made this part of the identity of the station. The qualities I bring complements this motto, including a great sense of professionalism, integrity, vision, foresight and the ability to laugh at yourself and with others.
What are your plans for the station’s future? To continue developing Algoa FM into a company with strong non-traditional revenue streams and utilising social media to achieve this. In the long-term, we want to extend our footprint and deliver our product to more people.
East Coast Radio
Trish Taylor has been in the media, entertainment and marketing industry for 22 years. She started at the SABC in 1992 and four years later was headhunted to run the commercial division of the newly independent East Coast Radio. She was appointed sales and marketing director of the station in 1999, before being promoted to general manager at the age of 32.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? It’s important to look at new ways of working to support a changing strategy and to experiment, take a certain amount of risks and encourage persuasive creativity throughout our organisation.
What qualities do you bring to the station? Commitment, confidence in myself and in the radio’s brand, a positive attitude regardless of the nature of the challenge, and creativity.
What are your plans for the station’s future? Our focus is to build our on-air listenership, while also building niche audiences online and through our extensive events portfolio. Our newly established visual centre will also play a more prominent role in our entertainment offering as we extend our on-air content into visual experiences for audiences to enjoy and share on social media.
Good Hope FM
Brendan Ficks hails from Cape Town and grew up listening to Good Hope FM. He completed a B.Com degree at the University of Stellenbosch and has extensive experience in marketing and media. He was Good Hope FM’s marketing manager and portfolio sales manager before becoming station manager in August 2014.
What will you do to make the station exceptional? My thorough understanding of the Western Cape market, combined with strategic marketing skills will result in proper segmentation of Good Hope FM’s target market. Programming and marketing will be refocused to be hyper-relevant to all market segments from the Cape Town City Bowl to the Overberg and West Coast.
What qualities do you bring to the station? Leadership, strategy and innovation. I also have a wealth of knowledge about the South African media industry.
What are your plans for the station’s future? The station’s new business strategy will ensure complete dominance in Western Cape in terms of listenership and advertising revenue. The station has conducted an extensive research project this year and will be re-engineered to meet the ever-changing needs of Cape Town’s 15 to 34-year-old market.
Greg Maloka took over as Kaya FM managing director six years ago. Last year, the station scooped the MTN Radio Station of the Year award. His vision has led to influential and insightful research on the Afropolitan market segmentation.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I have helped drive the rapid expansion of the station’s listenership and sales by developing a strategy that changed the packaging and purpose of Kaya FM’s brand. As co-creator of YFM and partner and shareholder of youth trends agency Instant Grass, my experience in developing credible platforms for brands presented a special opportunity to come full circle at Kaya FM and conceptualise the station’s current consumer positioning of ‘Home of the Afropolitan’. This unique placement has ensured that Kaya FM remains top-of-mind to advertisers and marketers.
What qualities do you bring to the station? Passion, music business knowledge and influence in radio. I’m a strategist, marketer, researcher and radio programmer who understands how to create content that resonates with audiences and present synergies for current and potential clients. I bring big-picture thinking as well as clearly defined goals to the business.
What are your plans for the station’s future? By nurturing young talent, the station is working on creating a generation that is able to speak and think as an integrated South African community.
KFM and 567 CapeTalk
At 28, Colleen Louw was appointed station manager at 567 CapeTalk. Shortly thereafter, Primedia Broadcasting purchased KFM and she led the successful integration of the two operations as joint station manager.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? My energy and pace drives the teams to new heights and has been integral to the successful repositioning of both KFM and CapeTalk to align them with the needs of the Western Cape market. I’m always looking to challenge, innovate and bring fresh perspectives to this fast-paced medium.
What are your plans for the station’s future? I’m doing my best to ensure the values of making a difference continue to live across both KFM and CapeTalk. KFM is the leading commercial broadcaster in the Western Cape and I intend continuing to consolidate this position by ensuring that it connects positively with its listeners and clients.
Phillip Mahlangu was a high school teacher for three years before becoming a radio presenter on Ikwekwezi FM (then Radio Ndebele) in 1983. Known by his listeners as Thiza Thiza, he won SABC’s Teledio award for outstanding performance and has twice won the Lemon Twist Competition. He has also been nominated three times for the Radio Artes Awards.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? My dream is to acquire additional transmitters in Mpumalanga, predominantly in Nelspruit, in order to increase our listenership to two million people by the end of 2015. I’ve realised that the station can be unique by showing love to my staff and applying an open door policy.
