For the love of music

TUNED IN: Channel O general manager, Yolisa Phahle, honed her skills at the BBC, working in various positions. © Unknown.
TUNED IN: Channel O general manager, Yolisa Phahle, honed her skills at the BBC, working in various positions. © Unknown.

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

She began her career as a classically trained musician, and her love of music has landed her a cushy job at South Africa's most watched urban music channel.

Music is Yolisa Phahle's life, and as general manager at Channel O, she can get a lot of people to dance to her tune. She reports to the chief executive of M-Net and she is on the M-Net board of directors.

The channel's presenters, producers, music schedulers, marketing staff, events staff, new media staff, programme editors, and a head of programmes are some of the team members who report to her.

She said: "Channel O is South Africa's most watched urban music channel.

"We commission music, lifestyle, travel, motoring and dance shows and provide entertainment TV for the young, educated, aspirant and music loving people of Africa."

Her face lights up when she talks about her job: "I oversee all aspects of the channel such as finance, sponsorship, music policy, events, programme content and work with the music industry in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya."

"It's my responsibility to ensure that our programme schedules are downloaded and that airtime sales are included along with the promotional inserts."

She added: "I'm the first and final point of call for any transmission-related issues."

Her portfolio also includes events, which are a central aspect of the operations. The events include The Channel O African Music Video Awards, Channel O concert in Luanda, Angola, Southern African Music Conference, Big Brother Nigeria eviction parties and Idols West Africa winners' parties.

Phahle studied classical music in the UK. She has training in various aspects of the music business, such as staff management, health and safety, running a programme team, Dalet training and music scheduling, the law and broadcasting, using the Internet, futuristic radio, writing for radio and digital editing.

She said: "I have applied my working experience and knowledge from my time at BBC to my current job at Channel O."

Before joining the BBC, Phahle worked at the BBC Radio in the UK in various positions which ranged from television presentation operations assistant for BBC1 and BBC2 to senior producer.

"I gained a lot of experience during my time at the BBC which I use in my current job," she said.

"I've also learnt a lot about the music industry at BBC and from our band Raggae Philharmonic Orchestra, of which I was a founding member."

To work in this profession, one needs to be highly driven, competitive, results-orientated and passionate about the job.

Phahle said there are challenges in her job that include "getting our objectives for this year implemented and constantly asking how we can continuously improve".

To keep herself updated with the industry, she said she reads widely and travels.