South Africans will be turning out in their thousands in support of those affected by cancer by participating in the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021.
The annual Algoa FM Big Walk is one of South Africa’s biggest charity events. This year it takes place on October 30 – with participants picking the five kilometre route of their choice.
“It is an ideal family event as you can walk or run the five kilometres as fast or slow as you like, starting at eight in the morning,” says Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Entries from around the country are heading for the 7 000 mark, and there is still time to register in order to help the CHOC to purchase a transporter for young cancer patients and their carers in Buffalo City and surrounds, she says.
Participants will be treated to a free show featuring a mix of South African and international acts, namely: Canadian pop duo Neon Dreams; internationally acclaimed South African country artist, Roan Ash; celebrated singer/songwriter Majozi; and Cape Town based New Hero, who have a string of number one hits to their name.
The show will be streamed through the Algoa FM website and Facebook pages from the “live studio” set up especially for the Big Walk.
There has been such support for the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021 that all of the free T-shirts and much of the merchandise on offer have been snapped up a fortnight in advance of the annual event, according to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
“Thousands of people from all over South Africa will be walking their own five kilometre routes on Saturday, October 30, to help raise funds for the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC) and in support of those affected by cancer.
“CHOC East London will put the money raised towards purchasing a new transporter for the children and their carer who are accommodated for free at the CHOC house while the child is undergoing treatment.
“But, even if it is too late for a T-shirt, there are still exciting prizes to be drawn from the lists of people who enter over the next two weeks or so,” she says.
Algoa FM has teamed up with its clients to provide weekly prizes in the last sprint to the day of the event, as well as on the 30th.
There are also prizes to be drawn from the school, club and corporate entries.
Running and walking clubs from around South Africa are vying with each other to submit the biggest entry for the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021 five kilometre walk on Saturday, October 30.
“It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which clubs are taking on the Big Walk for Cancer challenge,” says Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
As a “thank you”, Algoa FM will be giving a Samsung Active 2 Smart Watch to one lucky club member.
“I would like to encourage all running clubs, far and wide, to enter this year’s Big Walk…. it’s a Walk that changes lives,” says Ella Ajayi, MTN manager regional marketing .
To qualify for the draw, simply state the name of your club on the online registration form.
Club members can either enter individually or as a group, which means that they can share the courier costs of the sought-after iconic pink Big Walk T-shirts and other merchandise, she says.
The annual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer is the biggest mass-participation charity event in the Eastern Cape.
This year the beneficiary is the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC).
More information is available on the Algoa FM website: www.algoafm.co.za
Algoa FM presenter Mio Khondleka (pictured) after collecting his pink T-shirt for the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021, which takes place on Saturday, October 30.
Entrants living in Gqeberha and Kariega will be able to collect their free T-shirts and merchandise at a drive-through service situated at the Williams Hunt Isuzu Dealership in the Moffett Retail Park, off William Moffett Expressway, from Wednesday, September 15.
Entrants will be notified by e-mail of their collection date for their parcel, which will be between 12 noon and six in the evening on Wednesdays and Fridays leading up to the Big Walk, according to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Radio personality and Algoa FM Presenter, Brian Ndevu, is using his afternoon drive show to highlight women of the Eastern Cape and South Africa.
He has introduced “Wonder Women Wednesday,” which seeks to inspire women from all walks of life to look beyond the gender-based violence against women around them and reach for greatness.
“The feature was born out of my anger regarding violence towards women,” says Ndevu.
“I thought if I could dedicate a day each week to celebrate women, it wouldn’t only inspire older women to be great, but young girls as well,” he says.
“I have girl children and I want them to have other women to look up to who are doing great things in the world,” he says.
Ndevu selects the women he features by looking at what is currently happening in the country.
“I’ve celebrated young women in South Africa who have changed career paths as a result of Covid (from microbiology to farming), celebrated a woman from Queenstown who beat cancer and the Prime Minister of New Zealand for her approach to Covid-19.
“We also featured our Border Rugby Women’s Team who won the national league,” he says.
“The response has been good. Listeners tell me they look forward to the feature. The great thing about it is that there are plenty of things that women are doing that are worth celebrating,” says Ndevu.
