IS TBO COURTING UNATHI?
Trouble is brewing at Metro FM as senior DJs who refuse to work with juniors have seemingly started their exodus
Tbo Touch is not only competing with one of Mzansi’s favourite radio stations, he claims he is also going after every senior DJ at Metro FM – including Robert Marawa and Unathi Msengana.
On Tuesday evening at the launch of the Touch HD digital radio station held at Steyn City Estate north of Fourways, Molefe hinted that Marawa’s new contract was in his car. However, Marawa’s name was not included in the new Touch HD line-up, and neither was Msengana’s. But Glen Lewis, who parted ways with Metro FM a week ago after two decades at the station, will be hosting Touch HD’s breakfast show.
Tbo Touch, whose real name is Thabo Molefe, made it clear that it was now personal.
“I’m going to poach all their best DJ’s until they give me my last show. I’ve had 12 years of the best radio experience. I submitted my resignation at 9am and I said: ‘Today I’m going to say goodbye to my listeners, I want to say goodbye to everybody.’ You know what they said? They told me to just go.”
He added that he was the only person that gave Metro FM Jay Z live on radio in 2004, and the only person who brought boxing ace Floyd Mayweather into the SABC building.
“Anyway, we don’t cry over spilt milk. All I needed was my last day to say goodbye. To this day, I have not been given my last day. That’s the only time I’ll go back, to go and do my last show and to say goodbye.”
Marawa indicated via SMS that Tbo Touch would have a hard time courting him.
“I’m on air at Metro FM and having a great time with the listeners,” he said.
An industry insider told City Press that Tbo Touch had been poaching every good DJ in the radio industry “and he’s been offering them good money”. The insider did not say how much he was offering.
On Friday, Msengana announced to her listeners on the breakfast show First Avenue that she was leaving.
Msengana, who has been with the station for at least 10 years, did not take calls or respond to text messages. Her resignation follows Lewis’ departure.
In October last year, City Press reported that some senior DJs at Metro FM were unhappy with changes at the station and that threats of resignations were afoot. This came after senior DJs were going to be forced to be paired with younger counterparts to help the young jocks improve.
Thato “DJ Fresh” Sikwane will be taking over the breakfast show. On Friday, Sikwane announced on Twitter that he was leaving 5FM for Metro FM. In a video posted on Twitter, he said: “I was redeployed a day or two ago. My entire career [in] radio was all about the people.”
Listeners should expect big surprises when the new line-up changes take place next week.
Presenting alongside Fresh will be Somizi Mhlongo, who confirmed his new gig late yesterday afternoon. This confirms what SABC insiders told City Press, that one of the cancelled shows is Whose Show Is It Anyway? between 8am and 10am by Mhlongo, Ntombi Mzolo and Khanyi Mbau.
“These three will definitely be separated. They will be paired with senior DJs. They didn’t gel together; it just didn’t work out,” said one insider.
TV presenter and radio DJ Masechaba Ndlovu, who recently resigned from Power FM, is also rumoured to be joining Metro FM. Ndlovu wasn’t available for comment. Her phone was switched off and she did not respond to messages.
On Friday, some of the station’s radio personalities were still in the dark as to which slots they would be hosting from next week.
“On Thursday, each individual was called in and given either a renewal or termination contract. In the renewal contract, it wasn’t clear which show I will be presenting as from next week,” said one concerned DJ, adding that she hoped she’d receive a call or message from her employers before Monday.
Another frustrated DJ agreed, but said she was happy her contract had been renewed and that she still had a job.
According to the second book of The Broadcast Research Council of SA – the new radio measurement that was released in February – Metro FM’s listenership has increased.
The radio station has 3.93 million listeners, up from 3.67 million between July and December last year.
But despite the increase, Metro FM has slipped to number four of the country’s most popular radio stations, down from number two.
Ukhosi FM, with 7.3 million listeners, is still in the top spot, followed by Umhlobo Wenene and Lesedi FM. SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago did not respond to requests for comment.
LEARNING CURVE Khanyi Mbau MISSING IN ACTION Unathi Msengana NOT BUDGING Robert Marawa
ON THE PROWL Tbo Touch at a media conference in Johannesburg