New rhythm FOR PUTCO

Radio vet­eran opens up about his shock­ing exit from Umhlobo Wenene

Move! - - CELEB WATCH - By Sibu­siso Ng­wenya

IT CAME as the big­gest surprise in the sta­tion’s pro­gramme line-up reshuf­fle. Lis­ten­ers of the popular Break­fast Eyond­layo Ek­seni (BEE) break­fast show cer­tainly didn’t see this one com­ing. In a shock­ing move, popular radio DJ Mphuthumi “Putco” Mafani re­cently left the coun­try’s sec­ond big­gest radio sta­tion to head up the newly-formed com­mer­cial radio sta­tion, Rhythm FM.

NEW KID ON THE RADIO BLOCK

Prior to his de­par­ture, there had been wide spec­u­la­tion on so­cial me­dia about Putco al­legedly team­ing up with me­dia mogul Given Mkhari, who is the CEO of MSG Afrika Group.

Speak­ing on the break­fast show, Umhlobo Wenene sta­tion man­ager Phumzile Mnci con­firmed Putco’s exit.

“It is in­deed true that Putco will no longer be part of the break­fast team. I re­ceived his let­ter of res­ig­na­tion and we will be an­nounc­ing new changes soon,” says Phumzile, adding that the cur­rent team com­pris­ing of Pas­tor Nozewu, Mluleki “Coach” Ntsabo and Mafa Bavuma will con­tinue as hosts un­til a new line-up is an­nounced.

LEAV­ING A LEGACY

Putco says he is ex­cited and sad at the same time. “I am sad that I give my back to a warm fam­ily of man­age­ment, fel­low staff and col­leagues at Umhlobo, where I was al­ways at home. And equally so, I am proud of the achieve­ments I have en­joyed there,” he says.

Putco says he is leav­ing the sta­tion a happy man af­ter de­liv­er­ing on the man­date given to him in 2010 to take the break­fast show lis­ten­er­ship from 700 000 to more than three mil­lion lis­ten­ers. “Leg­ends are called leg­ends when they leave a legacy, and that’s what I have done,” he says.

TEAM­ING UP WITH AN ‘OLD FRIEND’

He says he is look­ing for­ward to build­ing his own legacy as the co-owner of the first com­mer­cial radio sta­tion in the Eastern Cape, be­ing a sta­tion man­ager and a break­fast show host.

“This is un­prece­dented in our lovely prov­ince. Rhythm FM will broad­cast from East Lon­don and reach lis­ten­ers through­out the en­tire prov­ince. We are mak­ing his­tory,” he says.

The new sta­tion is set to go on air by 1 July. Putco says their part­ners, MSG Afrika Group, have two radio sta­tions al­ready – Power FM in Gaut­eng and Capri­corn FM in Lim­popo. Putco is ex­cited to be team­ing up with his old friend, Bob Mabena, who has been ap­pointed MSG’s group head of pro­gram­ming, and will work closely with him at Rhythm FM.

“He is a fel­low South African Radio Hall of Fame in­ductee just like me. That tells you we are go­ing for qual­ity, fine broad­cast­ing with a sta­tion sound like you’ve never heard in the prov­ince be­fore. To­gether we will en­sure good and pleas­ant pro­gram­ming, ” he says.

RE­MEM­BER­ING HIS TEAM

Putco says he will miss work­ing with the BEE team.

“I was lucky to team up with three young bril­liant guys. The magic be­hind the per­son­al­i­ties and the com­pat­i­bil­ity we shared did not come overnight but once they gripped my style, we be­gan fly­ing,” he says.

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