Sunshine FM to go on the air in Port Alfred in July
PORT Alfred will have a brand new community radio station, Sunshine FM 106.1, from the beginning of July.
The station, previously based in Peddie, has been relocated to Port Alfred by media entrepreneur Tapelo Selepe and has found a home in the renovated Heritage Mall.
Selepe is determined to make it a true community station with diverse programming that will appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners. Sunshine FM is an initiative of the Bani Indigenous Development Academy (Bida), which is registered as a non-profit organisation. It received a broadcast licence in 2014 and is on the frequency 106.1 FM.
“We will be transmitted by the Sentech transmitter in Grahamstown and have coverage from Mthatha to Humansdorp,” Selepe said.
“My inspiration for radio came from when I was a youth in the early 1990s, when I observed the gangsterism in Kathlehong in Gauteng, following the political violence. I saw guys with pump-action shotguns.
“We couldn’t even go to the shop without fear – there were guns everywhere. And also violence at school.
“Then YFM, a youth station, came onto the scene in 1999. At that time I was in my second year at Wits studying media relations, and the content on YFM was so relevant, it was speaking to us. I credit it with transformative power in people’s minds, to show youngsters there was a life other than gangsterism. Former gangsters are now big entrepreneurs,” he said.
In 2006 Selepe relocated to Cape Town and worked for Radio Zibonele FM in Khayelitsha, where he was programme manager.
“When I was there I saw another injustice in terms of violence. I saw it was not just an issue of service delivery but communication. “Politicians were taking advantage of lack of communication to misinform the people.
“We asked the municipality, ‘come talk to the people, engage with the people’. We saw this having an effect in a positive way. “At least people were informed, they wouldn’t just wake up and go on strike. It was part of the engagement,” he said.
After that Selepe launched a community station, Elgin FM, in Grabouw in the Western Cape. “I started the project for the station from scratch in 2012, and it went on air in 2015.
“I’m still part of the station in an advisory role and mentorship, but I relocated to Port Alfred. I started my business Selepe Media House in 2016, focusing on radio licensing applications, broadcasting legal advice, content research and training,” he said.
“I had been looking to start another station in Port Alfred but getting a frequency was not possible. Then an opportunity arose with Sunshine Radio which was based in Peddie.”
Selepe said the station had had a good start, winning an award for best community station in the Eastern Cape in 2015, but it had been struggling. “Last year its founder, Chief Bani Zanemali, approached me and asked me to be managing director.
“The decision to move the station to Port Alfred came about when I saw an opportunity to come up with an integrated programme. Port Alfred is more of the hub of tourism on the Sunshine Coast. I saw an opportunity for integration more than I did in Peddie,” Selepe said.
“I approached Heritage Mall during their renovations about having space for a radio station as it looked like an ideal place. We have signed a contract with the mall owner.”
The station will go on the air in the first week of July.
There will be auditions for DJs on May 25. Anyone interested can e-mail their CVs and voice demos to Selepe on selepemedia[email protected] or drop them off with the centre manager’s office at Heritage Mall.
There are presently three board members but Selepe wants to have an integrated board with some local people on it. Anyone interested in being on the board can also send their CVs to selepemedia[email protected]
‘I approached Heritage Mall during their renovations about having space for a radio station’
BIG IDEAS: Tapelo Selepe, the managing director of Selepe Media House, is bringing Sunshine FM to Port Alfred in July