5 firsts for women in radio

2014-08-04 18:45

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The glass ceiling isn’t quite broken, but women in radio have been quietly and loudly making strides. Charlene Smith paved the way in post-1994 SA when she was appointed station manager of SAFM, the country’s oldest station.

Here are five members of a new generation of trailblazers:

Charlene Deacon

Charlene Deacon. Picture: Facebook

Deacon was managing director of Kaya FM from 2000 to 2008 after serving as general manager for a year.

Deacon developed and executed a successful turnaround strategy in terms of listenership and revenue, and was very successful in turning a lossmaking brand into a R75?million-a-year business?–?and one of the biggest radio stations in Gauteng.

Colleen Louw

Colleen Louw. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press

In 2003, at the age of 28, Louw was appointed station manager for medium wave station 567 Cape Talk after five years in the Primedia Broadcasting business.

Two years later, she was part of the process of acquiring Radio Kontrei and led the successful rebranding of 24-hour adult contemporary station 94.5?Kfm.

She also became the station manager for Kfm.

Aisha Mohamed

Aisha Mohamed. Picture: SABC3

At 29, Mohamed was appointed station manager of 5FM, making her the youngest station manager for the premier music station.

Under her leadership, 5FM showed significant growth in listenership.

In 2012, 5FM was named Commercial Station of the Year at the MTN Radio Awards and was the only African radio station to be nominated alongside the likes of BBC Radio 1 (UK) and Triple J (Australia) for “influential international station”.

The station was also voted the Sunday Times Generation Next Survey’s coolest radio station for six years running.

Not one to slow down, Mohamed was appointed head of channel for SABC3 earlier this year.

Matona Ntshona

Matona Ntshona. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press

In April 2006, 32-year-old Ntshona, previously Metro FM’s national portfolio sales manager, was appointed station manager.

Ntshona is the first woman and first black woman to head the station in the nearly three decades of its existence.

Ntshona joined SABC radio sales in 2000 as a Metro FM account executive and worked her way up to become the station’s national portfolio sales manager.

Before then, she was at various advertising agencies. It is under her leadership that Metro FM became the biggest urban music station in South Africa.

Yolisa Phahle

Yolisa Phahle

In March this year, Phahle broke the glass ceiling at M-Net to become the channel’s first black female boss when she was appointed CEO.

Prior to her appointment, Phahle was M-Net’s director for local interest channels.

It was on her watch that the Mzansi Magic, Mzansi Music, Mzansi Wethu and Mzansi Bioskop channels were launched.

Phahle became the director of special-interest channels in 2009, where she spearheaded a revival that turned Channel O into the number one music channel on the African continent.

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