Mon, 23 Aug 2021 / Published in AlgoaFM, LATEST NEWS

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.  

Thu, 29 Jul 2021 / Published in AlgoaFM, LATEST NEWS

“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.

Wed, 23 Jun 2021 / Published in LATEST NEWS, OFM

 If one could sum up the job of a journalist, it mostly comes down to telling stories. Not our own, but those of other people. This might sound simple, but the work that goes into writing and broadcasting or publishing a story can take days. 

Journalists are thus considered people who have a wealth of information on the widest variety of topics. Now, taking this into consideration, who would ever think we would live in times where we would have to report on something unknown, invisible, so foreign, never experienced in modern times, and only learning the (mutating) facts as we write? 

That’s Covid-19 for you. It can certainly be considered a watershed moment in the media industry globally. One day the OFM News team was chasing a story about a church gathering with international guests in Bloemfontein with possible Covid-19 positive cases, the next the whole country had been shut down – lock, stock and barrel – cut-off from the rest of the world. I remember telling a colleague, who responded very calmly, “Not to worry, so is the rest of the world”. 

The newsroom was abuzz with more questions than answers. Information overload was the order of the day. The team was in daily brainstorming sessions to figure out ways to tell the story differently. We had to make sure we were double-checking and questioning ourselves all the time. Are we giving enough information? Should we give more? Are we maintaining the correct balance of warning without causing panic? What should we do differently? 

But still, the ink from our pens could not dry. We had to learn and inform. And then learn more and inform more. We epitomised the Confucius quote: “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life”. 

It was clear that it did not matter what happened, the basic test of journalism – whether a story is considered news or not – still applied. If you do not know the answer to a question, chances are about ten of your friends or family members do not know it either and that is enough people who will be interested in the story. 

Another foolproof strategy in journalism – especially when you run out of angles for news articles – is to tell the story through someone’s eyes. To try and make it more human and to tell the story using someone else’s words. But as time went on, we realised that hundreds and thousands of people were testing positive and a frightening number of them were succumbing to the pandemic. 

As is the case with any news department worth its salt, the OFM News team sets the news agenda for listeners and readers in Central South Africa. Our ability to keep people informed has been tested in so many ways with the coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Although listeners and readers were glued to their radios and screens during hard lockdown, they became overwhelmed within a few months, and news and pandemic fatigue set in. I do, however, believe that never before have the South African public and the government understood the importance of the news industry as well as they do now. 

The OFM News team strives to keep listeners in Central South Africa informed and up to date. More than a year later and the country is now experiencing the third wave. At provincial level, the vaccination programme is in full swing. As the pandemic continues to change our lives in a million different ways, we, the news writers, will continue to learn along with our listeners and readers, and, most importantly, report on it. 

For more info, please contact Lindiwe Mtwentula on 051 5050 900, 082 416 1665, or lindiwe@ofm.co.za. 

Thu, 10 Jun 2021 / Published in AlgoaFM

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. 

Mon, 15 Mar 2021 / Published in LATEST NEWS, OFM

 While it is hard to absorb any learnings from the year that was 2020, any chance to learn something should be met with an open mind if we are to unlock any opportunity for the future. While 2020 was simply dubbed ‘stifling’, there was a silver lining amidst the dark cloud of COVID-19 for media and, most especially, for radio. 

So, what did we learn? 

We learned that while everything was falling apart and credible news was hard to come by, among its audience, OFM was one of the few brands that could be relied upon for accurate and credible information related to the Coronavirus. 

We learned that, in general, radio listening was up by 30% (Kantar) by May 2020 and that 71% of Central South Africans listened to more radio than usual, during the then lockdown, across all of OFM’s available platforms – radio, mobile and desktop apps. 

 The absence the BRC (Broadcast Research Council of South Africa) RAMS (Radio Audience Measure) meant that OFM had to further inform itself about its audience and media consumption habits. The last reading pinned OFM’s 7-day cume at 315 000 listeners. BrandMapp (who independently track economically active South African’s online activity) pinned OFM’s listenership at 479 000. Thus, while the pandemic had a limiting effect overall, this forced the brand’s hand to be more insights-driven than ever before. These independent research studies and insights paved the way for more agile products that met a demand that otherwise would have not necessarily have been discovered, such as OFM LIVE LINK and BrandMAX. 

But radio is more than an extended aerial with a tuner and speaker. The modern age has given radio the opportunity to expand and meet its audience in cyberspace. 

OFM spent much of the last three years aggressively investing in and developing adjacent offerings, like various digital platforms, including social media, desktop and mobile apps, as well as a revamped website and streaming service, OFM Stasie2. OFM’s online users have increased almost 2% year on year to 1.745-million online users by December 2020 and a further 260 000 unique online streams. All of the above excludes the ambitious podcasting planned for 2021, which includes an association with leading podcast publisher – Wondery. 

What does this all mean? 

OFM is creating an ecosystem. A place where the brand and listeners can find and access each other across various and different platforms. Discoveries fast-tracked by the Coronavirus. 

So, what do we know now? 

We know that in 2021, OFM listeners indicated that they are likely to listen to more radio, and streamed audio services, than they did in 2020. Of the little over 1 100 respondents: 

  • 54% of OFM listeners indicated that they are likely to consume more radio;
  • 65% indicated that they already listen to more radio between 06:00 and 09:00 and that many kept their radio tuned onto OFM from 6am, in the car, at home and at work. An insight, revealed time and time again from the BRC RAMs, is that OFM has one of the highest instances of time spent listening over 7 days – 20.97 hours;
  • and 16% indicated that they are likely to consume more streamed audio offerings. 

“The study indicates the absolute strength of radio and audio consumption, listener engagement, and the loyalty OFM listeners have toward OFM. In 2021, OFM turn 35 years young and the station can be proud that radio and audio consumption is getting stronger,” – Nick Efstathiou, CEO of the Central Media Group, holding company of OFM. 

This translates to the absolute value of audio. Where there is engagement, there is a prospective solution, and radio sits at the table of this digital revolution. Audio remains inescapable and OFM intends to build on the legacy of its last 35 years in audio. 

For more info, please contact Lindiwe Mtwentula on 051 5050 900, 082 416 1665, or lindiwe@ofm.co.za.