Every day I scan through the FM band on my car radio to look for some intelligent, upmarket radio. I am that type of person, an intelligent, up-market type person. I land up on 702 most of the time. So this leads me to the point of this article, we need a national, intelligent, up-market radio station.
Let me tell you about myself. I am 35, own a house, 2 cars and all the other things that puts me firmly into the LSM 10 bracket. Why is there no national radio station aimed at me? Is someone missing the gap in the market? Do people like me no longer care in the interests of “making a better South Africa”?
Radio 2000 was an alternative to some of the crap that was on the wireless but then that got broken by a management team who seem to want to cater to all people all the time. Anyone in radio will tell you that you cannot be everything to everyone. Radio is not that type of medium. Even television cannot do it, why would a further reaching medium try and spread itself wider? It makes no sense to me.
It seems that the powers that be are so focused on educating the nation and creating parity, that advertisers are losing out on a market that is begging to be sold to. The only way to hit the upmarket folks of this great land is to buy across all of the regional stations in the country and spend more money than you had ever hoped to. One national radio station would create competition for those stations and would have to deliver a package that is better than them at the same time. To me it seems a win-win for all concerned.
A couple of questions are raised. What language does the national commercial station broadcast in? My answer is that it should broadcast in the language of business in South Africa. Be it English, Afrikaans or Zulu, speak the language of the people in the bracket. This is not rocket science, folks. Make a station for the people.
What format should the station follow? Again, not rocket science. Ask the market. Simple, should said people want music then play it. Should they want talk, do it. Just do it well and with intelligence and well educated presenters.
You might say that the current stations are doing a good job, I say that they are not. 5fm’s target audience is 16-24. SAfm is not a national commercial broadcaster and Radio 2000 has the issues that I brought up earlier, as well as SABC Sport getting their dirty fingerprints all over it.
Sure, you can Empower as many people as you like, but until you open up the airwaves in South Africa, you will never have good radio.