Johannesburg - Radio remains South Africa’s most consumed media and our most effective tool to get the nation talking. But the radio landscape has changed in the past few years.
For the most part, commercial or music stations have flourished and led conversations, but, with the rise of social media, more audience awareness and openness to sharing and debating important topics, talk radio has become increasingly popular.
Listeners no longer care about thoughtless content such as celebrity gossip and showbiz sleaze – instead, it seems we want to take part in more meaningful discussions about how we can actively contribute to making our country work.
Unfortunately, many commercial radio stations misinterpreted the rise and rise of social media, and saw this as an opportunity to drop trained broadcasters for the likes of influencers and celebrities to try to draw in and keep their listeners with no guarantee that those numbers would turn into an appointment with listening culture.
With this, the quality of content has declined, while the voices of informed individuals on stations like Radio 702 and Power FM have risen.
This is #Trending’s guide to the new cream of the radio crop, 24 hours a day.
00:00 – 04:00: Late Night Talk with Aubrey Masango on Radio 702
Insomniacs and shift workers, take note. Aubrey Masango brings a surprising amount of passion, sincerity and inspiration to his graveyard shift.
The Mamelodi-born host is an engaging broadcaster who unpacks topics and conversations to help encourage his listeners to engage with a diverse range of issues. He is an empathetic and natural host who is able to effortlessly capture the varied and textured dynamics of the country.
Follow him on Twitter @702Aubrey
03:00 – 05:00: The Morning Brew with Marian Nyako-Lartey on Metro FM
Award-winning radio presenter Marian Nyako-Lartey has been behind the mic for more than a decade. The Ghana-born host, who has been with the station since 2012, has a dynamic on-air personality that sadly gets lost because of her time slot – one of the downsides of being a true blue broadcaster with no desire to play into celebrity culture and compete with Metro’s influencers for a prime time slot.
Nevertheless, if you find yourself awake or driving at that time of the morning, tune in to The Morning Brew to bop your head along to the crowd-pleasers Nyako-Lartey likes to play in between chatting with her listeners about pop culture, South African life and the antics of society.
Follow her on Twitter @LarteyOfficial
05:00 – 09:00: The Fresh Breakfast show on Metro FM
Having worked at some of the biggest radio stations in the country and as someone who is consistently able to dominate any bandwidth, DJ Fresh gets the morning started with sidekick Somizi, Mpho Maboi with sport and Angie Khumalo with the news.
To be honest, they can do without Somizi – his presence on the show is forgettable and when he says something, it’s clear that radio is not his natural medium.
That said, the group has an infectious energy that makes preparing for the day pleasant as the discussions vary, and they offer a fresh (pardon the pun) perspective on the workings of the world and celebrity culture.
Follow them on Twitter @FreshBreakfast_
09:00 – 12:00: The Eusebius McKaiser Show on Radio 702
He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – someone I know calls him Egregious McKaiser – but, frankly, McKaiser doesn’t care. From the day he took over this time slot from his predecessor Redi Tlhabi, he has made it his own.
The political analyst, broadcaster, lecturer and writer brings his vast sociopolitical and legal knowledge to the airwaves, and he is currently outshining all of the mid-morning talk radio shows across the country.
The debates are robust and emotions run high, and you’re always left with a drive to find out more so that you can decide which side of the debate you’re on.
Ultimately, whether you like the radio host or not, this is what makes a perfect talk radio show.
Follow him on Twitter @Eusebius
12:00 – 13:00: Power Update with Tumisang Ndlovu on Power FM
Try delivering all the leading news headlines from around the country and, by extension, the world in 60 minutes and then ask yourself whether you’re really cut out for radio.
Most hosts are long-winded and can’t keep to the clock, but Tumisang Ndlovu – previously the newsreader on Power Breakfast and the host of the Moneyweb show on Radio 2000 – has a fun, eloquent and direct way of manoeuvring her way between stories.
Follow her on Twitter @tumisangndlovu
13:00 – 15:00: Power Lunch with Aphelele Somi on Power FM
As one of the best hosts on Power FM, Aphelele Somi confidently takes on almost every topic, and vigorously moves it forward by presenting her listeners with a firm and engaging conversation.
Her infectious laugh and amusing sayings makes her one of the leading voices in radio. Read my lips, she’s going to be around for a very long time, effortlessly commanding her space.
Follow her on Twitter @MsAphelele
15:00 – 18:00: Thabooty Drive on 5FM
Some seem surprised by Thando Thabethe’s success, but the multifaceted personality has been at this for years.
Thabethe’s the kind of person who keeps her head down and commits to her work, be it acting, her underwear/shapewear range or her radio show.
The 28-year-old brings all of the colour of her personality to her job and punches naysayers with her intellect. She steers her show with such conviction that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the hands of a broadcasting pro.
As the first woman to host the drive time show on 5FM, Thabooty’s continued tenure at the station should be a no-brainer when contracts are up for renewal.
Follow her on Twitter @Thando_Thabethe
18:00 – 20:00: Marawa Sports Worldwide on Radio 2000
Having just returned to radio after more than a year off air, sportscaster Robert Marawa is one of the brightest lights on the continent. Satisfying sports fanatics with all the juice and all the pressing issues, his no-holds-barred approach effortlessly attracts new listeners.
Follow him on Twitter @robertmarawa
If you’re not a sports fan, an honourable mention must be given to the 947 Night Show with Zweli and Mantsoe on 947 (the station formerly known as Highveld). They are arguably the best duo on our airwaves. The two have a truckload of chemistry, comradeship and fun while hosting. Check them out Monday to Thursday from 7pm to 10pm.
20:00 – 00:00: Power Perspective with JJ Tabane
Trouble-stirring JJ Tabane has never cared about your opinion of him. In fact, one of his best qualities is that he doesn’t shy away from being disliked.
He also has a great sense of humour and clearly cares about his listeners, who stay with him throughout his four-hour show on weekdays.
Follow him on Twitter @JJTabane
(Photos: Supplied by City Press)