This month, Ndevu highlights that he will be speaking to a Walter Sisulu University student who recently won a continental competition.
The future shines bright for Wonder Women Wednesdays, Ndevu says, “I’d love to have the feature sponsored or get to a point where we have an event celebrating women every year. I’d love to have seminars and talks at schools for women, by women”.
“In women’s month, we generally hear more about women supporting women, but Brian has grown this feature beyond just women’s month.
“It’s an empowering feature for all ages and through sharing positive stories, we are hoping to inspire others through radio,” says Algo FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Algoa FM’s financial director Kevin Reed is retiring after 35 years in the media industry – and a job interview during which he was dressed “in lumo green shorts, a white T-shirt and white flip-flops”.
There is an explanation – having started a financial consulting business in 2000, he thought he had been invited for a studio interview.
Fortunately for all, Algoa FM is the place where “fun is a serious business” and following the February 2000 interview he was hired as the financial manager. Within three years he had been appointed financial director and deputy managing director.
It sometimes comes as a surprise to people who know the outgoing and extroverted side of Reed to find out that, once behind his computer, he has a totally different approach to life.
“Accounting is the most exact science. Debits always equal credits and don’t try to reinvent the abacus.
“The accounting team must never lose sight of the fact that accurate, timeous and meaningful financial and analytical information empowers management, the board and the group, to make informed strategic decisions that benefit all stakeholders,” he says.
Reed’s introduction to the media was with the then EP Newspapers, as financial accountant between 1985 and late 1998.
After joining Algoa FM, he gained an in-depth knowledge of radio by attending international conventions such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Dallas, Texas, and spending time at various radio stations in London, including the iconic Capital Radio and Virgin.
He has also worked with NRSmedia in Sydney, Australia, to develop new advertising packages and approaches for Algoa FM’s clients.
Radio is now firmly in his blood, and Reed believes that it is now the most powerful communication medium for companies wanting to connect with their customers in a defined broadcast area.
“In an evolving media landscape Algoa FM is best positioned to partner with clients to help them promote their brand from the Garden Route to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo,” he says.
Looking back, the professional achievements of which he is most proud are 21 years of clean audits at Algoa FM and building a strong team, which will now be headed by Desiré Killian.
“The small finance team is well equipped to take care of the financial and statutory obligations. I have to thank them for their commitment and professionalism, which allows me to retire knowing that the finances of Algoa FM are in very competent hands,” he says.
Then there is the fun aspect – through Algoa FM, Reed has met “in person” a number of superstars, including Shaggy, Belinda Carlisle, James Blunt, Will Young, Josh Groban, Celine Dion and Sting (with his family).
“In the media, we often take for granted how fortunate we are to share our working environment with champions who have diverse talents, creativity and passion. Media houses are a hotbed of human capital and intellectual property”.
The outgoing financial director is the epitome of the lifestyle of the typical Algoa FM listener – “my passions are food, travel and aircraft. Food and travel I believe are the greatest ways to appreciate and try new things and experience cultural diversity,” he says.
Thanks to Covid, travel plans are on the back-burner.
“I will be letting the corporate spring unwind and spend time with the way too many people I need to catch up with. I have worked for almost 50 years, starting as a packer at the first Pick n Pay at Lynwood in Pretoria, so it is now time to chill.
“I look forward to making awesome meals and travelling with my hubby. If that’s not physically possible, I can be found checking out planes at the airport or using an app to follow flights around the world”.
His advice to a younger Kevin: “Do not take time for granted. It goes by in the blink of an eye, especially when you are working hard and having fun at the same time.
“Start saving as soon as you can, but ensure you balance your life’s journey with treats and spoils.
“Surround yourself with the best people, for the right reason. But, mostly, ensure that your life is made up of a sequence of entertaining and engaging stories”.
“Leadership is all about the people. It’s not about organisations. Its not about plans. Its not about strategies. Its all about people – motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centred” – Colin Powell.
Mental health management has become a very important factor in all our lives. And for those in leadership roles, you not only have to be on top of your mental health, but that of your team members as well.
