Radio awards ructions
Here are some of the winners - Ukhozi FM scooped 9 awards in different categories, including Linda Sibiya for best breakfast presenter. Kaya FM presenter Thabiso Sikwane snatched best commercial night-time presenter while DJ Fresh won best commercial afternoon drive show
THE MTN Radio Awards have again this year left community radio station managers seething.
The event, which was started in 2010 and recognises innovation in the radio sector, is in its third year, but the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) cried foul about the manner in which the event is organised.
NCRF coordinator and CEO of Jozi FM Mpho Mhlongo said the event was managed by a "bunch of white judges" and MTN, and "does not care about black community radio stations".
"From the beginning in 2010, when the event was established, we were never invited to participate in the event. We then sent a letter, as NCRF, to the organisers addressing the issue, but that letter has never been taken into consideration by the organisers," Mhlongo said.
However, CEO of MTN Radio Awards Lance Rothschild said the organisation communicated with all radio stations, including community stations, about the event.
"We sent invitations to all community radio stations at national level, but participation is voluntary.
"No one is forced to compete in the event and we are happy with the criteria used so far."
Brushing aside the allegations by Mhlongo, Rothschild said his racial comments were not appreciated.
Rothschild further added that the judges' selection criteria was strict and completed by experts in the industry.
Chairman and managing director of the Voice of Tembisa, Sunnyboy Masingi, echoed Mhlongo's sentiments: "We have not been part of the event from the beginning and the organisation did not have the community category from the beginning, that was our invention in the second year.
"When we raised our concern we were told that the 'train has gone too far, we must catch the last coach'."
Masingi said it was in the second year that they decided to have him as a judge, which he felt was "window-dressing" as his expertise and input was not recognised.
"How can you have judges who do not have knowledge about community radio and the decision to put me in the judging panel was to compromise NCRF. MTN forgets that most of its supporters are from the township communities, but (when) it comes (to) the radio awards the same communities are sidelined."
Masingi also agreed with Mhlongo that a letter addressing the issue was sent to MTN organisers.
"As chairperson of NCRF I am aware of the letter sent to the organisers."
But, when Rothschild was contacted about the letter, he first denied having received it but later remembered having received a letter from "a male by the name of Mpho", to which he responded.
Mhlongo said they had yet to receive a response.
The award ceremony was held on Saturday at the Sandton Convention Centre, where Community Radio Islam scooped seven awards in the community category.
Ukhozi FM scooped nine awards in different categories, including Linda Sibiya for best breakfast presenter.
Radio 702 took home best commercial breakfast show, and best commercial station of the year was 5FM.
Its sister radio station 567 Cape Talk won best news bulletin reader by Tessa van Staden.
Kaya FM presenter Thabiso Sikwane snatched best commercial night-time presenter with her husband Thato Sikwane, aka DJ Fresh, won best commercial afternoon drive show.