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”.
Media Release for Algoa FM by Siyathetha Communications
Algoa FM: Lesley Geyer: 072 372 1900 / Lesley.G@algoafm.co.za
Siyathetha: Ed Richardson: 083 656 9757 / email@example.com
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. Finland 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.
“Mother’s Day is not really a day during which I focus on my role as a mum, but rather on that of my role as a daughter,” says Algoa FM Breakfast Show presenter Lee Duru.
“I dedicate special attention to my own mother,” says the multi-talented Duru, who has the lead role in a new sitcom and strives to strike a balance between her family and multiple professional lives.
“My mother is the woman who laid the groundwork and set the tone for the type of parent I am today,” says Duru.
“On Mother’s Day, I try to show extra gratitude and acknowledgement for all she has done for me”.
“Every sacrifice made and every memory created. I find that I appreciate and understand it all that much more now that I am a mum myself”, says Duru.
Speaking of herself as a mother, Duru manages her busy schedule with “a lot of family support”.
“My husband, mum and sister help keep the wheels turning and, of course, I’d be nowhere without my diary, year planner and endless lists”!
“Thankfully, my daughter Elah, is now a fully-fledged teenager and so making lunches, sorting uniforms and packing bags is a thing of the past – although I do have to cast a guiding eye once in a while”.
Duru says she is “strict” about personal and family time and emphasizes the importance of being selective and learning to say “no” to certain invitations.
“Most days start at 04:30 (depending on how many times I hit the snooze button)! At 06:00 I co-host the breakfast show and then from 09:00 I could have anything from meetings to admin or brunch with a friend lined up”.
“My second work shift starts at around 16:30 when I start preparing dinner for the family.
In between, Duru has ensured that as a freelancer she has multiple income streams”.
“I currently write for a TV show on SABC 2 called “Karektas” and am part of the development team for a docu-drama called “Ko Strateng”.
“I’m also in front of the camera from time to time. In April I started filming a sitcom in Johannesburg to be aired on Moja Love, where I play the lead character”.
“I also MC, am a public speaker as well as a social media influencer with various campaigns lined up for the year”.
Lee describes herself as an affectionate, protective, responsible, and reliable mother.
She says she is a “straight-shooter who tells it like it is and keeps it real”.
Her approach to discipline is a combination of “old school” and modern. “While my father was very strict and gave me several hidings growing up – modern-day parenting now calls for us to confiscate devices and talking about feelings!”
“My aim is and will always be to create a secure, nurturing home in which Elah can be spontaneous and feel loved”.
Media Release for Algoa FM by Siyathetha Communications
The Middelburg (Cape) Recreation Club has received R46 000 worth of sports equipment for a variety of disciplines through funds raised by the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer, which is the biggest mass-participation charity event in the Eastern Cape.
Algoa FM partnered with the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) to promote healthy living and exercise for the first Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer, which was held on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
Speaking at the handover, Inxuba Yethemba mayor Noncedo Zonke, said it was a municipality “with a passion for sport which excels at women’s running.
“Social programmes like these are very important because we do not need to focus only on academic performance. We need to encourage young people to keep healthy, and teach them that exercise makes you a complete person”.
DSRAC deputy director of the Chris Hani District Thoko Oliphant, said the Middelburg club was selected because of its enthusiastic participation in the first Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer.
Lorinda Brown, head of the Middelburg Recreational Club said “we can now lead a more active and healthier lifestyle thanks to the more than five thousand people who registered for the 2020 Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer”.
The equipment is being stored safely at the Ellen Olivier Primary School.
“We partner with both the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and the Department of Health” to promote healthy living and exercise in Algoa Country, says Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Included in the equipment requested by the Middelburg Recreation Club are agility ladders, yoga mats, dumbbells, gym balls, water dispensers and a loudspeaker system.
Media Release for Algoa FM
By Siyathetha Communications
Young women in the Wild Coast Zithulele Village will continue receiving training in life and practical skills thanks to a R118 000 donation by the empowerment shareholder of Algoa FM to the Masiphakameni Youth Development Programme.
“The programme‘s intention to develop confidence in young rural women was the key selling point for me,” says Algoa FM non-executive director Zola Tshefu.
Masiphakameni is a programme run by Jabulani Rural Health Foundation.
Unemployed women from Zithulele and surrounds in the former Transkei attend an eight-month course which focuses on both “soft” and practical skills, according to programme facilitator Jenny Michell.
“What I love most about the Masiphakameni programme is the holistic approach to young women development through offering a broad range of training, life skills as well as new experiences and exposure,” adds Tshefu, who overseas the Algoa FM Empowerment Company, through which the funds have been channelled.
“I believe you may have all the education in the world but without self-confidence you cannot achieve much in life. That inner knowing that you have something to contribute to this world gives one unstoppable power,” she adds.
The programme includes afternoon placement with local NGOs or government institutions where the young women gain practical experience, and learn how to behave professionally in the work environment.
They also give back to the community through their work, says Michell.
Each participant receives a stipend for the work they perform. This can be used to support their families or saved towards paying for college or university.
“The benefit of this kind of investment in these young women goes beyond them as individuals, but also impacts their families and their villages, and the country stands to gain,” says Tshefu.
Funding provided from the Algoa FM Empowerment Company will help Masiphakameni to expand the courses it offers.
“We are planning to introduce a training programme called ‘Work 4 A Living’. It is a great course covering basics of financial literacy, work ethics, job preparation, taking responsibility for one’s own future and more,” says Michell.