Could there be any truth to the article published by The Economist in May 2021, titled “What history tells you about post-pandemic booms”, which states, “…people spend more, take more risks – and demand more of politicians”?
The article speaks of a ‘boom’, which throughout history has been seen to manifest in this way following post-traumatic events. While uncertainty remains in South Africa, it is tricky preparing for a post Covid-19 future. OFM’s approach to this anticipated economic ‘boom’ of sorts is endorsed through its continued “Living the Real Good Life” brand positioning.
Living the Real Good Life talks to escaping the pressures of everyday life by focusing on what matters most to OFM’s audience in Central South Africa… a place where the freedom to enjoy a more balanced life is not only possible, but is lived through music, engagement, lifestyle, and a strong sense of community.
In 2021, this positioning was driven through OFM’s 35th birthday year, which the brand leveraged to generate good, wholesome radio experiences while creating steadfast product offerings that supported local business.
Since March, the brand committed to providing positive yet disruptive on-air experiences through its birthday lead campaigns, which were created to address two objectives:
• building brand love and audience; and
• creating revenue.
March’s Spot the Yellow Fleet campaign not only reinforced the new look and feel of the OFM brand but encouraged audiences to engage by taking pictures with the newly branded OFM fleet. These vehicles were placed around the region at outside broadcasts, lifestyle events, and activations to stimulate local economies and build brand love.
80s April was a daily on-air celebration of music, which performed alongside a product offering generated from the excitement on-air. It was a theme that was heard on radio and taken to market through OFM’s Pop-Up Radio offering.
May’s Agri Focus Week, which spoke to one in three of the 26 000 farmers living in the OFM footprint, offered a focused and dedicated platform for all who are proudly represented inside the agri value chain.
In June, OFM’s Groot Vet Kombers Proe-jek inspired audiences across the region to raise R450 000 for Round Table Southern Africa’s Winter Knights Campaign. OFM took to the region with live broadcasts, twice a week, to challenge listeners to support a wide range of charities by purchasing a vetkoek for at least R35. The highest price paid for a vetkoek for charity was R10 000. This, and the many contributions from OFM’s audience, showcased the caring and real values contained within the Living the Real Good Life brand positioning.
However, the moment of truth presented itself in July when OFM celebrated its official 35th birthday through a brand-building exercise called the OFM Secret Song. This was a month-long campaign that celebrated music, engaged audiences through curiosity, and uplifted a community with a grand prize of R35 000.
These strategically placed exercises and considered touchpoints are used to build the OFM audience and provide real and engaging solutions to stakeholders; this, at a time when they need local support and investment the most.
In this shared spirit of Central South Africa, OFM rallies its audience to lead a really good life, made up of many and often smaller moments of pure fun, real connection, contribution to others, and moments of meaning.
OFM exists to connect and amplify Central South African’s desire to live their best quality of life in every moment, wherever they are. The brand is real, uplifting, proud and caring to all who listen to, and invest in, OFM. This is how OFM has built the trust to become the Sound of Central South Africa over the past 35 years.
OFM Programme Manager
“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”.
Written by Chris Borain ( Head of Digital: United Stations)
AUDIO STREAM – the live stream of radio station programming via the station’s website, iono.fm or other streaming platforms
In 2019, The Infinite Dial report measured online digital audio listening and found that 44% of South Africans listened to radio on a non-radio device*.
In other words, 44% of South Africans streamed their favourite radio station at home as opposed to listening on a traditional terrestrial radio. With the high (88%) smart phone penetration in South Africa, it’s no wonder the mobile phone is the device of choice when it comes to audio streaming. The digital audio audience is also diverse, with a 50/50 gender split and 71% under the age of 54.
Significant is that this research was done before the world turned upside down with the Covid19 pandemic.
2020 proved to be a watershed year for audio streaming in South Africa, with no signs that the trend is slowing down in 2021. United Stations saw its available streaming audience grow by 100% to 1million streams per month across its network of radio stations and websites since the start of the pandemic.
