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M-Net founding member dies

2014-01-21 10:33
Cape Town – Ronnie van Wijk, a founding member of M-Net as a pay-TV broadcaster in South Africa in 1987, has died.

The veteran South African television executive worked for the SABC before moving over to M-Net, and in later years moved on to become the owner of Global Access Telecommunications, a private multimedia digital and TV broadcasting company.

He died on Saturday after a short illness.

As a founding member of M-Net, Ronnie van Wijk helped to set up South Africa's pay-TV broadcaster which over the past 26 years has grown to become a massive multimedia broadcasting company.

At M-Net Ronnie van Wijk served as head of broadcasting services during the fast expanding period of the late 80's and early 90's when M-Net started to blossom with a growing number of local, South African TV productions such as Carte Blanche, Hot Hits and others.

Later, at M-Net Ronnie van Wijk was also involved in the research, planning and groundwork of "A-Net" – a planned Afrikaans pay-TV channel meant to be a sister channel/TV service to M-Net.

"A-Net" never materialised but out of that plan and spearheading work, grew and developed what was kykNET (DStv 144), the Afrikaans language channel supplied by M-Net to MultiChoice's DStv.

Koos Bekker, the CEO of Naspers, who started M-Net, on Monday said he will miss Van Wijk and called him a "supreme professional".

"When M-Net started in 1985, we first managers were early 30's and totally clueless about television," Koos Bekker told Channel24. "Ronnie was the first recruit who had actually worked in TV: he was a medium-heavy at the SABC".

"He taught us the basics of TV broadcasting; then he supervised the building of our very first broadcasting studios. I will always be grateful for that adult supervision!"

"Ronnie struck me as a supreme individual: balanced, prudent, very sensible," said Bekker. "He established a professional culture at M-Net that endured all these years. We will certainly miss him a lot!"

Read more on:    dstv  |  multichoice  |  koos bekker  |  tv
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