If we are to overcome the obstacles this pandemic has brought, our focus should be on our most valued asset, what we at Algoa FM call our “champions” – our people.
Coping with mental health challenges (our own and those of our staff) has always been part of our lives, but it has been kept a well-hidden secret, like something that we are embarrassed to share.
And as leaders, we were thrown in the deep end when Covid placed a spotlight on mental health and forced us to deal with the elephant in the room.
While mental illness has always been with us, international research collated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has found that the prevalence of anxiety and depression has doubled in many countries around the world.
One of the first misconceptions that we need to overcome is that mental illness is a sign of some sort of weakness. It is an illness, much like any other, and we need to educate ourselves about it and understand it.
Here are some of my thoughts…
- Educate yourself about mental health through reading articles and attending webinars Share your insights with your team – knowledge is power.
- Have an open-door policy and listen when staff come to you with challenges
- When team members reach out, it is important to listen and then act
- Be aware that team members will almost certainly have a member of their immediate family or social circle suffering from mental challenges – this will have a knock-on effect
Many will try to keep their challenges to themselves. Here are some signs too look out for:
- Fatigue, changes in behaviour, being more aggressive in responses, poor work performance or throwing oneself completely into workday beyond 8-5, changes in appearances, changes in mood.
- Warning bells should ring if you cannot get hold of staff working remotely. Many times, if you are not in a good space answering a phone or responding to a message or an email can be too much.
- Reach out to staff. Have open, non-threatening conversations with your staff and allow them to express themselves
- Reach out to your HR Department for guidance and assistance.
I find that sharing my personal experience with mental health and the challenges I am facing through this pandemic helps.
And I always find that it helps when people understand that they are not alone, and that others are also facing similar challenges. You may be surprised how much support and hope an open conversation can give your staff members.
One must never forget that leaders are under at least as much strain as their team members – and often more. We need to care for our own mental health.
Looking after yourself mentally is as important as the skills and knowledge that have seen you move into a leadership role.
Leaders set the example, and your team will cope better with the mental challenges of a Covid world if you show the way.
Few of us can do it alone – as part of the leadership team, we need to be there for each other.
Know that there will be times when you feel despondent and feel like you can’t cope any more.
During these times we need to be able to support and lean on each other.
Be patient and understanding, when someone in a meeting has a reaction that was maybe out of the norm, step back… don’t take it personally and hear the person out.
Tomorrow, it could be you who is struggling to control stress.
These are challenging times for all of us.
About the author: Celeste Thomas – Algoa FM Human Resources Manager
Celeste joined Algoa FM in 2013. Under her guidance the Human Resources department has established itself as a strategic arm of the business, which is integrated into all the media house’s operations.
She also sits on the Board of Propella, a Gqebera-based business incubator geared to advance IT and manufacturing businesses.
“The world we live in is ever changing and as such I am always learning new things. My knowledge of the media industry has grown so much, and I am loving every minute of it. If you are innovative, creative, forward thinking and have the ability to adapt to different situations and still have a lot of fun while doing it…… then media is the industry for you,” says Celeste.
Algoa FM’s Great Deal Promotion package for advertisers was ranked the best commercial promotion stunt/event in the country at the 2021 South African Radio Awards, which were presented on Friday, June 30.
In addition, Algoa FM managing director Alfie Jay was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame for his contribution to the industry during his career of more than 30 years.
“The Great Deal Promotion was a game changer for our commercial efforts in 2020,” says Jay.
“The innovative programme proved to be a great success, not only for our clients but also for ourselves in what truly was a very difficult year,” he adds.
Algoa FM was nominated as a finalist in three categories – Wayne Hart for best breakfast show presenter, the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer in the community project category, and the Algoa FM Great Deal Promotion in the promotions stunt/event category.
This bring to four, the number of times that Algoa FM has won the prestigious award for the best promotions stunt or event, having previously walked off with the spoils for its Heritage Day/Virtual Flag campaign, the launch campaign of the Algoa FM App and the annual Big Walk for Cancer.
“I am so very proud of my team for consistently innovating campaigns which deliver return on investment for our clients and stakeholders. This form of recognition says a lot about Algoa FM’s ability to impress on a national level,” says Jay.