What qualities do you bring to the station? Passion, respect, care and problem-solving skills. I have a democratic management style, which has improved working relationships among staff members and has earned me their respect and trust.
What are your plans for the station’s future? I want the station’s audience to grow from 1.8 million to two million listeners. I also want to acquire more transmitters, a development that is already under way. I’d like to work with the sales team to generate enough revenue to break even.
Kevin Fine’s radio experience covers university, community, national and regional broadcasting, and spans over 20 years. He joined 5FM where he hosted Impact Zone and Kevin’s Rise ’n Fine. He hosted The Scoop, a nationally syndicated World Cup update show during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. He was appointed CEO of 101.9 Chai FM in 2010. Nine months later, he became Jacaranda FM’s general manager.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? Jacaranda’s listenership has risen to 2.1 million people. I was humbled by the nine awards the station won in 2013. We have had exceptional growth in the station’s social media and web platforms, making us the country’s most visited radio website. Our followers have more than doubled on social media platforms in a year.
What qualities do you bring to the station? I am creative and hopefully my excitement and passion translates to my team. I push my team to succeed and drive a high-performance culture.
What are your plans for the station’s future? We now have so many new toys to play with that we are always looking for innovative opportunities to expand our multi-channel platform. We have the perfect opportunity to engage listeners on a local and global scale, creating commercial opportunities for the station, and platforms for advertisers to really connect with consumers.
Vusi ‘Rio’ Mabunda was a teacher for two years before joining Ligwalagwala FM in 1993 as a junior presenter. He went on to become a music manager and programmes manager before being appointed the station manager in 2006.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I have retained and recruited top talent, empowered young women and given them a platform to grow within industry. I have also promoted SiSwati music that appeals to the targeted audience and created unique marketing campaigns.
What qualities do you bring to the station? I have done it all in radio and am a benchmark for my team members. I leverage that in leading them. I am also a very compassionate person.
What are your plans for the station’s future? I want to reach the two million listenership mark in five years’ time and become a profitable business unit of the SABC. I would also like to drive marketing campaigns that will transform the unit from just another radio station into a lifestyle arena.
Sibongile Mtyali started her radio career in 1997 at Radio Mafisa in Rustenburg. She joined the SABC in 2000 as a SABC Education producer, and was promoted to project manager three years later. Mtyali became the first radio commissioning editor in 2006 at the SABC content hub before she moved to Motsweding FM the following year as programme manager. In 2008, she acted as Thobela FM’s station manager but returned to her position at Motsweding FM a year later before being officially appointed station manager in 2010.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? My priority as station manager is to drive the ‘Making Setswana Fashionable Campaign’, which is aimed at encouraging proper use of the Setswana language by presenters and encouraging Batswana-speaking and -understanding people to take pride in the language.
What qualities do you bring to the station? I am a strategist, an innovator and a thinker. Radio is my life. If I was not doing what I’m doing – I would still be doing what I’m doing.
What are your plans for the station’s future? Our plans are to move the station into the digital era and innovate our product by considering competition, both internally and externally.
Munghana Lonene FM
James Shikwambana joined Munghana Lonene FM as a presenter in 1995 when he was 19. He presented the breakfast show, afternoon drive and was a sport presenter and commentator, winning 22 awards, including three international accolades. In 2008, he was appointed marketing manager. Two years later, he became the Radio 2000 station manager before rejoining Munghana Lonene FM in 2012 as station manager.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? Making young listeners believe in the station, growing the Xitsonga Music Awards into the brand that it is today, and making every team member believe in themselves.
What qualities do you bring to the station? I bring freshness to the station and encourage team participation on all station projects. I bring unity by initiating team projects, building careers and boosting morale.
What are your plans for the station’s future? According to the 2011 census, South Africa has 2.2 million VaTsonga speakers and I would like to see more than 80% of them listening to the station. That can only be achieved by making sure that the station has more transmitters, something we’re working on.
Ravi Naidoo started his broadcasting career at Capital Radio in Durban where he was a presenter between 1992 and 1996. In 1997, he moved to Johannesburg and hosted a night-time show on 947. A year later he was appointed music manager, a role in which he thrived. He was promoted to programming manager in 2000.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I’ve travelled the full journey with 947, having joined shortly after the station was acquired by Primedia from the SABC and rebranded. With my background in music programming, I have guided the evolution of the playlist to accommodate the changing audience.
What qualities do you bring to the station? My ability to marry the commercial imperatives and the creative energy of the personalities has contributed to the success of 947. I’m also very focused on growing and developing talent.