In line with the growth seen in local digital audio, United Stations bolstered its offering by concluding an agreement to be the exclusive local commercial partner for Wondery – the world’s largest independent podcast producer. Wondery’s expertise in maximizing ROI and innovation in digital audio along with the breadth of their South African audience, added another dimension to the US network.
In traditional radio, marketers can only roll out blanket campaigns – with limited ability to target specific demographics. With online streaming however, marketers can now measure and target ads in the audio domain. Combined with a DMP (Data Management Platform), proprietary first party data is used to build a targeted digital audio campaign. To be blunt, for the first time a traditional 30 second radio spot can now be used to target the right audience, at the right time, in the right place.
The obvious benefits advertisers get with the inclusion of digital audio ads in their strategies are stunning engagement and listen-through rates.
Because linear digital audio ads are not easily skippable – digital audio is not subject to the “five second skip” phase of digital video ads – the brand enjoys the full attention of the audience. Nielsen Media Lab claims audio ads have a 24% higher recall rate than traditional display ads.
In spite of the pandemic, digital advertising grew by 18% in 2020, as opposed to a 27% reduction in the total advertising market. (IAB-SA Internet Advertising Report 2020)
Now is the ideal time to use your brands digital budget to bolster the performance of your traditional radio campaign with a targeted digital campaign.
The best opportunities in targeted digital audio.
United Stations mix of local podcasts, live audio streams and our catch-up radio offering, are now boosted with podcasts from Wondery, the world’s largest independent podcast producer
Our comprehensive network delivers cost-effective, targeted solutions to increase the ROI of any radio advertising campaign.
A Covid-19 activated resurgence in radio listenership in the Eastern Cape has continued into 2021, according to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
“Independent audience research by Colony has found that over 70% of Algoa FM’s listeners are spending more time tuned into the station than they were before the pandemic,” she says.
The technology being used to access the radio station is also changing, with 18% of the audience surveyed, reporting that they are streaming Algoa FM.
“Listeners are tuning in for both entertainment and information. The Colony research survey has established that the trust factor in respect of the news reports broadcast on air and published on the Algoa FM Facebook page has also increased during the pandemic.
“Listeners are checking the ‘facts’ shared via other social media pages against our curated news.
“This trust in Algoa FM news content extends to the rest of our experiential offering, which includes our digital products and the credibility of our news team as well as our on-air personalities, and our advertisers benefit by being closely associated with a trusted brand,” she says.
Geyer says the research indicates that more people are listening to Algoa FM because they have found how easy it is to tune in.
“The wide variety of Algoa FM platforms provides easy access for listeners.
“Not only do they listen via traditional radio sets, they are also tuning in via their mobile phones, audio streaming, station apps and satellite”.
According to the Algoa FM listeners surveyed, they are kept entertained and informed by the presenters, regular competitions and the music the station plays.
“Around 60% of listeners say they are attracted to the competitions and retail specials they learn about when tuned in.
“The research also confirms that listeners are more interested in saving money due to the financial pressures brought about by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is evident in the research finding that retail shopping ads have one of the highest recall rates among listeners – they hear and remember the specials.
“This does not mean they will be going to the shops physically – around two thirds of the Algoa FM listeners surveyed, report shopping online, and 40% purchase online at least once a month.
“The good news is that they can afford to shop.
“Some 66% of listeners are back at work full time – compared to 54% in 2020.
“Around 14% are working part-time.
“Covid-19 has also not halted Algoa FM’s listeners from planning for the future, with 20% of respondents saying they would like to buy a car during 2021 and 14% planning to buy a house.
“When asked what else they intend doing during 2021; 40% said they wanted to lose weight or get fit, and 20% planned to study further or start a new hobby.
“All of this points to a vibrant consumer market throughout our footprint, from the Garden Route to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo,” says Geyer.