SABC's ins and outs making waves

The winds of change are blowing through the corridors of Radio Park in Auckland Park, Joburg as the SABC gears up for one of its biggest overhauls of its radio stations since 1994.

Millions of people in southern African will wake up on May 1 to a different SAfm as the public broadcaster seeks to arrest the bleeding of listeners at the news and current affairs station.

SAfm is one of the stations on the African continent with the widest reach and some people in neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana solely depend on it as a primary source of news and information.

The station also reaches some of South Africa's rural areas that cannot be reached by any other radio or TV signals.

SABC insiders say management and the station have been at war over the dismantling of the programming mix on the station that provided news and talk for 24 hours on weekdays and a mixture of talk and music over the weekends.

The public broadcaster was looking at a complete realignment of SAfm to include more music and cut down on news and current affairs content.

Some of the station's favourite presenters and shows will also make way for new talent and music to attract a younger ear.

One of the station's long-standing programmes, The African Connection with Richard Nwamba - Saturdays between 1-3pm - is among those on the chopping block despite its popularity and listenership that spans several African countries.

Also making way for new programmes will be The Best of Jazz presented by veteran Ike Phaahla.

Sunday World understands that among the new brooms at the station will be Talk Radio 702 anchor Stephen Grootes who will be driving the breakfast show, currently hosted by Sakina Kamwendo.

It is understood that Kamwendo's future hangs in the balance after she refused an offer to co-host with Grootes.

Revered presenter Shado Twala, who presents a lunch-time show on weekdays called Otherwise, is understood to have been relegated to a weekend slot.

Station insiders say veteran presenter Jeremy Maggs might be brought in to do the afternoon drive show called PMLive.

Another surprise inclusion, according to insiders, was that of Ernest Pillay, a music DJ.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: "We can't comment on the changes based on the individuals. We have decided to wait until we have been given a list that confirms the changes effected to all line-ups. - Additional reporting by staff reporters.

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