What are your plans for the station’s future? 947 has relaunched its visual identity (from 94.7 Highveld Stereo to 947) to reflect the station’s brand positioning better and I’m key to ensuring that it continues to live up to this brand positioning. Our digital strategy is already rolling out and I’ll continue to help increase the station’s engagement with our audience.
Nick Efstathiou is the general manager of OFM and has 18 years’ experience in radio programming, sales and marketing. He has won MTN Radio Award Bright Star in 2013 and scooped a Grand Prix Loerie with OFM in 2012.
What you have done to make the station exceptional? In April 2014, I changed the line-up and the music style. I introduced a new sound to the station and focused on the content offering by our presenters to their core target market in each individual show. We do not programme for ourselves; we programme for our listeners.
What qualities do you bring to the station? My love for the industry and being able to change someone’s life every minute of the day with the smallest of gestures.
What are your plans for the station’s future? Continue to provide a financially viable platform to our advertisers, and a central South African radio offering to our listeners. OFM is leading the way with engaging, informative and targeted content offerings, while growing audience share and developing marketing partnerships with advertisers.
For 19 years, Carlito Sheikh has worked as a radio presenter and producer, and has also held management and leadership positions at YFM, Kaya FM, Lotus FM, 5FM and Radio 2000. He is presently doing his MBA.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I am the only station manager of a facility-licensed station (a platform to broadcast events of national interest) in Africa. I was the first station manager three years ago at the SABC to develop a digital strategy to take events of national importance, as well as content, live on Radio 2000’s parallel mobile and web audio stream.
What qualities do you bring to the station? Energy, passion, experience, motivation and a deep love for the medium. I push staff to think out of the box so radio stays innovative and exciting. I have a high level of emotional intelligence, which drives high team performance.
What are your plans for the station’s future? My vision for the station is to make Radio 2000 a station based on shared common choice that reflects a united country at work and at peace with itself. We want to break the one million listener barrier by March 2015, and become a 3.5 million listening station by 2017 with a bottom line of R100 million by 2017/18.
Dennis O’Donnell has been at the SABC since 1976. Having started on the technical side of broadcasting, he moved to programme production and worked on Radio Today, the forerunner of today’s AM Live. He was a continuity announcer, news reader, programme presenter, sports reporter, tennis commentator and talk show host, before moving into management.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I have guided SAfm to become a talk station with an emphasis on hosting the national dialogue and living up to our pay-off line – “South Africa’s news and information leader”.
What qualities do you bring to the station?
I believe in allowing people to express themselves through their programmes and giving them the freedom to explore. Programme makers are encouraged to engage and entertain their listeners. I understand numbers and am a stickler for accuracy in the detail.
What are your plans for the station’s future? My plans include continuous growth for SAfm and talk radio. We like to talk and encourage people to debate issues that affect us daily and to find solutions to some of our challenges.
A lawyer by training, Pheladi Gwangwa was at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) when she began dealing with Primedia Broadcasting. She was appointed station manager of 702 in mid-2005. In 2008, Gwangwa won the Women in the Media Award. 702 has won Station of the Year at the MTN Radio Awards three times during her tenure.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? My legal training and background as a free-speech advocate have been instrumental in the evolution of the station as I fervently believe that South Africans needs to talk to each other for people to gain a common understanding. I ensure that 702 is a free platform for that engagement to happen. I am committed to “walking the talk” and ensuring that what is happening on air reflects the demographics of our audience.
What qualities do you bring to the station?
I believe communication, as a key tool in the transformation of South Africa, has been fundamental to 702’s evolution in the past nine years.
What are your plans for the station’s future? I hope to increase 702’s audience across many platforms and grow revenue for the company’s shareholders.
Moshongwa ‘Mosh’ Matsena
Mosh Matsena took over as Thobela FM’s station manager in March 2014, before which she was head of news and current affairs for Channel Africa. She started working for the SABC in 1995 as a junior news bulletin write, later becoming a current affairs reporter for the public broadcaster.
What have you done to make the station exceptional? I joined Thobela when the station was in a process of launching a new corporate identity. A lot of work was already done on the launch and my responsibility was to implement the process.
What qualities do you bring to the station? I understand the station’s target market very well. As a Northern Sotho speaker, I know and appreciate the rich culture of Bapedi which influences the choice of our content. My biggest strength is content production and I believe this will assist the station a lot.
What are your plans for the station’s future? I would like to see the station grow in terms of audiences, revenue and partnerships. But, most importantly, I plan to identify talent to enhance the presenters and producers we do have.
This story was first published in the Octber 2014 issue of The Media magazine.
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