Changes cause hiccup at Thobela

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

An uproar has erupted at Thobela FM, an SABC radio station in Polokwane, following this week's positional changes affecting five popular presenters.

The presenters - David Lebepe, Rudolph Letsoalo, Jimmy Mohlaloga, Moloko Mashamaite and Manoko Semenya - will now become producers.

Sources at the station said their moves were unnecessary because the five were popular with their listeners.

Thobela FM's current listenership figures stand at 3,2million.

All but Mashamaite have served the station for more than two decades.

Mashamaite has worked for the station for 18 years and draws the majority of the listeners in his midday slot .

Lebepe and Mohlaloga have been appointed executive producers, religion and sport, respectively.

Letsoalo takes the position of executive producer for all programmes.

The source said morale had been low at the studios since Monday, when the changes were effected.

Some of the affected presenters were reluctant to take their new positions, the source said.

"It's just chaos at the station because of these unpopular decisions taken without consultation," said the source.

The source said daggers were drawn against Leuba Ramakgolo, the station manager, who has been accused of running the station like a "spaza shop".

Letters of complaint had been sent to SABC headquarters in Auckland Park prior to the changes.

However, said the source, the headquarters had not responded by the time the changes were effected.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the changes were made in line with the Public Broadcasting Services radio strategy for the 2006-07 fiscal.