Minister Faith Muthambi welcoming address at the 6th Annual MTN Radio Awards gala banquet, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.
Chief Executive Officer – MTN Radio Awards- Lance Rothschild
Chairpersons, Board Members and CEOs present
Executives from Sector Organisations
The National Association of Broadcasters and National Community Media Forum
The 2015 MTN Radio Awards finalists
Broadcasters and the Station Managers
Representatives of Broadcasters and Signal Distributors
Ladies and Gentlemen
Programme Director there is saying that A Day Is a Long Time in Politics; then Six (6) years in Radio awards must be a very long time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I grew up in an era where radio was the main source of information and entertainment. During those days some us we always looked forward to the bereavement announcements, current affairs and drama programmes in the evening that would go for 15 minutes of 30-40 episodes at most.
Now I understand that they are like Generations, Isibaya, Scandal and various others; they are now soapies that are well liked. For example, there are some people that wake up at 05h00 to listen to SEBOLOKE on Motsweding FM because they miss the afternoon episodes during the drive time shows as they are either at work or en route from work to home in public. There are some who go as far as sleeping after 23h00 on Sunday because they are listening to the Omnibus of MAHLAKUNG on Thobela FM. Indeed there must be something good about the actors, writers and producers of these drama programmes. For me, that is local content at its best.
To Lance, I am a little worried that in terms of the nominees on your list you seem to have forgotten the comedians’ slots that are usually fitted on Fridays by stations like Kaya FM and 702. Here am referring to people like Nick Rabinowitz, Skhumba, Mashabela and Eugene. They also play an important role in this sector as they are stress relievers that let us unwind at the end of the week and are sometimes most twitted and their sound clips at times become the most downloaded, especially by the technology savvy youth and adults.
On that note allow me to congratulate Trevor Noah, whose career, according to many, owes a lot of exposure to Y-FM; on his achievement. As the Minister responsible for Brand South Africa, I think he will become our best ambassador and brand to make it big in the highly competitive American Entertainment industry. Unlike Chris Rock I won’t say or tweet “Thanks Obama for Trevor Noah’s gig”; I can only say: YES, most of you operating in the South African Radio Industry can make it big anywhere in the world as you are equally competitive. YES YOU CAN.
On that note Programme Director, I know, actually am convinced, that you are all going to join me in condemning the senseless attacks, killings and harassment of our African Brothers and Sisters by our fellow South Africans. This is not the freedom that boTata Mandela, Sisulu, Tambo, Luthuli, Makgatho, Mahlangu and Chabane fought for.
You see the thing about radio is that it is the one that is the closest to our people, both community and public especially, and to a certain extent commercial. I call upon your CEOs, Programme Managers and Station Manager to look at how you can partner with government, especially the departments of Communications and Arts and Culture in promoting nation building and social cohesion. I am going to instruct MDDA, SABC and officials from the department to work together; together with the National Association of Broadcasters and National Community Radio Forum to come up with implementation plans and strategies to promote social cohesion and nation building. ICASA will have to monitor these plans.
We will use our programme production funds to prioritise these initiatives and ensure that these programmes be flighted on community and commercial radio stations because of their proximity to the communities experiencing this xenophobic and afrophobia attacks. From the Executive side, we believe that these are events that should not happen on our names considering our difficult past history as a country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, most of you will also note that you are now facing challenges and competition from unexpected sources, some of them from overseas. This is due to the fact that most young South Africans have access to Internet and smartphones and they also devote most of their time to social media, music, television programmes, YouTube and online games. I am not talking about Shaka Sisulu here, other young people that are profitable to your advertisers.
I suspect that there are also digital challenges ahead for all radio broadcasters, more acutely for community broadcasters who are going to face prohibitive costs related to the establishment and operation of digital radio stations. Currently Sentech is running tests for Digital Radio Mundial (DRM) and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in South Africa. The Department is also monitoring international developments related to these; especially in similar developing countries like Brazil and India. Once we are sure of our case studies and cost benefit analysis, we will gladly launch digital radio in South Africa.
We will continue to nurture our relationship with the community broadcasting sector. We will continue supporting their signal distribution costs and equipment infrastructure. We will also assist the sector in training their production and news teams in reporting and producing content for the upcoming local government elections. Our support thus far has gone beyond R400 m.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
This banquet is about celebration of excellence, judged by peers and experts in the industry. It is a prestigious event of course. Let me wish all of you, the nominated stations and individuals, good luck. To the lifetime achiever, you join a list of luminaries in this industry.
In conclusion, I do not agree with those that say radio, especially for teens and tweens, is dead, and say it is not dying. But I agree that most of you have to change your business models and repackage your shows to sell to the new trailblazers of Generation Y and Generation Z that are said to be attractive to your advertisers.
For me, there is a long-term standing ANC Resolution on establishing a national youth radio station. I will be looking into this with great interest with the SABC.
Radio is not dead, will not die because together with all of us, radio stations stand a better chance of definitely moving South Africa forward.
I thank you.
SOURCE: South African Official News