Algoa FM brought the first dedicated commercial radio show to the Garden Route a decade ago at the request of businesses and listeners.
This started a mutually beneficial relationship which dates back to the first day of broadcasting, according to sales manager Dennis Karantges.
“We still have some original advertisers on air with us, from when we first went ‘live’ 10 years ago.
“Three of our original Garden Route advertisers, Kloppers, Watsons Meat and Van Rensburgs Foods have all expanded their footprint in partnership with us.
“Algoa FM has hosted competitions, as well as birthday and promotional activities,” he says.
The relationship has seen Garden Route-based businesses expand their reach throughout the Algoa FM footprint, which stretches from Mossel Bay to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo hinterland, according to managing director Alfie Jay.
The station has seen a steady growth in audience, with Lance du Plessis presenting a Garden Route-focused drive show every weekday afternoon.
“A big ‘thank you’ to all those businesses and individuals who invited Algoa FM to be a part of their community a decade ago.
“Successful radio relies on trust – from both listeners and advertisers,” says Jay.
“So, we say thank you to the listeners who put their faith in us to keep them informed about the things that matter to them as Garden Route residents.
“And thank you to the local businesses which have put their trust in Algoa FM partnerships to help them move products off their shelves,” he adds.
The company has deepened its business relationships through its involvement with the Mossel Bay and George chambers of business.
It also works closely with Plettenberg Bay and Knysna Tourism to help promote the many festivals and events that have historically been held in the Garden Route.
Events in which the station has been involved include the Simola Hillclimb, Knysna Oyster Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and the Reed Valley Wine Farm Family Festival.
Algoa FM celebrities have also, hosted many beach roadshows from, Hartenbos in Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay.
The station is working with organisers to help revive the events as the Covid-19 restrictions ease.
“We have built up a good relationship with local business, the municipalities and the Western Cape government through our involvement on the ground in the region, as well as our dedicated Garden Route drive show,” he says.
Every weekday afternoon there is a dedicated Garden Route broadcast which provides Lance du Plessis, the show host, with an opportunity to focus on the music, information and news which informs and entertains listeners in the region.
“The advantage of broadcasting a dedicated four-hour Garden Route Drive Show allows us to create unique promotional and conversational opportunities for the businesses operating in the market,” adds Karantges.
“On the ground” activations include live broadcasts from the region, crossings to events hosted by advertisers and appearances by Algoa FM celebrities.
“We love connecting with the Garden Route and being involved in the many festivals hosted in the region,” says programme manager Baydu Adams.
It’s always a comforting and homely feeling to hear Lance’s show play at shopping centres and filling station forecourts while visiting the region,” he adds.
According to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer, the station is also involved in supporting the community.
For Mandela Day 2020, Algoa FM supported a donation drive in partnership with the George Municipality to feed thousands of people affected by the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The station also supports the annual Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge.
Numerous charities have also benefited from the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work during the weekly Algoa Cares slot.
“As the Covid-19 restrictions ease, we plan to be more active in the region.
“Plans include an Algoa FM charity golf day, as well as a number of partnerships with events and companies in the Garden Route,” she adds.
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”.