Ra­dio waves

Sun­shine FM to go on the air in Port Al­fred in July

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

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’

Pic­ture: JON HOUZET

BIG IDEAS: Tapelo Selepe, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Selepe Me­dia House, is bring­ing Sun­shine FM to Port Al­fred in July

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