Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff join forces
From left: Duduzani Zuma, Tokyo Sexwale, Gareth Cliff, Fikile Mbalula and Touch at the launch of Touch Central at the Saxon Hotel in Sandhurst. Picture: Sisipho Zamxaka
Cape Town - Radio personality and businessman Tbo Touch and his new business partner, Gareth Cliff, launched their long-awaited music-streaming channel, Touch Central, at the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa in Sandhurst earlier this week.
The two radio personalities joined forces after Touch’s sudden resignation from Metro FM. Touch said this was something he had to do because people were deprived of good radio “that is unedited, unplugged and uncut”.
“We are going to be a medium that represents reality without being edited. We want to speak it like it is,” he said.
The exclusive event was graced by the likes of business tycoon Tokyo Sexwale, who looked casual in a plain pink shirt and a silky black waistcoat, and self-proclaimed “Mr Christmas”, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who donned a black suit and bow tie.
However, Touch made it clear that there wasn’t going to be any political influence on Touch Central.
“Broadcasting is facing a number of challenges in terms of being factual, mostly owing to people being politically appointed; facts are marinated so that brands are not brought into disrepute,” he explained.
“We’re not in it for that! We are not chasing sponsors by being politically correct. We can operate without funding. We are self-sufficient,” he said.
Touch said his afternoon slot would still be named Touchdown, but it would be “just bigger and better”.
He said that listeners should look forward to an extension of Monday Replenishment – a gospel show – which would not be restricted to a playlist, but would explore a variety of gospel songs. He also planned to introduce live performances during the show.
According to Touch, there is a need to inject a “sense of exaltation, praise and appropriating grace – things that friends, a big house and big car can’t do”.
“When you look outside, politics is not doing enough, money doesn’t do enough,” said Touch.
The Monday Replenishment feature got him suspended at Metro FM because he used more airtime for gospel than the prescribed 20 minutes. This reportedly cost the station R15 million in lost advertising revenue.
“It wasn’t about me being spiritual. It was about creating a space that speaks to the wellness of our souls, the wellness of our sanity, but that has been minimised because radio is about money and being commercial,” he said.
He added that he was happy to join Touch Central, as he would be allowed to do “as God leads” him.
Touch Central went live on September 1. To experience “HD radio”, fans can access the show via their cellphones by downloading the Touch Central app on Android and iOS, or by visiting touchcentral.fm.