In July of last year, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams published a policy direction asking ICASA to fast track the licensing of digital radio broadcasting services in South Africa. Radio insiders were encouraged to see DAB+ mentioned specifically as an integral component of her digital radio standards plan.
A year on, the question of whether DAB+ is a viable opportunity in a country like ours — where radio is a huge medium for people to consume information, news, and entertainment every day — still lingers. One thing remains clear; although internet connectivity is improving around the country, there simply isn’t enough access or bandwidth for everyone to move from FM onto streaming. We need something else and DAB+ is a viable candidate that shows great promise. But what kind of impact could DAB+ have on the South African radio broadcasting landscape as a whole?
DAB+: A digital radio technology standard
Back in the late 1980’s, a digital radio technology standard was defined as part of a European research project. It laid the foundations for the creation of what we now know as DAB+ (digital audio broadcasting plus), a global radio standard that sets out to be a viable digital alternative to traditional AM/FM broadcasting. DAB+ is topical in South Africa because it was recently advertised in the Government Gazette — an encouraging sign that suggests forward motion and a goal to make it widely available to everyone in the long run.
In the same way that the country has been slow on the uptake of digital terrestrial TV, there is an argument that DAB+ is nearly two decades late in South Africa. This is more evident when you consider that over 470 million people around the world can already receive DAB broadcasts.
Even though DAB is widely available elsewhere, widespread integration has been a challenge. Norway is one of the rare countries where DAB+ has been totally integrated and is the only choice for people to listen to alongside online streaming. Ireland is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The country switched off all DAB services in March of this year, citing cost effectiveness and low market penetration as some of the reasons for abandonment.
Access to receivers and the cost barrier
The examples of challenges elsewhere might indicate possible integration challenges in South Africa too. A key problem faced in many markets is that existing FM units are not able to pick up DAB+. They can’t even receive transmissions from DAB, its predecessor. Even radios that can receive DAB won’t be able to receive DAB+. Only DAB+ sets are backwards compatible, so all citizens will need these to gain access transmissions to begin with.
Because access to physical receivers is so limited, there would need to be conversations with companies who are able to manufacture and distribute these at low cost. With a base cost of roughly R300 for a bottom end DAB+ receiver there is a lot of ground to be covered before it becomes as popular as FM. More advanced receivers that show pictures and streaming text are vastly more expensive. Although some new vehicles and cellphones have DAB+ capability built in, there is a long way to go to get mass coverage.
How DAB+ could change the face of radio in South Africa
If there was widespread access to receivers, and the cost barrier was removed, DAB+ could be a real game changer in South Africa. On a traditional transmitter, where you have one FM frequency, you have access to a single radio station. On a DAB mux (or multiplex), one “frequency” has around twenty different options to listen to, depending on the quality the broadcaster decides to stream. This gives broadcasters the opportunity to access multiple channels, to reach more audiences, and there is a major knock-on effect from there.
DAB+ would potentially create an additional layer of audio opportunity for radio stations in new markets that they wouldn’t have been able to reach through traditional AM or FM stations. Take Gqeberha based Algoa FM, for example. They could apply for a DAB frequency because they want to provide a service to audiences in Cape Town and Durban alongside their existing FM listener base. It would turn them into a national radio station overnight, without the worry of having to migrate shows to a streaming environment that won’t be able to handle the bandwidth load presented by their audience. A group of established streaming stations could also apply for a DAB+ mux together and offer their existing on-line music and content services to a bigger audience.
An opportunity to serve the underserved
DAB+ could also allow stations like these to reach places that were truly unreachable before for the first time. It creates an opportunity for underserved (rural) communities to have access to broadcasts where traditional FM frequencies struggle to, can’t or haven’t been legally licensed to reach previously underserved communities. This creates a variety of engagement opportunities based on geography, religion, sport and even education. Consider an educational radio station with several DAB+ frequencies, broadcasting simultaneously across the entire country. It could target high school students during exam time, quite literally becoming the “William Smith” of radio and reaching millions of scholars in the process.
