Even more changes and drama at SABC radio stations

2016-10-30 08:16
Somizi during the 2016 Metro FM Music Awards. (Photo: Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - A furious fallout is expected from some of the country’s favourite radio jocks, following a line-up reshuffle set to take place at all 18 SABC radio stations.

City Press has learnt that some senior deejays at Metro FM were unhappy with the changes, and that threats of resignation were afoot.

The senior deejays are now going to be forced to be paired with newer counterparts to help the latter improve their game.

Two insiders at the station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told City Press this week that the station’s management had "panicked" when they realised that some of their shows were bleeding listeners.

This has forced a reshuffle ahead of March, when line-up changes traditionally take place.

One of the shows in question is Whose Show Is This Anyway?, hosted between 08:00 and 10:00 by radio newbees Khanyi Mbau, Somizi Mhlongo and Ntombi Mzolo.

They are now set to be divided up and farmed out to other shows.

This, after being assured at a meeting with corporate affairs executive and head of radio Hlaudi Motsoeneng two weeks ago that nobody was going to lose their jobs.

Aweh aweh. Hello cutie pie. #crammedfullofflavour

A photo posted by Somizi (@somizi) on

Big drop in numbers

The latest listenership figures, released by the Broadcast Research Council of SA, show that between January and June, Metro FM had 4 million listeners.

This was down from its 6 million figure for the previous six months.

In comparison, Zulu station Ukhozi FM is one of the SABC’s largest stations, with 7 million listeners.

Now, insiders say, Metro FM is in a desperate scramble to get its listeners back.

The reshuffle is taking place five months after Motsoeneng’s announcement, made in May, and subsequent implementation of his 90% local content rule for all radio stations.

City Press was told by the two insiders that among the very unhappy experienced presenters at Metro FM were Glen Lewis and Bonang Matheba.

Lewis did not respond to requests for comment, but a source close to Matheba denied that she had threatened to quit, or had expressed any dissatisfaction at all, saying she "would not say such things".

On Friday, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago denied that anyone had threatened to quit.

"We have not heard of anyone who said they wanted to resign. It is up to them to resign at the end of the day. Life will go on without them," he said.

Kganyago said that it was not up to the deejays to decide who they would be paired with. "If there are some who want to quit, they must also bear in mind that even they were once juniors."

'Changes happen all the time'

Asked if Mbau, Mhlongo and Mzolo’s show would be canned, he said:

"I am not sure. I cannot confirm anything until the station comes back to us.

"If we give the station a [listenership] target, they would say the best way to reach this target was to move a particular deejay to the show that is suitable for him or her – not because they have issues with people, but because that DJ will be suitable in that slot.

"We are also going to check people who are working together but not [getting along].

"The issue is not to fire anyone. We will be moving people from one station to the other, or [from] one programme to the other."

Kganyago said the reshuffling plans had yet to be finalised and confirmed that it was not only targeted at Mbau, Mhlongo and Mzolo.

"If you are a coach of the team, you decide which player works for you. We have paired Pearl Modiadie with Amon Mokoena before, and it did work.

"Changes happen all the time. It is not going to be the first time a reshuffle takes place," he said.

"When Thabo ‘Tbo Touch’ Molefe and Pearl Thusi resigned, we had to reshuffle. Reshuffling happens for different reasons. We cannot say we have to wait for March/April."

Kganyago, however, hinted that changes had to be made to improve the quality of some shows.