Opening a door to new brand synergies
The amplified broadcasting opportunities would also naturally open new opportunities for innovative brand synergies as well. Radio groups like the National Community Radio Forum or some of the existing commercial radio players could create DAB muxes where they have blended programming from several of their stations in territories where there aren’t FM receivers.
This is an advertiser’s dream, granting brands access to new markets through a vehicle that they know well and trust already. Consider campaigns that target people who speak a certain language but have never been able to listen to a station on traditional radio due to geographical constraints and the language barrier. With multiple streaming avenues and targeted campaigns, stations and brands could finally begin to reach similar audiences in their native tongue for the very first time.
The DAB+ content opportunity
We can’t talk about the potential of DAB+ without mentioning the content creation opportunity. Whereas the content presented on traditional radio has an audience ceiling (and is limited to the amount of FM frequencies available), DAB+ is essentially an unlimited opportunity. As more channels become available, the content opportunity grows, and more people (jobs) will be needed to populate that content. As has been seen in the upswing of podcasting, this allows brands to invest in people who are creating interesting, topical, and engaging content. DAB+ essentially becomes the new home of exciting, high quality content that is widely available for listeners to consume, purely based on their own personal interests and preferences.
An optimistic outlook for DAB+
Despite that it has taken a long time — as well as technical challenges and a cost barrier that will need to be dealt with — DAB+ shows real promise and opportunity in South Africa.
It has the potential to create an additional layer for broadcasters to work with, it exposes audiences previously kept in the dark to existing and niche programming, and it gives brands the opportunity to amplify their efforts while speaking directly to their target market in the process. Content creators will also have additional platforms and scope to create and express themselves on.
A blended approach seems the most logical approach as we look for ways to utilise (and monetise) the DAB+ spectrum. At AME we have always loved audio and the connection it makes with people. Our two radio stations (OFM and Algoa FM) are well positioned to create new listening opportunities for audiences outside their traditional FM reach. Our Team at the Central Media Group hold an ENCS license as our first step to leveraging the DAB+. Additional platforms and technology are good for the entire broadcast business from platform owners, technical suppliers, content creators and ultimately the audience. It is however in our hands as the industry to drive the process.
Have you heard the story about the Algoa FM ‘Madhatter’s Tea Party’ where presenter Charl Leslie was dressed as the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland and played musical chairs with clients?
Our sales team had created a promotional opportunity for a select group of clients.
The goal was to secure forward revenue around an idea where we effectively sold shows to sponsors for a week at a time.
We had the sales solution, but needed a creative hook.
After much brainstorming we settled on a Madhatter’s Tea Party as our theme.
All we needed was the March Hare to host the day.
Up stepped the indomitable Mr.Charl Leslie, and the rest as they say, is history.
Whichever way you look at it, sales is a tough gig.
It’s my view that if you are really going to go for it, it had better be fun at least some of the time.
I mean if no-one’s having fun, what’s the point?
Delivering great work is so much easier when we are having fun, because if we’re not having fun, neither are our clients.
There is also a more serious business side to “fun” at Algoa FM.
“Our advertisers know that our media house is a fun place to work, but they also know we are an effective business with a positive workplace culture where business happens.”
Fun also allows us to boost engagement with our clients. They appreciate and understand the value of aligning their Brand with ours and the positive impact it has on their business.
Over the years, we’ve done loads of fun stuff with our clients, but The Madhatter’s Tea Party remains a firm favourite with me.
I have no doubt that fun will continue being a thing with us at Algoa FM.
How we continue to adapt in a Covid-restricted world sets us and our clients apart from everyone else.
Have you heard the one about the lady who walked into a business and said to the owner, “hi my name is Lesley Ann Fortuin from Algoa FM…but you can call me Bubbles?”
About the author: Dennis Karantges – Algoa FM Sales Manager
Dennis went from being a Client to Sales Manager in 2005. A marketer and sales person through-and-through, Dennis says “there’s a famous saying, ‘no one works until someone sells something’.
His advice to companies wanting to connect with customers from the Garden Route to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo, is: “Never take marketing your business or brand for granted. Make very sure you use the best advertising vehicle of delivery available to you in your chosen market. Seek their collaboration, then own your share of voice by being creative and keeping your marketing tuned in and switched on”.